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The Grapes of Wrath Project By Becky Meredith West Valley High School my web page . Expectations: to create a project that would use technology in a way that increased student interest in subject matter

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the grapes of wrath project

The Grapes of Wrath Project

By Becky Meredith

West Valley High School

my web page


  • to create a project that would use technology in a way that increased student interest in subject matter
  • to help students make contemporary connections to subject matter
  • to increase my technology skills in the process of creating the project
actual learning
Actual learning:
  • you do NOT leave a space between words
  • you do NOT put a folder within a folder within a folder (or if you do, when you call Brian over for help, tell him it must have done by that malicious student who keeps messing with the computers)
  • technology should be used if it enhances a lesson, but not just for the sake of usingit
skills i ve gained
skills I’ve gained:
  • creating a hyperlink
  • how to upload and download to and from the server
  • how to use Access, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • how to copy and save image and sound files
  • how to change the text and bullet colors in a PowerPoint presentation (did you think they automatically came in red & blue?)
  • students were able to make personal connections as they explored themes in the Grapes of Wrath video
  • some students’ original lyrics reflected a substantial understanding of the themes
  • most students weren’t able to make the connections between the contemporary music they listen to, and the themes in G of W
  • students didn’t have enough library/lab time to do a thorough job
  • many students opted to create hand drawn CD covers, thereby minimizing the technology aspect

The premise of my lesson was that students would be able to make a connection between the themes found in The Grapes of Wrath and the contemporary song lyrics they were familiar with. Unfortunately, most of the song lyrics they listen to didn’t really connect with the themes. Only a few students who have a broad knowledge of songs were able to make the connection.

I was ready to toss this lesson out completely until our mentor (Brian Swagerty) made a suggestion that WORKED! Instead of having students connect to any contemporary song lyrics, they will complete a short lesson on analyzing contemporary country lyrics. This genre of music does lend itself to the kinds of themes found in The Grapes of Wrath, and I can see the students being able to make the connections I was aiming for.

The only modification needed to my lesson plan was to change my lyric links from general contemporary song lyrics to country music lyrics.

student data
Student Data:

Chart is based on student performance on a test that was given before and after watching/discussing G of W video. CD project indicates proficiency in connecting themes and creating CD cover that reflects one of those themes.

summary of revisions
Summary of revisions:
  • Change the connection between themes and contemporary music in general, to country music specifically
  • include a mini-lesson on country music (that includes in-depth look at the themes found in that genre) prior to beginning on the project itself
concluding statements
Concluding statements:

My experience with this project has been extremely frustrating at times, often because I didn’t completely understand the process. However, as I’ve worked through the various components, I have increased my technology bit by bit.

One of the most important things I learned is not to add technology to a lesson or unit unless it truly increases student engagement, learning, understanding, etc. The technology integration needs to serve a specific purpose, and sometimes you don’t know effective it will be until you experiment a little.