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Lesson Plan on Rural Poverty


Grades 5-9

Based on Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: America's Forgotten Children: The Rural Poor


Objectives
Goal
For students to gain a familiarity with some of the many faces of rural poverty and an understanding of the different ways that children and their families are affected by it.

Become aware of the lives of children in rural America and recognize that rural poverty can mean different things to different people in different circumstances.

Learn and think about different ways society and the community can help tackle rural poverty and the different issues that children and their families face.


Materials
TV & DVD Player
DVD of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: America's Forgotten Children: The Rural Poor
Large Sheets of Paper
Markers



Prior to Viewing: 10-15 min.

Class Discussion to prepare the students for the video and the activity to follow.

Ideas on how to start the discussion/engage the students:
•Turn the lights off in the classroom and start with a comment along the lines of: Do you know there are kids your age that live in America that do not have electricity in their home?

The discussion should include:
•Introduce the topic by asking your students a few open ended questions:

•Discuss what comes to mind when you think of poverty in the USA.

•Why are there so many poor families in our country?

•What exactly does poverty mean?

•Where is rural America?

Review background information on poverty and rural poverty to introduce some of the key issues around rural poverty:
Poverty is not only having no money. It is the overall lack of resources. A person can be poor when they have no or limited access to employment, education, healthcare and basic essentials like food and clothing.

Rural Poverty Facts:
Over 20 percent of the children living in rural America—a total of 2.6 million children live below the poverty line ($19,350 for a family of four).

Rural poverty is heavily concentrated in six regions of the country— Central Appalachia, the Deep South, the Rio Grande border, the Southwest, the Central Valley of California, and the American Indiana Reservations in the Northern Plains states.

48 of the 50 counties with the highest child poverty rates in the U.S. are rural. Poor rural communities often lack basic services and the lack of transportation is a severe problem-limiting parents’ access to employment and access to healthcare for themselves and their children.

Poor rural children face barriers to education, including long distances to school, lack of teachers and few if any child and youth development opportunities—after-school, recreational, or early childhood development education centers.


Show Program: 22 min.

Suggest to students to take notes to during the video for the activity afterwards.


Activity: Same and Different, 20 min.

Appreciating similarities and differences between themselves and others is an important skill and this activity will give your students the opportunity to both recognize the things they learned about rural poverty from watching the DVD and sharpen their skills in identifying similarities and differences.

Divide your class into three groups and give each group two large sheets of paper and a marker to write with. Assign or ask one student in each group to write down the group’s answers.

Let the first group know that they will have 2 minutes to write down as many ways that they can think of that their lives are the same as Kenyon’s, one of the students featured in the DVD they have just watched.

The second group will have the same task and the same amount of time to write down as many ways that they can think of that their lives are the same as Garrett’s from the DVD that they have just watched.

The third group will have the same task and the same amount of time to write down as many ways that they can think of that their lives are the same as Colton’s from the DVD that they have just watched.

At the end of two minutes, let each group know that they now have another two minutes to write down as many ways that they can think of that their lives are different from the person that they were assigned (Kenyon, Garrett or Colton)

When time is up, ask each group to first share with the whole class what they came up with for similarities’ between themselves and the person that they were assigned. Then ask each group to share what they came up with for differences.

After each group has shared both of their lists initiate a discussion by the entire class about some of the main things that they discovered— How many groups had the same similarity or the same difference listed ? Which group(s) came up with more similarities? More differences? Did any of the groups have something that was listed as a difference by one group–but they had it listed as a similarity for their group?


Closure:

Review outcomes of the activity and discuss different ways society and the community can help tackle some of the issues that children and families affected by rural poverty face.


Alternative Activities:

I. Have each student in the class pick one of the three children (Colton, Garrett or Kenyon) shown in the DVD—America’s Forgotten Children: The Rural Poor to write a Bio Poem about.

A Bio poem can be used to teach students to focus on the characteristics of a person or an animal, anything or anyone really. It requires the student to put themselves in the subject's shoes and helps expand students' use of adjectives and writing about feelings. A Bio poem is a poem that describes a person in 11 lines. The specific formula to use when writing a Bio poem is listed below.

Line 1: First Name
Line 2: Four descriptive adjectives or traits
Line 3: Son of...
Line 4: Who loves…(three people, ideas or things)
Line 5: Who feels...
Line 6: Who needs...
Line 7: Who gives...
Line 8: Who fears…
Line 9. Who shares…
Line 10: Who would like to...
Line 11: Who lives...

II: Using Visualization to add details to sentences

Ask your students to pick one of the three children (Kenyon, Garrett or Colton) featured in the DVD—America’s Forgotten Children: The Rural Poor to write about. Then have the students close their eyes and visualize themselves standing in the house or the yard of the child who they chose.

They should look around and notice what is above them, at their feet, behind them, on all sides. What is moving? What is in the background? What colors do they see? What small things and large things do they see? What do they smell, feel, taste? What mood are they in? What noises do they hear? What time of day is it?

After the details of what they visualized are set in their minds, ask your students to open their eyes and describe what they saw. Ask them to write down their responses on pieces of paper at their desk or at the board or on a blank overhead. Help the students to transform their sentences by adding additional words to their descriptions and to eliminate words that are unnecessary or boring like “good”, “bad”, “said” and “went.”


About Save the Children:

Save the Children is the leading independent organization creating lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Save the Children USA was established in 1932 to help children and families in Appalachia survive during the Great Depression.

Today, Save the Children is a global organization reaching millions of children in more than 50 countries, but we still focus on the needs of the millions of children living in poverty in rural America.

Over the past four years, we have not only sharpened the focus of our programs to address the critical needs of children in rural areas but we also work with children impacted by disasters. We will continue to act as the leading US voice for rural children living in poverty, ensuring that the rights and needs of rural children are given equal and – where justified – special consideration.

For more information, visit www.savethechildren.org



Lesson Plan from Save the Children