Labor Day Lesson Plans

What does Labor Day mean to you? End of summer? Pools closing? School Starting? A day off work? After growing up in the Midwest, the last day the pool was open was a big one for me (pool weather year-round was a major decision factor for moving to sunny Florida). And while I’m no longer on a school calendar, it does bring bittersweet feelings of an end to summer fun.

So what can this mean for adult education and ESOL practitioners who have been practicing all year? A chance to mix up your curriculum. Here are three things you can do to celebrate Labor Day and diversify learning with your student.

Learn about the history of Labor Day

  • The History Channel has great resources and video clips explaining the origins of Labor Day, the history of the assembly line, child labor in the United States, and brief biographies on the industrial moguls in the US. Watch these videos with your students and then pose comprehension questions to your students.
  • The US Department of Labor also has a brief History of Labor Day on their website. You can print out these sections and practice reading them aloud, silently, and together. Many of the events addressed in this page are also in the videos from the History Channel. Try combining the two to engage different learning styles.

Integrate College and Career Pathways in your curriculum!

  • Even if you have been slowly incorporating career pathways and workforce readiness, make your next lesson special by having it as a main focus. You can practice writing a cover letter and resume, explore Florida CHOICES with your student, practice interviewing, or help your student create an action plan to reach their career goals.

Learn about Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Worker Movement

  • Since the origins of Labor Day may seem distant, take the opportunity to include more recent labor and human rights struggles. Cesar Chavez started the National Farm Workers Association, later to become UFW, in 1962 and used nonviolent tactics to gain better working conditions for grape farmers and the opportunity to unionize.
  • You can find a book on Chavez in your local library to read with your student. You can hand out a vocabulary sheet to go over new words addressed in the book, or in a section of the book  you are going to read, and highlight words that include phonemic elements that you are currently working with. Suggestions for books are Cesar Chavez and La Causa by Naurice Roberts and Cesar Chavez by Ruth Franchere. Finish by asking topic questions
      • How did Chavez help migrant farm workers?
      • What were the reasons he had for helping the farm workers?
      • How has Cesar Chavez affected farm workers today?

“How Do I Explain Who I Am?” Helping Your Students Write an Effective Resume.

Marilyn McMullan, ABE/GED Teacher, Broward County Schools

Marilyn McMullan

As we continue to build career awareness and lead students toward their objective of excellent English skills, a high school diploma, a GED, and/or a technical center certificate/degree, we need to make sure our curriculum includes assisting students in creating an effective resume.  After all, one of our main objectives in adult education is to help our students move on from our classrooms with the skills to be successful in the workplace.  A resume is the employer’s first introduction to our students, so let’s help them to make it a good one!

Resume writing is a terrific activity to include in your curriculum for many reasons.  First, it is a great way to get your students to practice some of those skills you have been teaching in verb usage, sentence structure, organizing, and spelling.  Second, it helps your students think about themselves in a positive light, helping them to identify and concentrate on their strengths.  Third, they will leave your classroom with a document which will be a great stepping stone for their next step in a job search.

So, how do you get started with your students?  First set the stage.  Include activities which help your students identify their strengths in the workplace.  Help them decide what they are good at.  Is it people skills, computer skills, organizing, listening, working with others, leading others, being on time, attention to details, willingness to learn, or one of many other positive attributes?  Have your students identify and work with action verbs:  managed, coordinated, developed, initiated, developed.  Check out QuintCareers for a great list of career related action verbs.  Help your students to decide what their objective is and to write a positive statement that explains it.  Finally, be sure that your students understand that the reason a resume is so important is that it must convince a prospective employer that he or she should interview them so that they can get that job in their new career.

Once you have set the stage for resume writing with your students, you can lead them into the actual writing of it.  One of the best sources for resume writing is the Florida Choices website.  If your students use this, have them go to the work tab and click on resume builder.  The site will guide them through creating a resume and allow them to save it, amend it, print it, and then get ready to use it!  If you do not use this resource with your students, there are many other sites available on the internet.  Preview them, and pick one that targets entry level or whatever is appropriate for your students.  Assist your students as they create their resume, giving suggestions as needed and monitoring their success.  Be sure to have your students print you a copy to review for word usage, spacing, spelling, and effectiveness.  Help them to make any needed changes.  Make sure they have saved their resume and encourage them to update and edit it as they continue in your class.  When they are ready begin their job search, they will have a super resume ready to go!