Chapter 3 Objectives
Students will be able to
- Practice vocabulary with an increased understanding of the chapter words
- Learn about opinion paragraphs and begin the writing process
- Use subheadings and annotations for better reading comprehension
- Read "Mexican Migrant Workers in the 20th Century" by Jessica McBirney and answer comprehension questions based on this reading
- Make connections between this chapter and previously assigned texts
- Demonstrate an understanding of compare/contrast paragraphs by writing a first draft
- Develop paragraph ideas in the editing and revision process of a second draft.
Exercise 1 Prior Knowledge
Look at the words in bold in Exercise 2 without reading the example sentences. Rate your current knowledge of the word before doing the unit exercises. Use the numbered scale and write the number in front of the sentences in Exercise 2. With each exercise and by the end of the unit, your knowledge should work toward a "4", which means you will know the word, can explain it and give an example. It is expected that you will mark many words with a "1" or "2" now since they might be completely new words.
1. I do not know this word, and I have never heard of it before.
2. I have heard of this word before. It sounds familiar.
3. I can give an example of this word, but I cannot explain it.
4. I know this word. I can explain it and give an example.
Exercise 2 Definitions
Read the sentences below. Guess the meaning of the words in bold based on the example sentence(s). Circle the best definition of the word in bold.
_____ 1. I just realized they are sisters!
a. suddenly know
_____ 2. Joe went to the bank, but his wife remained in the car.
_____ 3. Rebecca wants you to succeed in learning English.
a. be successful
_____ 4. The computer can help you improve your English.
_____ 5. When the teacher saw the fight, he intervened right away.
a. be involved
_____ 6. Flowers emerge in spring.
Look at the subheadings below from the reading. Write questions from these subheadings predicting what the section will include. The first has been done for you as an example.
- Life As a Migratory Worker: What was life as a migratory worker like?
- Government Intervention
- Reform At Last
As you read, search for answers to the questions that you wrote from the subheadings. Write the main ideas of the paragraphs in the margin and highlight or mark the paragraph.
Mexican Migrant Workers in the 20th Century by Jessica McBirney
The United States is a nation made up of people with many different backgrounds. Since Mexico is a neighboring country, many of these people are Mexican or Mexican-American. This informational text describes how many immigrants and Mexican-Americans worked on farms for low pay and little respect throughout the 20th century, and even today. As you read this text, take notes on the relationship between prejudice and earning a living.
1Have you ever had to move to a different town before? Maybe you just moved somewhere new, or maybe you have always lived in the same place. But can you imagine having to move to a new place every few months? This is what Mexican migrant farm workers had to do in California in the 1900s. Because they worked in fields and farms, they had to move several times a year, every time there was a new crop to harvest.
Who worked in the fields?
2Many people of Mexican descent had lived in California for a long time before it first became an American state in 1850. The territory used to belong to Mexico, and many residents did not leave when the United States bought the land.
3However, even more Mexican immigrants crossed the border when Mexico experienced a revolution in 1910. The revolution put some in danger and they fled for safety. The revolution also caused an economic downturn in Mexico, and many workers realized they could earn more money in the United States than they could in their home country.
4Workers continued to move to California and other southwest states throughout the 1920s. The U.S. government set up a program to give immigrants short-term work visas. The program was designed for workers to come to the U.S. for a short time, just long enough to earn money to send back to their families. Most workers relied on these visas to stay in the country, but some stayed long enough to earn their citizenship and have children.
5When the Great Depression hit the U.S. in the 1930s, unemployment across the country rose to 25%. Many white Americans grew upset, believing that immigrants were “taking” their jobs. They blamed the Mexican workers for the fact that so many other people did not have jobs. Local and even state governments began to deport anyone who looked Mexican. Police did not bother to check if the people they removed were citizens.
Life as a migratory worker
6The workers who remained in the states often became migratory workers. They had to move around as different crops came into season, so they could be employed all year round. Life as a migratory worker in the 1930s was hard. Even though agriculture in California depended on migratory workers, they made the lowest wages in the country. Farm owners did not treat their laborers with respect. Most farms did not have bathroom facilities or water for the workers to drink, and there was no place to wash dangerous pesticide chemicals off their hands.
