Sophomores at Roberto Clemente Community Academy have begun reading the book Of Mice and Men to start the second semester. The classic American novel takes place during the Great Depression and details the lives of two migrant workers, George and Lennie, as they travel through California for work.
Students will be looking at themes like friendship, isolation, dreams, hope and plans and how they relate to the characters. They will also be focusing on the complexities of relationships and how we rely on these relationships to get us through tough times.
Clemente has been on the cutting edge with technology in the classroom. In order for students to gain a more complete and thorough understanding of the book, students have been working on laptops and IPads viewing various clips that covered The Great Depression and migrant workers, deeply examining the way that people who suffered from mental illness were viewed during this time period and the archaic way that they were treated. After viewing these clips, students are working on text-based questions focusing on Common Core State Standards, which further aid their understanding and increase their ability to use evidence in their answers.
The Great Depression was a time period of high unemployment and people were in dire financial positions. People were traveling all over looking for some kind of work. Many of these workers were people from Oklahoma. These people were forced to leave their land due to the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl refers to the time period when in 1935, many families were forced to leave their farms and travel to California seeking work because of the drought, which at that time had already lasted four years. Dust Bowl conditions forced a mass leaving of the displaced from Texas, Oklahoma, and the surrounding Great Plains to California. Once these people arrived in California, they were treated harshly and viewed as outsiders who were going to be competing with people who were already there, looking for the few jobs available. Lennie and George are two of these characters, people who move from place to place, looking for work.
At Clemente, we are constantly teaching our students all aspects of the story and the background info that goes along with it, in order to make them a more well rounded student.