Introducing Module 2A: Working Conditions—Then and Now | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M2A:U1:L1

Introducing Module 2A: Working Conditions—Then and Now

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in different media and formats. (SL.7.2)
  • I can build on others' ideas during discussions. (SL.7.1)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze photos, videos, and quotes to find a central theme.
  • I can synthesize the ideas of my classmates with my own.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Introduction to Module 2: Group Synthesis


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.     Opening

A.  Entry Task (5 minutes)

B.  Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2.    Work Time Gallery Walk (25 minutes)

A.  Introducing Working Conditions Anchor Chart (5 minutes)

3.     Closing and Assessment

A.  Modeling the Homework (5 minutes)

4.    Homework

A.  Sorting Statements about Working Conditions

  • This lesson introduces students to Module 2: Working Conditions--Then and Now. Students participate in a modified Gallery Walk to preview and connect the case studies that compose this module.
  • The success of this lesson depends on building suspense and piquing the students' interest. Therefore, you should not give away too much information about the module, its texts, or its themes until the class has completed the Gallery Walk.
  • This lesson focuses on SL.7.1 and gives the students an opportunity to interact in a variety of ways. Be deliberate in grouping students to ensure that all groups will be successful.
  • Modeling the Gallery Walk with the interactive slide show is a crucial step of the process. Not only will it help the class understand the task, but it will also illustrate the range of working conditions students will explore in this module.
  • The students are introduced to the Working Conditions anchor chart at the end of this lesson. The homework will help familiarize them with the categories on the chart. Because the class will work extensively with this chart in subsequent lessons, not a lot of time is devoted to it now.
  • Anchor charts provide a common point of reference and a place to hold class thinking about a particular topic. They can be created and updated either in an electronic format or on a large piece of chart paper.
  • In advance: Prepare the items for the Gallery Walk. Item 4 is a short video, and Items 5, 6, and 7 are images.
  • When you set up your classroom for the Gallery Walk, post each item and then post a blank sheet of chart paper next to it. Consider your classroom space and place the items in a way that will allow students to move freely and comfortably around them.
  • Create the Working Conditions anchor chart; consider using several pieces of chart paper (see the Working Conditions anchor chart--student version in the supporting materials; the class anchor chart should be a large or electronic version of this document).
  • Find a picture of a power loom to display. A Google image search will produce many options.
  • Review: Gallery Walk protocol (embedded in this lesson) and the A Living Wage Interactive Slide Show from: This slide show is a very powerful piece of the Gallery Walk. Make sure you include it.
  • Post: Learning targets.


infer, explicitly, implied, synthesize, compensation, environment, harassment, discrimination, unions, child labor, forced labor, fair working conditions


  • Audio: "The Sound of a Working Textile Mill". May be accessed at:
  • Introducing Module 2 worksheet (one per student; includes entry task and group synthesis)
  • Picture of loom (see Teaching Notes)
  • Putting Together the Pieces: Gallery Walk Directions (one per student)
  • Putting Together the Pieces: Gallery Walk Directions, Teacher Guide (for teacher reference)
  • "A Living Wage" interactive slide show, which may be accessed at:
  • Suggested List of Gallery Walk Items (for Teacher Reference)
  • Sticky notes (5-6/student)
  • Working Conditions anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see Work Time A)
  • Working Conditions anchor chart, student version (one per student)
  • Homework: Sorting Statements about Working Conditions (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Entry Task (5 minutes)

  • Begin by playing the audio of a working loom without revealing what it is. It is 25 seconds long, so repeat it several times. Distribute the Introducing Module 2 worksheet and direct students to complete numbers 1 and 2 of the entry task as they listen to the audio.
  • Cold call a few of the students to get their response to the entry task. Explain that in the Gallery Walk today, they will look at a diverse collection of quotes, images, and videos. They should think of them as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Show them a picture of a loom and direct students to complete number 3 of the entry task. Say: "This is a picture of the machine that made the noise you just heard. When I put these two pieces together, the information becomes clearer. Today you will be looking at lots of different items. When you put all the items together, you will be able to infer some information about the module we are starting."
  • Ask a student to define the verb to infer. Listen for: "To infer means to make a logical guess based on information that is implied, rather than explicitly said." Remind students that they won't read something that says: "This module is about ...," but they should leave today with a clear idea of the themes and guiding questions they will examine over the next eight weeks.

