Laurie Lawlor:  Curriculum Connections

    Curriculum Connections:
    Addie's Long Summer

  • Evaluate: Addie, Maudie, and Elizabeth are cousins and each have their own characteristics. Which of the girls would you most like for a friend? Explain why?

  • Compare and Contrast: Make a three column chart. Use each of the girls' names as the title for one column. List the positive attributes that each of the girls exhibits in the story. Then list the negative attributes exhibited. Use this chart to discuss the characters in this story with your classmates. Be prepared to tell why you feel this character has a particular characteristic.

  • Evaluate: Why do you think Addie is willing to betray the trust of her friend Tilla? If you were Tilla would you be able to forgive her? Why or why not?

  • Make a list of all the secrets any of the characters had in the story? Make a chart of who knows what secrets and who doesn't. Discuss the ramifications of having and telling secrets that you have promised to keep?

  • On a map of the midwest, plot the route that Maudie and Elizabeth would have taken to reach Addie's home on the prairie. View a map of the Middle west in 1859 by clicking here to access the American Memory pages of maps. Go to the page listing middle west maps and click on the link for the 1859 maps.

  • Read about the Westward expansion. Discuss how Addie and her family and Maudie and Elizabeth's family fit into the general information about settlers in the Midwest. Were their family's farmers? Where did the families live before coming to the Midwest? What other similarities can you identify?

When it doesn't rain for weeks the Mills family is in danger of losing their crops. This was not an unusual occurance in the 1850s-1900s. In the earlier decades of the 1800s, grasshoppers often invaded and destroyed all of the crops. There were real threats to the crops and resulting effects. Families lost farms, had little or no food for the winter, and sometimes had to return to the East.

  • Resources about the "Dust Bowl."

    • Andryszewski, Tricia. The Dust Bowl: Disaster on the Plains. (Millbrook, 1993)
    • Brandenburg, Jim. An American Safari: Adventures on the North American Prairie. (Walker, 1996)
    • Farris, John The Dust Bowl. (Lucent, 1989)
    • Stanley, Jerry. Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch. (Crown, 1992)
    • Staub, Frank. America's Prairies. (Carolrhoda, 1996)

  • Read about the plight caused by grasshoppers in the Nebraska territory. "Histories and Stories of Nebraska" by Addison Erwin Sheldon. and at Andreas' History of Nebraska - Dawson County (Grasshoppers). Discuss how this situation is similar to the situation in Addie's Long Summer

  • A similar tale can be read about the grasshopper plague in Missouri Click here.

  • In Utah when grasshoppers came in 1848 and began eating the settler¹s crops. Seagulls from the Great Salt Lake ate many of the grasshoppers and saved the crops. Today the seagull is the state bird and there is a monument built in Salt Lake City to honor them. Read about a modern day insect problem. Once you have read that account discuss what conditions may have contributed to the problems in the 1850s.

  • You might also wish to read about this period of time from an article "Union As My Grandmother Knew It" by Hazel Wardle Egbert

  • Read about grasshoppers and locusts in the prairies.

  • Read"Grasshoppers" by Julie Johnson. This article contains many interesting facts about the grasshoppers in Kansas. Some fun facts are included such as the French word for grasshopper in relation to the history of the names of some of the towns in the state.

  • The plague of the grasshopper is included in Laura Ingall's Wilder's On the Banks of Plum Creek.

  • What type of skills did a child learn in school in the 1800s? What type of skills are you learning in school today? How do the skills compare? What kind of math did they learn? What kind of math do you learn in today's schools?

Economic considerations were still affecting decisions about school in the recent decades.

  • Economic considerations often influenced the role of education in the lives of the children of pioneers. In this book, Tilla has to stay at home to help take care of her family's home and her younger sister. She also had to help take care of her older sister's babies. (page 19). Addie's family was able to make other decisions regarding Addie's schooling. (page 111-112). Discuss the role of economics in education in those days and in the present day.

    Read the interview with Josie Williams on the site: Literacy -- Adults Learning to Read and Write. How does Josie Williams story fit with the information from the days when Addie was going to school?

  • Discuss how economics affect decisions about your schooling and the schooling of your friends. If your family could afford it would you be going to a different school? Would you have more school supplies? Would having a computer or more books at home be different if your family had more money or less money? How would having or not having those resources change how you would learn or be able to do your school work?

    Addie's Long Summer. Illustrated by Toby Gowing. (1992) Albert Whitman & Company. ISBN: 0807501670; paperback (1995) Ministrel® Pocket Books ISBN: 0671526073. 173 pg. Historical Fiction.

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