Sí Se Puede: The Migrant Workers' Movement

While learning about the California migrant farm workers' fight for justice led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, students learn to make connections and think about cause and effect.

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ELA

Unit 2

5th Grade

Unit Summary


In this unit students study the California migrant farm workers’ fight for justice. Lead by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, this time period is often referred to as the start of the Latino civil rights movement. Over the course of the unit students will explore what life was like for migrant farm workers in the 1960s and the barriers that prevented them from obtaining better wages and equitable working conditions. Students will then learn about how the farm workers were able to band together under the leadership of Larry Itliong, Cesar Chavez, and Dolores Huerta to launch a multi-year movement focused on using nonviolent tactics as a way of making meaningful, long-lasting change. In particular, students will analyze how different types of nonviolent protests (boycotts, pickets, marches, strikes, and fasting) helped educate the public and influence change. Understanding the history of migrant farm workers and their struggle for justice is important for helping students understand the world around them. It is important to note that this unit is based in history. Many of the ideas and concepts in this unit are connected to current events; however, the focus of the unit is on this period in history. 

In reading, this unit helps students continue to build their informational reading skills. Over the course of the unit students will be pushed to think about the connection between two or more historical events and people. Unlike previous units, this unit contains a variety of primary sources and videos that require students to use different reading and speaking and listening strategies in order to synthesize and summarize key ideas.

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Texts and Materials


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Core Materials

Supporting Materials

Assessment


These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills.

Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit. Essential Tasks can be found in the following lessons:

Unit Prep


Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.

Essential Questions

  • What was life like for migrant farm workers in the 1960s? What barriers did they face in order to obtain better working conditions? Wages? 
  • What were some of the key moments in the migrant farm workers' fight for justice? 
  • Who were Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta? What strategies did they use to make meaningful, long-lasting change?
  • How did the farm workers use different types of nonviolent protest to educate the public and push for change? 

Vocabulary

Text-based

activism agitator agony bargain boycott commitment committee crop disband dispute dignity dramatic dumbfounded dues equality exploitation grass-roots organization grass-roots grievance growers harvest hostile huelga injustice inventiveness inhumane intimidation labor unions labor latinx legitimize negotiate nonviolence nucleus opposition painstaking pesticides publicity relentless scuffle strike sympathetic tactic treatment treasury unity urge visibility vulnerable

Root/Affix

-ism -ment -or -tion in- non-

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 2, view our 5th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Content Knowledge and Connections

Notes for Teachers

  • The questions on this unit's Cold Read Assessment reference the article, "A Brief History of American Farm Labor" (930L) by Smithsonian Magazine, adapted by Newsela staff (see unit materials). Be sure to include this article with the assessment.

Lesson Map


Common Core Standards


Core Standards

L.5.1
L.5.1.a
L.5.1.b
L.5.1.d
L.5.2
L.5.2.a
L.5.2.b
L.5.3.a
RI.5.2
RI.5.3
RI.5.6
SL.5.1
SL.5.2
SL.5.4
SL.5.5
SL.5.6
W.5.2
W.5.2.a
W.5.2.b
W.5.2.c
W.5.5
W.5.7
W.5.8
W.5.9.b

Supporting Standards

L.5.4
L.5.4.b
L.5.6
RF.5.3
RF.5.4
RI.5.1
RI.5.4
RI.5.7
RI.5.9
RI.5.10
W.5.2.e
W.5.4
W.5.6
W.5.9
W.5.10
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