Picture it, you live in a lovely home. You eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day and sometimes even a snack, like ice cream or candy. Your house is nice and warm in the winter and there is always wood to add to the fire. You and your family sit by the fire and listen to the radio every evening. Dad goes to work in the morning and works hard so that your family can live comfortably. Mom cleans house and takes care of you. She makes sure you have everything you need and more. Sometimes you go to town on the weekend and see a movie or go shopping with your family. Things couldn't be any better. Life couldn't be any easier.
Then one day all of this disappears. All of these wonderful things that you are so used to. Even some of your daily meals. There are some days you don't get to eat at all. Why did this happen to you? Why did this happen to almost every single family in the United States?
The Great Depression began with the fall of the stock market in 1929. It affected children and families in our nation and all over the world.
Now it is time to check out some web sites. This information will help you when it comes time to complete your journal.
These sites will give you an idea of what it was like to live in the city:
- The Great Depression--as you look at this site, click the contents arrow at the top left side of the page. There are three slides to read.
- The Great Depression Background Information--just read the page this link takes you to. Read the entire page and then you can move on to the next link below.
- Letter to Mr. Roosevelt--read this letter and move to the next link
- Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt--read this letter return to this page
By the end of 1932, 13 million people in America were unemployed. Kids were working to help support their families. Life was very hard for everyone.
Now lets explore farm life during the Depression, which was tougher than city life. Please view each site and read about what it was like to live on the farm:
- Farm Life-- This is a very big site so there are a few places I would like you to visit. First, click this link and read the information on the first page then come back and click the link below.
- Feeding the Family--This is from the same site. Please just read this page and move to the next link.
- Going to School--Read this page only, then return to this page .
Below is a video for you to watch to get a good idea of how people's lives were during the Great Depression.
When you watch the video, take notes. These will help you in your journaling. Some things to look for and describe:
- Clothes people were wearing
- Facial expressions on the people in the video
- People's homes, what they looked like
- Employment issues/unemployment office lines
- Farm land
LETS GET READY TO EXPLORE YOUR LIFE IN THE 1930'S!
Your next set of tasks are going to be three journal entries. Each entry is going to have a scenario that goes along with it. You are going to use the scenario to guide you as you write your entry for the day. You are going to write one entry each day for the next three days.
When you read each scenario, put yourself in the situation of the child in the family. Write as if you were going through the Great Depression. Make sure to write about your feelings and thoughts so that I know how the hard times are affecting you.
Step 1: Choose whether you live in the city or on a farm. There will be a scenario for each. If you choose a farm, you write about the situation on the farm. If you choose the city, you write about the situation in the city.
Farm Life City Life
*If you choose the farm life, remember families who lived on farms suffered much more than people in the city.
*Make sure you write about the same setting for each journal entry. You should have three entries on the farm if you chose the farm life. You should have three entries in the city if you chose the city life.
Step 2: Journal Entries
- Use complete sentences
- Write in paragraph form
- Use correct spelling
- Each entry should be at least one paragraph. You may write more if you have time.
- Remember, BE CREATIVE!!!
City: Today seemed like any ordinary day, until dad came home very upset. It looks like he has been crying. His face was all dirty and his eyes were all red. Mother seemed very upset too. Dad lost his job. Unemployment is really hard to get because everyone is so poor. We have very little money to buy food and pay for our house.
Farm: Dad came inside today and looked very discouraged. The crops were not growing. They had all dried up. That was how dad made money for the family. There hadn't been rain in weeks. Mom looks worried too and so does my older sister. The animals were really hungry but we didn't have the money to feed ourselves, let alone them.
City: It has been two weeks since the stock market crashed and dad lost his job. My sister and I are always hungry. We never get milk anymore. We also never get to go to the theater on Saturdays or to the market. I heard mom talking to dad about not having a home. Where would we live?
Farm: The crops are still all dried up. The animals are still hungry, and one of our horses even died because it was so hungry. My sister and I have been working on the railroad so that we can have food to eat.
City: The Depression has been going on over a month now. We are still starving. We still have a house to live in. Dad is getting unemployment now, so we get to eat two times a day. I have lost some weight though.
Farm: Dad is really upset that his kids have to work for food. The railroad is tough work. I don't really get to sleep. I don't get to go to school anymore either. I miss my friends and family.