7Families moved too much and did not make enough money to own a house, so they usually stayed in makeshift homes right next to the fields. They built these houses out of whatever they could find, including scrap wood, cardboard, canvas, or tin cans. Although it was technically illegal, some children had to work in the fields alongside their parents for long hours. Even when children could go to school during the days, they had to change schools so often that it was very difficult to learn.
8The U.S. government started programs to help families hurt by the Great Depression, but few of these programs applied to agricultural workers. The one program that brought some assistance was the Farm Security Administration, which set up living camps and provided food and medicine to migratory workers. They separated Mexican and Mexican-American workers from whites because they did not want racial tensions to cause problems in the camps.
9A few Mexican workers tried to organize strikes and protests during the Depression, but they did not succeed in improving working or living conditions. After the Depression ended, life did not get much easier for the migratory laborers. However, change began when Cesar Chavez first created a union for farm workers in 1965: the National Farm Workers Association. Chavez and the NFWA wanted higher wages and better working conditions for all laborers, Mexican and white alike.
Reform at last
10One of Chavez’s most famous campaigns was his strike and boycott against grape growers in California. It began in 1965 when fruit companies refused to meet the demands of their workers. The workers went on strike and would not agree to keep working until they were paid better. To raise awareness and pressure the fruit companies, Chavez organized a 300-mile march to Sacramento, the capital of California. He also encouraged consumers around the country not to buy grapes. Finally, in 1970, the grape growers agreed to give their workers better wages.
11Today, Mexican immigrants or people of Mexican descent still make up a large majority of farm workers. In 2005, a survey found that 53% of these workers were undocumented workers, 21% were permanent residents, and 25% were full U.S. citizens. Most farm workers still make less than $10,000 per year, especially since many are paid per bucket of fruit they pick, rather than per hour. Despite some improvements from the 1930s, being a farm worker is still a dangerous and difficult job. Many organizations and politicians are still working to improve the lives of migrant laborers across the country.
For the following questions, choose the best answer.
1. PART A: Which of the following statements best identifies a central idea of this text?
A. America has always welcomed immigrants who built the country and made it more productive through history.
B. During the Great Depression, jobs were scarce, but there was always a place for laborers working American soil to become wealthy and live out the American dream.
C. Mexicans invaded America in the 1930s because there were no jobs in Mexico and they wanted to steal American wealth.
D. Life as a migrant worker was difficult because of poverty and prejudice, and because it was hard to constantly adapt to life on the move.
2. PART B: Which phrase from the text best supports the answer to Part A?
A. “and many workers realized they could earn more money in the United States than they could in their home country” (Paragraph 3)
B. “Most workers relied on these visas to stay in the country, but some stayed long enough to earn their citizenship and have children” (Paragraph 4)
C. “they made the lowest wages in the country. Farm owners did not treat their laborers with respect” (Paragraph 6)
D. “The U.S. government started programs to help families hurt by the Great Depression,” (Paragraph 8)
3. PART A: What does the term “migratory workers” most closely mean as it is used in paragraph 6?
A. People who remain in one country
B. People who leave their country permanently
C. Agricultural workers or farmers
D. Workers who move from place to place
4. PART B: Which phrase from the text best supports the answer to Part A?
A. “The workers who remained in the states often became migratory workers” (Paragraph 6)
B. “They had to move around the state as different crops came into season,” (Paragraph 6)
C. “so they could be employed all year round” (Paragraph 6)
D. “Even though agriculture in California depended on migratory workers,” (Paragraph 6)
Reading Skill-Pronoun Reference
A pronoun is a word that refers to a noun that usually has already been mentioned. To identify which noun the pronoun is referencing, read the two previous sentences. For example, “I went to bed late. This made me tired the next day.” The word this is referring to the action of going to bed late.
