Lessons & Units :: Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez 4th Grade Unit

Read-Aloud Lesson: Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez

Lesson Plan

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez | 800L

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez
Learning Goal
Identify the actions Cesar Chavez took to help farmworkers, the results of those actions, and the historical significance of those results.
Duration
Part 1: Approximately 40-45 minutes
 
Part 2: Approximately 15-20 minutes
 
Part 3: Approximately 15-20 minutes
Necessary Materials

Provided:
1. Detailed lesson plan
2. Graphic organizer for guided practice
3. Independent student worksheet

Not Provided:
Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez

 
  1. This lesson is a close reading of the entire text. So it’s important to engage students often, to enhance their learning. Here are two tips:

    •   When you ask the more complex questions from the lesson, ask students to “turn-and-talk” or “buddy-talk” before answering.

    •   Once you are deep into the lesson, instead of asking students every question provided, ask them to share with you what questions they should be asking themselves at that point in the text. This is also a great opportunity to use "turn-and-talk."
       
  2. Suggested teacher language is included in the lesson.

  3. We recommend you read the book once to your students, either the day or morning before teaching the lesson.

  4. This research-based, read-aloud lesson may seem long. Why do students need the lesson to be this way?
 

Part 1: Teacher Modeling and Questioning

 

Write the following student-friendly learning goal on the board, then read the learning goal out loud with the class: 

We will explain what Cesar Chavez did to try and help farmworkers, and why it is important to history.

 
Prepare Students for the Lesson
 

Point out Arizona and California on a map or a globe. (A map is provided here for your convenience.)

 
Transition Students into the Text
 
Teacher says: Sometimes we see and experience things we think are unfair or unjust. Sometimes we do something about it. One man in California believed in something so strongly that he walked for 340 miles so everyone would know about the injustice he and others were experiencing.
 
Read page 1 out loud, then stop. Page 1 ends with, “...all their own.”
1.
Teacher says: The book begins by introducing Cesar Chavez. One thing the book mentions is that until he was ten years old, every summer night was like a fiesta, or a party for Cesar.
2.
Teacher asks: What else does the book tell us about Cesar and his life?
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • Cesar liked to sleep outside.
  • Cesar had brothers, sisters, and cousins.
  • Cesar thought the whole world belonged to his family.
Read more
 
Teacher says: Cesar lived on a ranch with his family. I’m interested to know more about what a ranch is like.
 
Read page 3 out loud, then stop. Page 3 ends with, “...a day apart.”
3.
Teacher says: We read that there were cows on the ranch where Cesar lived.
4.
Teacher asks: What else do we learn about the ranch where Cesar lived?
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • There was a vegetable garden.
  • There were chickens.
  • There was a big house.
  • There were lots of farms nearby.
5.
Teacher asks: Based on these details about the ranch where Cesar lived, what is a ranch?
 
Students answer: A ranch is a place with a house and a lot of land where people live, raise animals, and grow or farm vegetables.
6.
Teacher says: So a ranch is a lot like a farm. Keep that similarity in mind as we read on.
 
Read pages 6-8 out loud, then stop. Page 8 ends with, “...look for work.”
7.
Teacher says: Something happened to the trees around the ranch during the summer Cesar was ten years old. They began to wilt. That means they started drooping and losing their strength.
8.
Teacher asks: What happened to the farm soil during that summer?
 
Students answer: The sun baked it rock hard.
9.
Teacher asks: Was there enough water at the ranch where Cesar and his family lived? Explain why or why not.
 
Students answer: No, there was no water for the crops because of the drought.
10.
Teacher asks: What problems did Cesar’s family have as a result of these weather conditions?
 

Students answer:

  • Cesar’s family could not make money to pay its bills.
  • Cesar’s family could no longer own their ranch.
11.
Teacher asks: Where did Cesar and his family go after losing their ranch?
 
Students answer: Cesar and his family went to California.
12.
Teacher asks: What did they go to California to look for?
 
