McFarland, USA is an uplifting movie about a coach who works in a predominately Latino town and trains a group of students who become state champion cross country runners. Through his journey, he learns of the challenges the boys face with their families and economic responsibilities to work in the vegetable fields. These boys begin their day before sunrise to work in the fields, go to school and return to the fields for a late afternoon shift. For those of you that don’t know the labor intensive job working in the fields requires, this movie will surely open your eyes.
It leaves me wondering about my roots and the challenges faced generations ago. What did it take for my great grandmother to travel from Poland to America over 100 years ago? How did she get the money to travel here? What obstacles did she have to overcome as she was trying to start her life in America?
Here are some ideas for your students to learn about their families and challenges they have faced:
- Jewel of a Book directions for the project are listed on the page, but instead of handwritten-same shaped jewels, use a program like Paint, Publisher or Pixie to create the shape and add text.
- Use a picture of a tree found in a photo gallery and import saved pictures and text boxes to display the information
- Using Timeline from www.readwritethink.org, have students organize their collected research of their family line onto a timeline. This will also give a different perspective to any historical figures you are covering in your class. The file can be saved and completed at a later time.
- Here is a sample project outline to help you get started.