Teacher's Guide for COBBLESTONE ® The Roaring 20's
April 2006Teacher's Guide prepared by Alyssa Loorya
"A Decade of Extremes" (p2)
Read the article aloud to the class.
Create a fact sheet for the 20s to hang in the class while working on this unit. If time and space permit include a visual element to the fact sheet. Include major historical events, famous persons, popular styles and trends, inventions and cost of living facts.
Have groups of students research different aspects to contribute to the fact sheet as weekend homework. Compile the information in class on the due date.
Keep this as an ongoing project that the class, or individual students, can add to as you read through this issue of COBBLESTONE. From each article choose two or more items to add to your fact sheet.
"The Harlem Renaissance" (pp 3-7)
Introduce the article's vocabulary before reading the article.
Explore the work and careers of famous African-Americans from this period. For example, look at the work of poet Langston Hughs, novelist Zora Neale Hurston, painter Aaron Douglas, actor Paul Robeson and bandleader Duke Ellington.
Homework: What are the Jim Crow Laws? Write a brief (2 page) paper identifying and discussing the Jim Crow laws.
Discussion: The article states that some historians think this movement should be called the "New Negro Movement" instead of the 'Harlem Renaissance". What do you think?
Discussion: Do you agree with critics who state that a celebration of black cultural achievements overlooks or diminishes the difficulties faced by most African-Americans?
Art Extension Activity: Read the poem "Rent Party" aloud in class. Have students illustrate a segment of the poem. They should incorporate the segment of text into their illustration. Display student work.
"The Rise of Gangsters" (pp 8-10)
1. What was Prohibition? The period from 1920 -1933 when alcohol sales were illegal.
2. Why was alcohol outlawed? Many worried about the harmful effects of drinking too much alcohol.
3. Who was Public Enemy No.1? Al Capone
4. What was a major contribution to the rise in crime and gangsters? Prohibition
5. What activities did organized crime seek to control? Illegal alcohol sales, gambling and labor racketeering.
Discussion: Why is Hollywood and American culture today fascinated with gangsters? Several movies or television shows have focused on the culture of organized crime, The Godfather, Scarface and The Sopranos.
"Women Break Out" (pp 11-13)
Aim: Why was the 20s such an important era for women?
Have students read the article the previous evening for homework or quietly in class.
Read segments of the 19th Amendment aloud in class.
Have students describe in a one page summary how life changed for women in the 1920s. Have them highlight what they think was the most important change for women and why.
Have students share their thoughts on what the most important changes for women were.
"Sports Golden Age (pp 14-17)"
Biography: Have each student choose one of the athletes mentioned in the article to research and write a biography about. As part of the biography they should include a photograph and a fact sheet that includes the athlete's date of birth; sport; age at the start of their career; career highlights; nickname(s); and their greatest contribution to their sport.
As a sidebar to the report they should name a comparable present day athlete. They should create the same fact sheet for the present day athlete and state why they chose that particular athlete. (Note - students shouldn't write a biography fro the present day athlete.)
"That's Entertainment" (pp 18-20)
Listen to an old radio show in class. Several are available on cd or audio cassette. Prior to listening to the show establish the scene of listing to radio in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. It was similar to a family gathering to watch television today.
Watch a 1920s movie. A Charlie Chaplain film is a good choice for a popular actor of the time.
Have students act as movie critics and write a review of the film. Have students share their reviews with the class.
Follow-up discussion: How much was your review of the film colored by your 21st century views of movies?
Homework: Describe a day and a week in your live. Include as many details as possible. How much of a role do radio (music), television, movies and video games play in your day to day life? How often do you watch television and how long? How much time each day or in a week do you spend playing video games? How do you listen to music; where do you watch television; how or when do you watch movies?
Follow-up in class: Rewrite the scenario what would change if there were no video games? How would your routine change if there were no television? How would you fill the time? What if there were no DVD players? no radio?
"Dance the Night Away" (p.20)
Physical Education extension activity: Learn some of the popular 20s dances like the Charleston or the jitterbug. Hold a 20s dance marathon at your school. This can be a stand alone activity or be combined into a fundraiser.
"Putting Out the Welcome Mat" (pp 26-27)
Take a survey in class. How many of the students parents were born some place other than the United States? their grandparents? Discuss how most Americans are the children or grandchildren of immigrants.
Explore the 1920s immigrant experience and the national Origins Act of 1924.
Discussion: If most Americans are descended from immigrants why did so many people oppose immigration in the 1920s?
"Monkey's On Trial" (pp 28-32)
Current Events: Explore the current debate over teaching evolution in schools. Have students summarize a recent news article (from the past year (2005)) that reports on the current debate over teaching evolution in schools.
Act out the trial as presented in COBBLESTONE. Have students rotate roles for the three scenes that are presented. Be sure to give students ample time to prepare for their roles.
All students should also take on the role of either a reporter covering the trial and write a news article or an interested party and write a letter to the editor.
Prior to starting the trial present students with opening arguments for both sides of the case, prosecution and defense, so they understand both positions.
Follow-up Discussion: What was the importance of the Scopes trial?
"And the market Crashes" (pp 36-37)
Why was the stock market crash of October 1929 so devastating for the country?
What major event, or era, was a direct result of the stock market crash?
Can a crash like the 1929 crash happen again?
"Talk of the Town" (pp 40-41)
Assign this fun activity on the slang of the 20s as a homework or class assignment.
When going over the activity ask students if any of the slang were familiar to them? If they were did they have the same meaning today? For example, oodles meant "lots" in the 1920s and still does today; however, a dudd in the 1920s was a studious smart person and today (2006) means boring or no good.
Compile a list of present day counterparts for the slang in the article. For example, soaped meant "to have no money", today we would use the work broke.
As an experiment, have students try and incorporate 20s slang into their speech for a day.