Students answer: Cesar and his family went to California to look for work.
13.
Teacher says (models thinking): After losing the ranch, Cesar’s family needed another way to make a living. The author writes that they moved to “the green valleys of California” to find work. That phrase makes me wonder what kind of work there might be in green valleys. Let’s read on to find out.
 
Read pages 9-11 out loud, then stop. Page 11 ends with, “...less and less.”
14.
Teacher says: The book describes many hardships, or difficulties, that Cesar faced in California. One hardship was his back hurting from using a short-handled hoe to thin lettuce. Here is a picture of Cesar bent over in the fields.
 
Show students the illustration on page 12.
15.
Teacher asks: What are some other hardships that Cesar faced in California?
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • Cesar had to live in a battered old shed.
  • Cesar had to share outdoor toilets with a dozen families.
  • Pulling up beets broke the skin on Cesar’s fingers.
  • Chemicals on grapevines made Cesar’s eyes sting and his lungs wheeze. 
 
Read pages 14-15 out loud, then stop. Page 15 ends with, “...sometimes even murdered.”
16.
Teacher says: Now we are reading about hardships faced by other farmworkers as well as Cesar. The book says that “landowners treated their workers more like farm tools than human beings.”
17.
Teacher asks: What are some examples the book gives of workers being treated badly?
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • Workers were not given clean drinking water.
  • Workers were not given time to rest.
  • Workers were not given access to bathrooms.
  • Workers who complained were sometimes beaten up or murdered.
 
Read pages 16-17 out loud, then stop. Page 17 ends with, “...how he started.”
18.
Teacher says: We just read that when Cesar was in his twenties, he decided to spend the rest of his life fighting for change.
19.
Teacher asks: What was the first action Cesar took in his fight for change?
 
Students answer: Cesar talked to workers across California about joining him.
20.
Teacher asks: Think over what we have read about work on farms in California when Cesar was living there. What might Cesar have wanted to change?
 

Students answer (may vary but should reflect the hardships covered earlier):

  • Cesar might have wanted to make farms safer for workers so that they did not get beaten up and murdered.
  • Cesar might have wanted to make sure farmworkers were given clean water, had time to rest, and allowed to use the bathrooms.
21.
Teacher asks: When Cesar talked to other farmworkers about joining his fight, how many agreed with him?
 
Students answer: About one out of every hundred workers agreed with Cesar.
22.
Teacher says: Let’s see what other actions Cesar took as he continued his fight.
 
Read page 20 out loud, then stop. Page 20 ends with, “...be a fighter.”
23.
Teacher asks: What did Cesar organize?
 
Students answer: Cesar organized a meeting.
24.
Teacher asks: How many people attended the meeting?
 
Students answer: A dozen people attended the meeting.
25.
Teacher asks: The book does not tell us exactly what the meeting was about. But based on what the book told us about Cesar and his earlier actions, what was the meeting probably about?
 
Students answer: The meeting was probably about helping farmworkers.
 
Read page 22 out loud, then stop. Page 22 ends with, “...was born. “
26.
Teacher says: Cesar continued his fight for justice. He spread the message that truth was a better weapon than violence.
27.
Teacher asks: What happened as Cesar continued his fight and spread the message that truth was a better weapon than violence?
 

Students answer (may vary but should echo the book):

  • More and more people listened to Cesar.
  • The National Farm Workers Association was created.
 
Read pages 23-26 out loud, then stop. Page 26 ends with, “...the government’s help”.
28.
Teacher asks: According to the book, what was it like to be a worker in the vineyards of the grape company? Explain your answer.
 
Students answer: Being a worker in the vineyards was hard. Workers were not paid well and spent most of the year bent over grapevines.
 
If students struggle with this question, reread the following sentence: "Poorly paid workers hunched over grapevines for most of each year."
29.
Teacher asks: What did thousands of workers in the grape fields do after the company owners cut, or lowered, their pay?
 
Students answer: Thousands of workers walked off the company’s fields.
30.
Teacher asks: Why might the vineyard workers have walked off the grape company’s fields? Support your answer with evidence from the book.
 