Look at the sentences below from Mexican Migrant Workers in the 20th Century. Circle the pronoun and underline the part in the previous sentence to which it refers. The first has been done for you.
1. “But can you imagine having to move to a new place every few months? This is what Mexican migrant farm workers had to do in California in the 1900s.” (paragraph 1)
2. “Workers continued to move to California and other southwest states throughout the 1920s. The U.S. government set up a program to give immigrants short-term work visas. The program was designed for workers to come to the U.S. for a short time, just long enough to earn money to send back to their families. Most workers relied on these visas to stay in the country, but some stayed long enough to earn their citizenship and have children.” (paragraph 4)
3. “Families moved too much and did not make enough money to own a house, so they usually stayed in makeshift homes right next to the fields. They built these houses out of whatever they could find.” (paragraph 7)
4. “The workers who remained in the states often became migratory workers. They had to move around as different crops came into season.” (paragraph 6)
5. “Today, Mexican immigrants or people of Mexican descent still make up a large majority of farm workers. In 2005, a survey found that 53% of these workers were undocumented workers, 21% were permanent residents, and 25% were full U.S. citizens. Most farm workers still make less than $10,000 per year, especially since many are paid per bucket of fruit they pick.” (paragraph 11)
Reading Skills-Compare and Contrast Connection
Compare and contrast the lives of a factory worker (The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire), a coal worker (Workers’ Rights and the History of Labor Unions), and a migrant worker (Mexican Migrant Workers in the 20th Century).
Table 4 Compare and Contrast Workers
Writing Skills-Compare and Contrast Organization
There are two ways to organize a compare and contrast paragraph or essay: block method or point-by-point method. You will write a paragraph about two of the workers from Table 1 (select two of the three) using the point-by-point method. Complete the outline below using the information you used from Table 1.
For example, Point of comparison 3: Work Conditions
1. Coal workers: exposed to coal dust and poisonous gases
2. Migrant workers: exposed to dangerous pesticide chemicals
Exercise 8 Writing Skills-Signal Words
Signal words help you show relationships between ideas. You could signal that you will provide another point (e.g., first, second, another, next) or connections (e.g., but, however, in contrast). Table 2 has words that signal contrast, and Table 3 has words show similarity. Although all the words in Table 2 and Table 3 share similar meanings (to compare or to contrast), they are grammatically different. Notice in Table 2 the punctuation for however, in contrast, and on the other hand. How does their punctuation differ from while, whereas, and but? All of the signal words require a complete sentence before and after the signal word, but however, in contrast, and on the other hand require a semi-colon or period before them and a comma after them. Use the ideas in your outline to complete the sentences in Table 2 and 3.
Example: Coal workers were exposed to coal dust and poisonous gases, whereas migrant workers were exposed to dangerous pesticide chemicals.
; in contrast,
; on the other hand,
Table 5 Contrast
, just as
Table 6 Comparison
Exercise 9 Example Paragraph
Read the example paragraph below. Underline the points of comparison. Circle any signal words.
Differences in Summer and Winter
Summer and winter in California differ in weather, outdoor activities, and food. The first difference is in temperature and weather conditions. Summer brings high temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but winter brings cold foggy days. Another contrast between these seasons is the outdoor activities. Because summer is so hot, many people enjoy swimming. However, in winter, many people like to ski or snowboard in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Lastly, the food commonly eaten in these seasons is different. Fresh fruits, such as peaches, plums, and apricots are found in every farmer’s market during summer; in contrast, soups, stews, and hot beverages are consumed in winter. California’s summer and winter differ tremendously.
Write a complete paragraph that compares and contrasts the working situations of two types of workers. Use the point-by-point method.
Exercise 10 Outline
A. Point of comparison 1: Pay
1. _________ Worker:
2. _________ Worker:
B. Point of comparison 2: Work hours
1. _________ Worker:
2. _________ Worker:
C. Point of comparison 3: Workplace
1. _________ Worker:
2. _________ Worker:
D. Point of comparison 4: Work Conditions
1. _________ Worker:
2. _________ Worker:
Exercise 11 Compare and Contrast Paragraph Draft
Use the outline from Exercise 10 to write a compare and contrast paragraph. Consider the example paragraph from Exercise 10.
