Friday, November 21, 2008

GIST: Harvest Gypsies

To start this class, we talked about the purpose of the GIST activity we completed today. Some of you offered up definitions for a "GIST".  The definition we decided on was "summary". 

Once we had an understanding of what a GIST was, we moved to talking about the non-fiction text Harvest Gypsies, by John Steinbeck. This book was written about the migrant workers who had to leave their farms and communities because of the Dust Bowl and the joblessness of the 1930's.  Many of these migrants lost their homes and farms and then traveled to California in search of work with their families in tow. Because of the lack of resources (food, water, shelter, medicine) many of these people died. 

This book talks about the problems caused by the migrant workers moving into communities that were often hostile toward them and their families. It talks about the diseases and the struggles of  these destitute people, but also outlines some of the solutions that helped people to come together and build new communities through bartering and shared labor. It is an inspiring read and will help lead us into the world of our next book, Of Mice and Men (also written by John Steinbeck). 

After reading your summary paragraphs, I was amazed at the quality of your summaries. We did not have time to share our writings this class, so will read them aloud next class. Instructions for this activity are included in the picture to the right of this blog entry. I also included a couple of pictures of you working on this project. Good job!

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