Students answer:

(Students should give at least the first answer; if possible, elicit the more complex second answer as well):

  • The workers might have walked off the fields because they were not paid well and spent most of the year bent over grapevines.
  • The workers might have walked off the fields to send the grape company a message about how badly they were treated.
31.
Teacher asks: What did the grape company do after the workers walked off its fields?
 
Students answer: The company fought back with punches and bullets.
32.
Teacher asks: What action did Cesar take after the company fought back?
 
Students answer: Cesar organized a march.
33.
Teacher asks: Where was the march to?
 
Students answer: The march was to the state capitol in Sacramento.
34.
Teacher asks: What was the reason that Cesar and his followers decided to march to Sacramento, the capital of California?
 
Students answer: Cesar and his followers wanted to ask for the government’s help.
35.
Teacher says: Let’s see what the result of this march was.
 
Read pages 27-30 out loud, then stop. Page 30 ends with, “...kept going.”
36.
Teacher asks: What happened to the grapes in the fields of Delano while the workers were marching?
 
If students do not remember where Delano is, remind them that it is the city where the march started.
 
Students answer: The grapes turned white with mold.
37.
Teacher asks: Why did the grapes turn white with mold?
 
Students answer: There were not any farmworkers to pick them.
38.
Teacher asks: How did the owners of the grape company probably feel about the grapes getting moldy?
 
Students answer: The owners of the grape company were probably upset about the grapes getting moldy.
39.
Teacher says: Grapes getting moldy in the fields of Delano was one result of the march. Let’s read on to see whether there were others.
 
Read pages 31-33 out loud, then stop. Page 33 ends with, “...and accordions.”
40.
Teacher asks: What did people do when the marchers came to their towns and cities?
 

Students answer (may vary but should all come from the text):

  • People welcomed them with feasts.
  • People offered to help.
41.
Teacher asks: We just read that “for the grape company, the publicity was becoming unbearable.” What does that sentence mean?
 
If students struggle with this question, define publicity for them as “news coverage.”
 
Students answer: The sentence means that the negative attention the company got in the news was becoming very hard for the company to deal with. It made them look very bad.
42.
Teacher asks: Why was the publicity becoming unbearable for the grape company?
 
Students answer: The publicity was becoming unbearable because many more people were realizing how badly the company treated its workers.
 
Read page 36 out loud, then stop. Page 36 ends with, “...join the march.”
43.
Teacher asks: What did officials from the grape company promise Cesar and the other farmworkers?
 
Students answer: The officials promised a pay raise and better conditions.
44.
Teacher asks: Why might officials from the grape company have promised Cesar and the other farmworkers a pay raise and better conditions?
 
Students answer (may vary but should resemble the following): Officials from the grape company probably promised these things because of the bad publicity they were getting.
 
Read page 37 out loud, then stop. Page 37 ends with, “...American history.”
45.
Teacher asks: Cesar signed a contract, or written agreement, for farmworkers in the United States. Why was that an important event in history?
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • The contract Cesar signed was the first contract for farmworkers in American history.
  • The contract made sure that farmworkers in the United States would be treated better.
 
Read pages 40-42 out loud, then stop. Page 42 ends with, “...powerless again.”
46.
Teacher says: The farmworkers' march also had many benefits, or good results. One of the biggest benefits is summed up in this sentence from the book: “Some of the wealthiest people in the country had been forced to recognize some of the poorest as human beings.”
47.
Teacher asks: Whom does the author mean by “some of the wealthiest people in the country?”
 
Students answer (may vary but should have a basis in the book): The author means the people in charge of the grape company and other business owners.
48.
Teacher asks: Whom does the author mean by “some of the poorest” people in the country?
 