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

  • Ask a student to read the learning targets for today and focus the class on SL.7.1. Tell students that today they will participate in an activity in which they build ideas through conversations with their classmates. Ask students to think of something they might say when they are building on someone else's ideas and to raise their hands when they have something. When most students have their hands raised, called on several to share. Listen for students to say things like:

*   "I agree, and would like to add that ..."

*   "I agree with you in some ways, but I do not think that ..."

*   "That's an interesting point. Could you explain it more?"

*   "It seems like we agree that ... but disagree about ..."

*   "I see what you are saying, but I disagree because ..."

  • Depending on the needs of your students, consider posting these sentence stems for their reference during the rest of class.
  • If you already have structures and routines in place to support student discussions in small groups, reference them here and remind students to use them.
  • When ELLs are asked to produce language, consider providing a sentence frame, sentence starter, or cloze sentence to assist with the structure required.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Modified Gallery Walk (28 Minutes)

  • Project or distribute copies of the Putting Together the Pieces: Gallery Walk Directions (unless already on the back of the Introducing Module 2 worksheet). Use the Putting Together the Pieces: Gallery Walk Directions, Teacher Guide (for teacher reference) to guide students through the modified Gallery Walk protocol.
  • When the Gallery Walk is over, praise the students for working together so effectively. Congratulate them for being willing to ask questions and think deeply about diverse groups of evidence. Tell them you are proud of them for persevering on an intellectually challenging assignment.

B. Introducing Working Conditions Anchor Chart (5 minutes)

  • Explain that, as they just concluded in their Gallery Walk, in Module 2 the class will explore working conditions--what they are, how they have changed over time, why they matter, who influences them, etc. Some of the module guiding questions are:

*   "What are working conditions, and why do they matter?"

*   "How do workers, the government, business, and consumers effect change in working conditions?"

*   "Why do working conditions matter to me today?"

  • The module uses case studies from the mill towns in industrializing America, where cloth was made; from Cesar Chavez, who organized agricultural workers in the United States; and from the modern-day garment industry worldwide.
  • Display the new Working Conditions anchor chart and distribute the Working Conditions anchor chart, student version. Explain that the class will be capturing all its thinking on this anchor chart, which provides a framework to organize their learning about working conditions. It also provides a way to compare different case studies of working conditions and to hold their thinking about what they have learned and what they wonder.
  • Take a few minutes to familiarize the class with the chart. Clarify the vocabulary. Ask the students to write on their anchor charts as you define compensation (wages), environment (the physical place someone works), harassment (when someone behaves in an unpleasant or threatening way toward you), discrimination (treating one person or group differently from another in an unfair way), union (an organization formed by workers to protect their rights), child labor, and forced labor. Explain that the definition of fair working conditions has changed over time and is also different in different places. Students will be thinking a lot about what is fair.
  • Tell students you will now model how they will use the anchor chart. Say: "For example, in the Gallery Walk, I read this sentence: 'She'll never come back, Lyddie thought sadly as she watched the buggy disappear.... She'll never be strong enough again to work in a mill thirteen, fourteen hours a day' (113). That sounds like it fits in the category of Hours, and I think that doesn't sound fair, so I'm going to write, 'girls in the Lowell mills work 13 to 14 hours per day' in the Examples of Problems column and the Hours row."
  • Tell students that they will add to this anchor chart during three different case studies in this unit. Their homework tonight will help them become more familiar with the categories on the chart.
  • ELLs may be unfamiliar with more vocabulary words than are mentioned in this lesson. Check for comprehension of general words (e.g., law, peace, etc.) that most students would know.
  • When reviewing graphic organizers or recording forms, consider using a document camera to display the document for students who struggle with auditory processing.

Closing & Assessments


A. Modeling the Homework (5 minutes)

  • Distribute and display Homework: Sorting Statements about Working Conditions. (Note: Students will need the Working Conditions anchor chart--student version. Depending on what will work for your students, either have them take home their Working Conditions anchor chart and bring it back, or photocopy the homework with a blank Working Conditions anchor chart on the back.)
  • Ask a student to read the directions aloud and ask: "What will you need to reference in completing this assignment?" Listen for: Working Conditions anchor chart--student version.
  • Model the first item (discrimination). Then ask students to read the second one and give you a thumbs-up when they have the answer. Wait for most students to have their thumbs up and then ask a student to share the answer (wages).


  • Sorting Statements about Working Conditions homework.

Note: In the next lesson, the class will be starting Lyddie. Please make sure you have reviewed the next lesson as well as the Unit 1 Overview, Preparation and Materials, as both provide information about how to support all students in their reading of this text.

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