Lesson Title: Farm Worker Inspired Poetry Grade Level

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Lesson Title:

Farm Worker Inspired Poetry

Grade Level:

Grade One Lesson 4

Unit of Study:

A Child’s Place in Time and Space

History-Social Science Standard:

1.6.2 Identify the specialized work that people do to manufacture, transport, and market goods and services and the contributions of those who work in the home.

Correlation to K-8 California Adopted Textbooks:

Harcourt Brace: A Child’s Place.

Unit 1: School Days, Lesson 3, 5. Unit 2: At Home with my Family. Lesson 1. Unit 3: Living in a Community. Introduction Lesson 1, 2. Unit 4: In and Around the Land. Lesson 4.
McGraw-Hill: My World. Unit 3: People at Work. Lessons 1-4.
Setting the Context:

Where does the food we eat come from? If we wanted some grapes, we would have to go the store. Where did the store get the grapes? They came in crates on big trucks. The trucks got the grapes from farm owners. The farm owners had the grapes picked by farm works.

Some farm workers were told that they would get a certain amount of money to pick the produce for the farm owners. Some had to do hard work for many hours in the hot sun. Some did not have a good place to use as a bathroom or to live while they worked on the farm. Sometimes the chemicals that were used in spraying the crops were harmful to the farm workers. They had little money to buy food and drink to stay healthy. Sometimes when it came time to get paid, the farm owners would not pay the amount of money they had promised and the farm worker would only get a small amount of money for his or her hard work.
Some farm owners thought that they could treat the farm workers poorly because some were not born in America and did not speak English. Some knew they could save money for themselves by not treating the workers fairly. Sometimes workers had to take whatever work they could get because it was hard to get any other job when they did not speak English. César E. Chávez was a farm worker who experienced this unfair treatment so he fought for dignity and respect for all people especially farm workers.
Focus Question:

What is the role of the farm worker in the marketing of goods? What imagery describes the life of a farm worker?

Expected Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to recognize the role farm workers play in the marketing of goods. Students will be able to use words to invoke the feelings of this individual group of people.


Students will, in small groups, use words to create a poem that conveys the role of the farm worker and the feelings of the workers. Teacher will look at the poems for correct use of words to show understanding of main concepts of lesson.

Key Concepts:

There are many steps and work involved in the marketing of goods.

Farm workers are a large part of the marketing of goods.

Some farm workers were treated unfairly.

Essential Vocabulary:

farm worker




farm owner



emotion words (a student generated list)
Primary Sources:

K-2 Biography of César E. Chávez


Picture collection of workers in the field. Possible picture 1 and picture 2. See the document center, Pictures à Work in the Field



The teacher goes over the parts of the César E. Chávez biography that talk about his life as a farm worker and later why he wanted to help the farm workers. The teacher talks about some emotions one might feel if he or she was a farm worker. After a few of the teachers’ words, the students get into small groups and brainstorm more feeling words. Class comes back together and generates a list of feeling words.

Making Connections:

Teacher and students talk about where their food comes from. Teacher may ask students what they had for breakfast and chose to use one of the items to trace through the student, store, truck, company, farm (at this point bring up the farm workers and their role), farm owner, and their role. Teacher makes a cycle chart of marketing goods. Students get into small groups and role-play the cycle. Members of the groups play the farm owners, farm workers, store, and customers.

Vocabulary Activities:

Students incorporate the vocabulary into their role-playing.

Guided Instruction:

Students work in small groups. The teacher gives each group a different picture of farm workers in the fields. Students brainstorm what feeling words they want to use in their poem. The feelings word list is posted so that they can refer to it for spelling. Teacher guides them in developing a poem. The first person in the group writes one word on the first line. The second person writes the same word, adds a comma and writes a word of their choice on the second line. Continue in this manner until all members have written, the third person writing two words plus their own on the third line, and so forth. Then the group decides on one word to finish the poem. Students present their poems to the class. They each read their part and then the whole group reads the last line.

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