Work Teaching Ideas

1) Job Exploration. Since ABLE programs often include a "job readiness" component, learners can increase their familiarity with specific jobs and practice their reading comprehension at the same time. Encourage learners to choose an appropriate book (level and interest) from the "Types of Work" column. Those that have similar interests (farming, science, mining, architecture, etc.) can work together in small groups to discuss and list the skills and interests necessary for the chosen field before sharing their material with the entire class. Students can then log onto the NIFL Workforce Special Collection (, click on Workers/Learners on the right side bar, and then click on ISEEK. From here they can research the "education and training" for a specific job before using the "job search" to see what jobs are available. The Workforce Instructors section, also on the right side bar menu, provides further information and lesson plans.

Three books offer an opportunity to explore the attitudes and behavior that contribute to a good work experience:" Marven of the Great North Woods, A Day's Work, and some stories in Choices. 2) Historical Work. Many books in the matrix depict jobs that no longer exist. After a learner reads a book of her choice from the "historical" column, ask her to do "then-and-now" writing, comparing the work of the past with what has replaced it and why. For example, Peppe, the Lamplighter (from the book of the same name) lighted streetlights one by one whereas modern streetlights are part of an automatic electrical grid with light sensors. Electric company repairmen replace lights. After everyone has shared their material with the class, discuss what has been gained and what has been lost in the changes. 3) Child Labor. Kids at Work and Cheap Raw Materials describe child labor in the USA before legislation prohibited it. Ask students to compare them with Stolen Dreams, which portrays child labor around the world today. How are the practices different and how are they the same? Students can discuss/write about what they can do to prevent child labor. 4) Migrant Labor. After students have chosen a book on migrant labor, ask them to describe the life of a migrant worker in the US. What economic conditions contribute to migrant labor? What problems do migrant workers face (dislocation, separation from family, poor housing, poor health and safety conditions etc.)? How do others in a community view migrant workers and why? Relate the discussion to any legislation that may be current locally or nationally.

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