Activities

Journal of Key Terms

Difficulty: Easy
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual and Hands On
Materials:

o Journal/Pieces of blank paper
o Writing Instrument

o Dictionary/Encyclopedia/Internet

Keeping a journal of Key Terms is one of the easiest ways to make the text interactive. Anytime that you come across a word or phrase that you do not understand, jot it down in your journal. Right after you have written down the word, you have the option of either looking up the word/phrase at that moment, or after you have finished the chapter. 

Write down the definition or explanation of the word/phrase in your journal so that you have it as a reference throughout the rest of the story.


List of Characters

Difficulty: Easy
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual and Hands On
Materials:

o Journal/Pieces of blank paper 
o Writing Instrument

Keeping a List of Characters is another way to make the text interactive. Anytime you come across a new character, write their name down in your journal. Keep a bulleted list prepared underneath the name of each character and write down defining characteristics of their personality or significant events in which they are involved. 

This will help you create a clearer idea of each character and their purpose in the story.


Rural Migration News

Difficulty: Medium

Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Visual and Hands On

Materials: Internet Access

The University of California at Davies has a newsletter, the Rural Migration Newsletter http://migration.ucdavis.edu/rmn/, which reports on current issues important to migrant workers. Spend some time reading through current issues of the newsletter and reflect upon how times have changed for migrant workers between the time In Dubious Battle was released and present day. Have conditions gotten better or worse for migrant workers? What issues have remained for migrant workers since the 1930s? What issues are different for present day migrant workers compared to the workers depicted in the novel?


Labor Timeline

Difficulty: Medium

Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Visual and Hands On

Materials: Internet Access

The following website, http://www.lutins.org/labor.html, is a timeline of important events in the development of labor unions and labor issues in the United States. Read through the timeline to get a better understanding of the history behind labor disputes. Create your own time line with events from the 1930s which seem relevant to In Dubious Battle. Summarize the historical context of In Dubious Battle based on your timeline and explain how you think that context is important for understanding the character's actions and events in the novel.


Labor Timeline Part 2

Difficulty: Medium

Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Visual and Hands On

Materials: Internet Access

After reading through the timeline of labor events from the website, pick one event from either the 1920s or 1930s and look for other resources describing the chosen event. Write a report summarizing the research you have found on your chosen event. Think about how the event is described. What similarities and differences exist between the novel and the story behind the event you researched?


 

Labor Progress Report

Difficulty: Medium

Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Visual and Hands On

Materials: Internet Access

Spend some time reading through the Labor Press Project from the University of Washingtonhttp://depts.washington.edu/labhist/laborpress/index.htm. Pick at least two featured publications and based on the information in the website, compare and contrast the purpose of the publications, the intended audiences and the organizations behind the publications.


Research a Labor Organization

Difficulty: Medium

Time: Moderate

Learning Type: Visual and Hands On

Materials: Internet Access

Using the resources listed in one of the above activities or from the list of "Suggestions for Further Reading," find names of organizations, past or present, that have represented workers. Choose one organization and do some research on its history. Some questions you may want to research include:

  • Why was the organization formed?
  • Who were the founders of the organizations?
  • What types of workers are represented by this organization?
  • Did the organization have any political ties?
  • Are there any major events in this organization's history?
  • How did the organization influence policies in the workplace that are common today?