Students answer: The author means the farmworkers.
49.
Teacher asks: In what ways were the poorest people recognized by the wealthiest people?
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • Farmworkers were given higher pay.
  • The grape company promised better working conditions for farmworkers.
50.
Teacher asks: The author writes that some of the wealthiest people were forced to recognize some of the poorest people. What forced them?
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • The publicity from the march forced them to recognize some of the poorest people.
  • The actions taken by Cesar and other farmworkers forced some of the wealthiest people to recognize some of the poorest people.
 

Part 2: Guided Practice and Discussion

 
For this oral lesson, it is suggested to have the completed graphic organizer on the board with the answers concealed before this part of the lesson. After students provide a correct answer, reveal the corresponding answer on the graphic organizer.
 
Transition Students into the Guided Practice
 
Teacher says: Let’s summarize and list the actions Cesar Chavez took to help farmworkers and the results of those actions.
1.
Teacher says: Let’s begin by naming the actions that Cesar took to help farmworkers. I”ll start us off. The first action Cesar took to help farmworkers was talking to people across California about joining his fight.
2.
Teacher asks: What was the next action Cesar took to help farmworkers?
 
Students answer: Cesar organized a meeting.
3.
Teacher asks: What was the next action Cesar took to help farmworkers?
 
Students answer: Cesar continued his fight, spreading the message that truth was a better weapon than violence.
Read more
4.
Teacher asks: What was the next action Cesar took to help farmworkers?
 
Students answer: Cesar led farmworkers on a march to the state capitol in Sacramento.
5.
Teacher says: Now that we have listed Cesar’s actions, let’s look at their results. Cesar’s first action was talking to people across California about joining his fight. The result of that action was him getting about one out of every hundred people to agree with him.
6.
Teacher asks: What were the results of Cesar organizing a meeting?
 
Students answer (may vary but should include the following): A dozen people came.
7.
Teacher asks: What were the results of Cesar continuing his fight and spreading the message that truth was a better weapon than violence?
 

Students answer (may vary but should include the following):

  • More and more people started listening.
  • The National Farm Workers Association was created.
8.
Teacher asks: What were the results of the march Cesar led to Sacramento?
 

Students answer:

  • Some of the wealthiest people in the country were forced to recognize some of the poorest as human beings.
  • A contract was signed that gave farmworkers higher pay and better working conditions.
  • Cesar’s leg became swollen.
  • Cesar got a fever.
 

After the questions above have been answered and the corresponding parts of the graphic organizer have been completed and discussed with the class, ask the following extension questions.

 
Teacher asks: When Cesar started his fight for farmworkers' rights, only about one in a hundred people agreed with him. Later on, a dozen people came to the first meeting he held. As time went on, more people listened. By the time his march ended, there were 10,000 people in it. Based on the information in the book, why did more and more people join Cesar’s fight?
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • Because Cesar kept talking to people, more and more of them heard his message. It spread over time.
  • As Cesar learned to be a leader, he got better at convincing people to join him.
 
Teacher asks: What did Cesar do in reaction to the injustice he found in California?
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • He organized workers to fight the injustice.
  • He held a march to bring attention to the injustice.
  • He fought the injustice with nonviolence.
 
Teacher asks: What are some other ways Cesar could have reacted to the injustice he found in California?
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • Cesar could have organized workers to make attacks on the owners of the grape company.
  • Cesar could have urged workers to burn the fields and destroy the crops of the landowners.
  • Cesar could have left California to look for work in a place where workers were treated fairly.
 
Teacher asks: Was the way Cesar reacted the best way to solve the injustice the workers were experiencing? Explain why or why not.
 

Students answer (may vary):

  • Yes, the way Cesar reacted was the best. Through nonviolent actions like the march he led, Cesar helped farmworkers get better pay and working conditions.
  • It is impossible to know whether the way Cesar reacted was the best way because he never tried anything except nonviolence. Maybe if he and the farmworkers had used violence against the grape company, they would have gotten what they wanted sooner.
 

Part 3: Student Independent Practice

 
Both the student question set and teacher answer sheet are provided in the 'Text & Materials' section.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

(To see all of the ReadWorks lessons aligned to your standards, click here.)

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