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?