What was a womans life like during this period?
When the Tirocchi sisters arrived in the United States, they
established a successful business and employed many other women.
Customers in the shop were also primarily women. What did these
three classes of women have in common, and what set them apart
from one another? What can you say about their quality of life?
Students attempt to weave these individual stories into a pattern.
At the same time, primary and secondary sources of historical
information should be used and compared for accuracy and relevance.
Students will select a woman from this period for research. They
will be asked to gather general information on her, and create a
portfolio containing the following:
Research materials on the class of woman, reflecting
the historical view. For example, for an immigrant working in
the garment industry you might find information on the early labor
movement and sweatshops.
Possible sources for research include:
Tirocchi people databases
Public library and local resources
Family histories and relatives
National organizations, like the ILGWU and NOW
Personal stories. At least one oral history/interview should
be required. Students may interview the woman they are researching,
or someone similar from their family or neighborhood. Arrangements
might be made with a local elder care center to gather stories from
Literacy. Students should select an appropriate, related
novel or short story dealing with a female character (see resources
section for suggestions).
An artistic creation by or about women. Art reflects the
artists culture. Students should locate art by women of this
period, as well as art about women of this period. These should
be contrasted and examined for the messages they impart.
Journal. Students should create a journal writing in the
voice of the woman they are researching. It might take the form
of letters to a correspondent, or a diary.
At several checkpoints during this project, the teacher and group
should gather to compare and share progress and discoveries. As
the research and activities progress, a whole-group project should
be chosen and the students begin working towards its completion.
Examples might include:
Construct a collage of the women studied.
Work together to create a financial portrait of women of this
time. How much did working women earn? What did things cost
(like dresses, for example).
Work together to create a portrait of a womans day. How
much time did they spend in various activities, like cooking,
working outside the home, shopping, sewing, and so on. How does
that compare to women today?
Create a hypertext presentation highlighting dramatic performances,
research, and readings from student journals.
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