GROWING UP IN THE HUNGRY 30's
| Evaluation| Conclusion
Welcome to the world of Harper Lee's
novel To Kill a Mockingbird! You are living in the 1930's. Your
home, neighborhood, school, activities, clothes and social interactions
are vastly different than anything you are familiar with today in the
21st century. This project will take you back in time to learn what your
life is like as a young person growing up in the "Hungry
30's." Using what you
learn, write a series of pen pal letters to someone living in 2002.
Imagine what it was
like to grow up in the 1930's...
You are going to begin by researching
the resources listed below to learn about your life in the 1930's. Using
the information you learn, you will write four letters to your pen-pal
living in 2002. Each letter will focus on the following four aspects of
- In your first letter, describe your
home and neighborhood in detail. Include lots of specific and
interesting information so that the reader of your letter can
visualize your environment.
- In your second letter, tell about
your family. What types of activities do you enjoy as a family? What
is your standard of living? How do your parents make a living?
- In your third letter, tell about
your school and your friends. Describe your school, classes and
teachers. Who are your friends, and what are some activities you
enjoy doing together?
- In your fourth letter, describe
what's going on in the world around you. What's happening in the
nation politically and economically? Tell about popular fashions,
music, radio programs, and other interesting facts.
NOTE: when you come into class
with your letter, make sure you can tell your teacher where you got the
ideas from on the Web. The idea is that you will do research and
base your fictitious letters on the details about how people lived in
the "hungry 30's." Make sure you use plenty of strong
concrete images to help bring your letters to life!
To Kill A Mockingbird,
Listen to stories from survivors of the Great Depression! Very cool first-person accounts of life in the Great Depression.
"Always Lend a Helping Hand"
Jay Spencer describes life back in the Great Depression.
Growing Up Black in the 1930s
the Rails From PBS, a great section! Read Tales
from the Rails.
The stories of seven teenage hobos, plus tales sent in by web visitors.
Cultural History 1930-1939
See the education topic.
Growing up white in the South in the 1930's View of three women who grew up in the South during the 1930's.
Do: Women and Work Contains an account of an African American woman who lived during the
1930's on the subject of hobbies.
Project: Interview Excerpts
The Federal Writers' Project of the 1930s recorded more than 10,000 life
stories of men and woman from a variety of occupations and ethnic
groups. This site is a sampling of these interviews.
and Now: Prices
American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray
This site compares 1930s prices with prices today.
from the Great Depression to World War Two: Photographs from the FSA-OWI,
Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project. 1936-1940
and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the
Manuscript Division's First 100 Years
View from a Helena Black by Dr. Raymond Howard
Hundred Years of Terror
Gives historical background on the Ku Klux Klan.
Contains definitions of racism and related words.
Hamby, Historian, on Civil Rights An historian speaks on the subject of black voters in the South during
See photos of Depression-era
life from the following photographers: Ben
Evans, and Dorothea
Also from the Library of Congress is this
exhibition of photographs of signs enforcing racial discrimination
Deal Network is also an excellent source for information and images
from the 1930s. Be sure to look into the Image
Library while you're there. You'll find a
series of photographs taken in 1938 in Carbon Hill, Alabama.
Depression and the New Deal
Read about the Federal Works Progress Administration started by the
federal government during the Depression.
The following instructions will make
completion of your task easy!
- Read the first chapter of To Kill
a Mockingbird to familiarize yourself with the setting and
characters in this novel. This preparation will help you as you
begin to research life in the 1930s.
- You are going to write four letters
in the voice of a person growing up in the 1930s. Before you begin
your research, consider the sex, race, and age of the
"character" that you will become as you write these
letters. You may also want to decide on a name for your character.
Also decide who you are going to address your letters to. You might
consider writing to a friend, family member or even to your teacher.
- Begin exploring the resources listed
above. You will find that the first four sites focus on personal
interviews of people who grew up or lived in the 1930's in various
parts of the United States. The last three sites focus on
information concerning social and political events in the 30's.
- As you explore the sites record
facts on the appropriate card. Some tips to make note taking more
effective include printing excerpts from sites that you find useful
and using highlighters to mark pertinent information. This
information can then be recorded, in your own words, on your note cards.
- When you have collected information
about each of the four topics, you are prepared to begin the writing
process. This process begins with brainstorming and prewriting
followed by the actual drafting of your letters. Remember, you are
writing from the perspective of a person living in the 30's. You are
explaining your life to a person living in 2001. Your letters should
include enough detail and description for your reader to gain a good
sense of what your life is like.
- Be ready to share your work in
- Be ready to revise your work and
make a final copy.
- You will be required to complete your
four letters and your notes files; each letter should, in addition
to the text, have one graphic. These files should be posted to
your High School Portfolio Webpage for Mr. Geib's inspection.
This assignment will be evaluated
according to the following criteria:
- Do you have four complete, revised,
edited and typed letters?
- Is each letter focused on the
subjects described in the Task section of this project? Do your
letters accurately describe facts about life in the 30s?
- Has each letter been written
using the writing process? (Brainstorming, Prewriting, Drafting,
Response, Revision, Editing, Posting to Webpage). Do your letters show
improvement from first draft to final copy?
- Are your final webpages neat and
professional? Do you have all your notes, etc. posted?
When you complete this project, you
will be able to identify and understand the setting of To Kill a
Mockingbird. As you read the novel, you will have a greater
understanding of the personal, social, and political issues which are
dealt with in the story.
What would it be like to be alive
during the Great Depression of the 1930s?