Monday, January 2, 2012

A Look at CHILD LABOR in the US in 1908-1912

Though child labor is a thing of the past for the most part in the US, it is still an issue in some countries. This site offers a window to the loss of childhood that these children experienced. Children today might develop a deeper appreciation for the lives they lead now--school, a home, parents taking care of their many needs, laws that protect them from unfair labor practices, etc.

This site (at end of post) could easily enhance a lesson in social studies, geography, world history, economics, writing, etc. If this surfaced in an English class, it could be tied to Upton Sinclair's THE JUNGLE (you may download this book for free from this link). As students progressed through the book, they could be reminded of what life was really like for these children--children who didn't know how old they were, who could barely reach the work assigned work area without a box to stand on, who toiled long hours selling newspapers often catching pneumonia (no health insurance), who looked much older than their years due to the harsh working environment, etc.

In an ELD class, these photos could be used to build a comparison/contrast composition. With a double-bubble graphic organizer, students would look at a child's life in 2012 vs a child's life then. This could be done as a small group activity where students could work as teams to complete the graphic organizer. Once the teacher had an opportunity to make sure that everyone was on the same page, s/he could have them start developing their essay outlines. The actual writing of the essay could be done with a partner (if the process is semi-new for them) or individually with teacher support as needed.

CHILD LABOR IN US (photographs and captions from Lewis Hine)

I hope you can use these photos in some of your lessons.



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