Inspirational Lessons Through Life Struggles – The Mill Children

Elizabeth Kennedy, Language Arts, Randolph Middle School

Final Unit (PDF)     Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

200 Word Synopsis

The objective of this unit is to have middle school students analyze the changes and sacrifices that have been made in order for them (adolescents) to work and earn money in a safe and fair environment. This unit will primarily focus around a novel study. The novel that will be used for bringing the child labor experience to life is Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop. This is a historical fiction novel set in Pownal, Vermont around 1910. The main character Grace is 12 years old and works as a “doffer” on her mother’s looms in the mills. One day Lewis Hine shows up with his camera. Grace learns about the Child Labor Board and decides to write them a letter. The novel will have multiple enriching supplementary materials (triangulation). The students will be stepping into the shoes of someone their own age and experiencing life from a different era. The entire novel study should really make the lectures (history) that we started the unit with come alive.