Today I felt like my students actually learned. I mean, we do stuff every day. We journal and read out loud and do vocabulary exercises and practice our grammar. We answer critical thinking questions and have discussions and take quizzes and study for tests. But today...
Today I gave a mini-lecture about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl to set the backdrop for Of Mice and Men. And they were rapt with attention. They were fascinated. About the Dust Bowl! They wanted to know about the stock market and why it crashed and what did people do if they didn't have money. "Where did the farmers in Oklahoma go, Miss G?" they asked. "What did they do when they couldn't farm their land anymore because of the drought?"
"They moved to California, young scholars. They moved to California and California said, 'We don't want you either. We don't have any money to pay you.' So they were kind of screwed."
"But then what? What happened? Where did they live?"
I slapped a picture of a Hooverville up on the overhead.
"Whoah. People lived there?"
And in one class: "Isn't that what happened in The Grapes of Wrath?"
7 months ago