Exercise 12 Paragraph Development
A well-developed paragraph has several supporting sentences that help to explain the main idea. They help to make the main idea clearer and more believable to the reader. How many supporting sentences do you need? Well, that depends on how complex your topic is. You use as many sentences as you need to explain your idea clearly and completely. For this course, it is a good idea to have at least three to four supporting sentences. However, academic paragraphs in college writing can have ten or more sentences! To develop your paragraph, supporting sentences can give the reader examples, specific details (time, date, place, number, or other facts), a clear description, or an explanation. Look at the two example paragraphs below. Which is more developed? What strategies are used to expand the writer’s main idea?
Example Paragraph 1
People who form close relationships with other people tend to be happier than those who do not. The number of friends a person has is not important. When it comes to happiness, what matters most is the quality of the relationships. Close relationships are ones that usually involve the sharing of feelings, mutual respect, acceptance, trust, fun and empathy. As long as the relationships are deep, a person will experience greater levels of happiness.
Example Paragraph 2
People who exercise regularly are usually happier than people who avoid exercising. People with good exercise routines are always improving both their physical and mental well-being. In fact, research has shown that exercise can be as effective as medication in treating depression.
The Revision Process of Writing
Exercise 13 Revise and Edit
Prompt: Write a complete paragraph that compares and contrasts the working situations of two types of workers. Use the point-by-point method.
Revise and edit the first draft of your paragraph.
Use the checklist below. Improve your paragraph by making corrections and additions.
- Expand the ideas using strategies from the paragraph-development lesson. Check that you have all the basics of an organized paragraph and have expanded your ideas.
- Check your topic sentence (follow the rules for topic and controlling idea)
- Check that pronouns are all very clear.
- Add clear signal words to connect your compare/contrast ideas.
- Check that you have complete sentences (use subjects and verbs, begin with capital letters, and end with periods)
- Read your content (all ideas must be related to the topic and flow with transitions)
- Check that your concluding sentence is strong and discusses both types of workers.
Use Grammarly to help you find and correct more errors, then submit your new final draft to this class assignment.
- How to use Grammarly with Chrome extension. I recommend the FREE version.
- If you don't use Chrome, or you usually type on your computer (not online), see the Grammarly webpage. Paste your text into the box or see more options under "Get Grammarly" at the bottom of the page.
- Hint: Use grammar technology carefully because it will sometimes change your words and ideas (it's not always right!). Read with caution before you accept any changes; make sure the idea still means what you want it to.
Extra Credit: To earn up to 5 points of extra credit, record and submit audio or video of yourself reading your paragraph out loud. It would help if you practiced your pronunciation first and you will probably want to try reading it a few times before you are happy with your recording. If you choose this option, make sure that you also post your written paragraph so that I can see and score your writing too.
Exercise 14 Sentence Completion
Complete the sentences using the vocabulary in the box below.
realize remain succeed
improve intervene emerge
Table 7 Chapter 3 Sentence Completion
1. Connor woke up at 10am, and ________________ that he is late for class!
2. Problems ________________ when friends live together.
3. You will ________________ in this class if you do your homework, study for exams, and attend class regularly.
4. Although Susan got a new job with more money, her financial trouble ________________.
5. The police ________________ between the husband and wife because someone heard them fighting.
6. Ivan lost weight after he ________________ his diet by eating more fruits and vegetables.
Exercise 15 Vocabulary Skill-Dictionary Skills
The readings in this unit mention the words immigrant and migrant. What is the difference? Use a dictionary to find the definitions of the following word forms. Note the difference between these ideas.
Exercise 16 Discussion Questions
Take notes answering the questions below. Then discuss your answers with a partner or group.
1. What is the best strategy to improve your English?
2. What is the best way to succeed at a job?
3. When should countries intervene in other countries’ problems (if ever)?