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September 03

Labor Day honors the labor movement in the United States.

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Labor Day honors the labor movement in the United States.

Grades 3 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Holiday & School Celebration

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882. It became an official federal holiday in 1894 and is now celebrated on the first Monday of September. Born out of the rise of unions as part of the American labor movement, the day is marked by parades, picnics, and other celebrations—and it marks the unofficial end of summer.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Students tend to know little more about Labor Day than it's a day off of work and school. Encourage them to learn more about the American labor movement by giving them time to research one of the figures from the list below. In paris or small groups, they can locate print and Web based resources about their lives and contributions to labor reform. Groups can use the Biocube Interactive to organize and share what they learn.

  • Jane Addams
  • Sarah Bagley
  • César Chávez
  • Samuel Gompers
  • Dolores Huerta
  • Mary Harris Jones
  • John L. Lewis
  • Lucy Randolph Mason
  • Luisa Moreno
  • Leonora O’Reilly
  • Albert and Lucy Parsons
  • Franics Perkins
  • Esther Peterson
  • A. Philip Randolph
  • Walter Reuther
  • Rosina Tucker

WEBSITES

 

 
  • History of Labor Day

    This page from the US Department of Labor explores the legislation behind Labor Day and the controversy over the identity of its originator.

     

  • Labor Day

    The History Channel's section on Labor Day offers articles, videos, and speeches related to the holiday.

     

  • Here's Why We Celebrate Labor Day

    This Time Magazine article offers an accessible introduction to the history and significance of Labor Day.

     

  • Labor Movement

    The History Channel's section on the Labor Movement offers an overview of key figures in labor reform.

RELATED RESOURCES

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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

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  |  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.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Preparing a Character for a New Job: Character Analysis through Job Placement

Working as career counselors for a literary character, students find a job for the character, prepare a resume, and design questions and answers to prepare them for a job interview.