Out of the Dust, written by Karen Hesse, uses verse to tell the story of Billie Jo Kelby’s life on a farm during the Dust Bowl years.
Lesson Plan/Art Project
Step #1 ~ Observe Photos
Display several photographs of dust storms approaching during the time of the Dust Bowl. Below are some examples.
Step #2 ~ Compare and Contrast
Have students reread “Fields of Flashing Light” from March 1934. Next students draw a T-Chart to compare the words of the poem to the photographs.
After students create the T-Chart, discuss the similarities and differences. Encourage students to add to their chart using rich descriptions of vivid imagery.
Step #3 ~ Write a Poem
Have students create free verse poems using phrases from their descriptions of the photos.
Step #4 ~ Art Project
- Give each student a 9 by 12-inch piece of white construction or drawing paper.
- Have students pencil in a horizon line across the center of the page.
- Students then paint a blue sky above the horizon line and a sandy ground below the horizon. Allow the paint to dry.
- Below the horizon line, draw a frame area approximately 5 by 5 inches where the completed poem will be displayed.
- Students then paint a scene such as a field of crops, a small town, a home, a fenced-in pasture, etc. below the horizon line. Remind students that the frame area will be covered with their poems. (Encourage students to keep their paintings simple.)
- Using a mixture of glue, paint, and sand, paint a wall of dust blowing in.
- Have students write or type the final draft of their poems on a five by a five-inch piece of paper.
- Glue or pin the poem in the frame area.
Free Samples from Out of the Dust Book Unit
If you would like to try out Out of the Dust Book Unit, this download contains the following samples:
- Vocabulary Practice for Reading Selection #1
- Comprehension for Reading Selection #1 “January 1934”
- Constructed Response for Reading Selection #1 Character Traits of Billie Jo
- + A lot of Photos to Show You What is in the Rest of the Unit
Out of the Dust Book Unit
Out of the Dust Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice.