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March 31

César Chávez was born on this day in 1927.

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César Chávez was born on this day in 1927.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

César Chávez led the efforts to improve working conditions for California's migrant farm workers and formed the United Farm Workers Union. Chávez was committed to non-violent protest. He conducted several fasts and led a number of strikes and grape boycotts to further the cause of field workers.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Chávez was able to accomplish a great deal in his lifetime, promoting the civil rights and improving the working conditions of migrant farm workers. Have your students name other leaders who, like Chávez, have used non-violent means to achieve their ends. Some examples could include Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, or Susan B. Anthony.

Then, have students work in small groups to research one of these civil rights leaders. Students should find information about the leader's philosophy, the social cause for which he or she was fighting, and some of the specific methods he or she used for peaceful protest. Next, have students work, in their groups, on a creative writing piece. Have students imagine how history might have been different if this person had never lived, or had held a different philosophy. Then ask them to write a short story (or alternately, a play or poem) about this imagined history.

WEBSITES

 

 
  • Meet Amazing Americans: César Chávez

    The Library of Congress offers this brief description of César Chávez' work. The page includes a timeline and links to related information.

  • The Fight in the Fields: César Chávez and the Farmworkers' Struggle

    This resource, based on the PBS film The Fight in the Fields, provides information on Chávez' struggle. Features include information about the film, a timeline, and links to related resources.

  • César Chávez Middle School Biography

    This biography, from the California Department of Education, is intended for intermediate students. The detailed account includes related images.

  • Labor Hall of Fame

    This Internet activity from SCORE encourages upper grade students to select from 11 American labor leaders, including Chávez, and to create museum exhibits highlighting their accomplishments.

RELATED RESOURCES

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Guided Comprehension: Making Connections Using a Double-Entry Journal

Based on the Guided Comprehension Model by Maureen McLaughlin and Mary Beth Allen, this lesson helps students learn three types of connections (text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world) using a double-entry journal.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Writing Free Verse in the "Voice" of Cesar Chavez

Poetry and politics combine in this lesson where students write a free verse poem in the voice of Cesar Chavez.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Giving Voice to Child Laborers Through Monologues

Students present monologues in the "voice" of someone involved in child labor in England, respond to questions, and then discuss contemporary child laborers and compare them to the past.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Sí, Se Puede: Making a Difference, One Letter at a Time

After reading the book ¡Si, Se Puede!/Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A., students learn about labor unions, strikes, and organizing for change. Students interview staff members in their school to learn about their daily work life, and write persuasive advocacy letters.