Lesson Plan on the Appalachians - People, Culture, Lifestyles

Teacher: Jody Honaker Subject: Social Studies
Grade Level: 4th Date: July 21, 1999

I. Content:

Students will learn about the uniqueness of the Appalachians in terms of  their location, and the lifestyle and culture of the people who live there.

II. Prerequisites:

Students should have general knowledge of mountains, such as structure and climate. Students should have general map skills. Students should know the characteristics of a culture.

III. Instructional Objective:

When requested, students, working in pairs, will jointly describe the Appalachians in question-answer form by including location, and lifestyles and cultural characteristics of the people who live there. Students must include two descriptions of the region and six distinct characteristics of the lifestyles and culture found in the Appalachians.

IV. Instructional Procedures:

Lesson-initiating Activity:
Students will listen to an audiotape of two Appalachians speaking their original dialect. After approximately three minutes, stop the tape and ask students to respond to what they heard. (Be sure to stress “different” rather then “weird” when referring to the dialect.) Next, students will be shown a map of the United States of America. Ask volunteers to point to the mountainous regions. Review facts about mountains regarding their height, climate, accessibility, and resources. Ask students to predict if people could live in the mountains, and if so what would be their advantages and disadvantages.

Core Activity:
Direct students to the Appalachian region on the map. Tell the students the two people heard earlier on the tape were indeed Appalachians who actually live in the Appalachian Mountains. The language heard was their dialect, a Scottish flavored Elizabethan English. Next read the story, When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant, to the students. After the story, the teacher will lead students in a discussion by asking questions such as, What were some of the characteristics of the Appalachians in the story? What did they wear? What was a normal day for them? The following content should be included in the discussion: isolation from modern world, underdeveloped, herbal & home remedies, clogging, gospel music, outdoor religious events, coal mining, thick forests, abundant supply of water, “outlanders”, pride, quilting, basketing, folklore, “hillbilly” stereotype, the dulcimer, and weaving looms. Students will now be grouped in pairs to construct a mock interview between
a “radio disk jockey” and an “Appalachian”. Students, working in pairs, will construct eight well-developed questions for the interview. Together, the pair will answer the questions on a separate sheet of paper in great depth, placing special emphasis on accuracy and description.

Closure Activity:
Once questions and answers are complete, students will decide which partner  will be the interviewer and which will role play the Appalachian. Students will then record their interviews in the media center. If media center is unavailable, students may perform interviews live in front of the class. In closing, the teacher will take a special moment to applaud all students
for their effort, followed by a brief review of the location and cultural characteristics of the Appalachians.

V. Materials & Equipment

audiotape, “Appalachian Voices”
tape player
tape recorders with microphone (media center)
United States map
Books from library on given subject, including When I Was Young in the
Mountains, by Cynthia Rylant. (Duttin 1982.)
Computer/Internet Service

VI. Assessment/Evaluation:

Students, in pairs, will submit the final draft of interview questions and answers for assessment. The question -answer forum will be evaluated for accuracy, creativity, and detail. *
Student recorded interviews (or live presentation) will be assessed for enthusiasm, and continuity. *
Students will be observed during construction of interviews to ensure equal participation.

*A cooperative grade will be awarded for this activity. Both members of  each partnership will receive the same grade unless equal participation was not exercised.

VII. Follow-up activities:

a) Students will visit and research the following websites on the computers throughout the day or at home:
Appalachian Cultural Museum at www.acs.appstate.edu/dept/museum/
Historic Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park at http: //histcrab.netscope.net
Virginia’s Tazewell County: For A Whole New Perspective at www.netscope.net/~towntaz/home/craborch.htm

b) Students will write in their social studies' journal a two page reflection regarding the new information gathered from the internet on the Appalachians. Reflections may be shared in class at a later date.

VIII. Self Assessment:

The teacher will observe students during the interview construction for participation and interest. The teacher will review final interviews and journal reflections to determine whether discrepancies exist between intended and actual lesson outcomes.

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