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These teaching suggestions are designed to help fourth-grade teachers discuss the article “Life in the Mill Villages” with students.

  • Before reading brainstorm as a class: What is a mill village? What does that mean? What do you think would be in a mill village?
  • This article is dense with details, so an activity with main idea and supporting details would work well.
  • Have students make a list of all the things that mills provided for their works. These lists could be made on such sites as:
  • Discuss why mills provided these things for their workers? (like homes, churches, schools, stores, barber shops, pool halls, etc.)
  • Have students practice making a cause and effect chart while reading the article.
    Cause Effect
  • Vocabulary to discuss while reading:
    • Mill village
    • manufacturers
    • factory
    • supervisor
    • mandatory
    • opportunities
  • Create a class word cloud using the vocabulary words and/or other terms the students think would fit well from the section. There are many word cloud creators to use:
    • Wordle is one of the best ways to engage learners if you know how to use it well.
    • WordSift- clouds like Wordle with more options to sort words by frequency and alphabetically. Not as visually pleasing.
    • Word Mosaic- great to make word clouds that fit a shape like a circle, exclamation mark, or heart. You can embed this. With Wordle you have to take a screenshot.
    • Word it Out- similar to Wordle. You can embed this, change the cloud shape, and differentiate the font colors. This tool is easy to customize.
    • Tagul- make word clouds that fit a shape and each word becomes a link to a website.
  • Here is an example of a word cloud that was made in Wordle. It is a simple copy and paste of all the text in “Life in the Mill Villages.” The words that are the largest are the words that appear the most in the text. Use this before reading to have students predict what the section is going to be about based on the words.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 4

        • 4.G.1 Understand how human, environmental and technological factors affect the growth and development of North Carolina. 4.G.1.1 Summarize changes that have occurred in North Carolina since statehood (population growth, transportation, communication and land...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 4

  • Goal 4: The learner will analyze social and political institutions in North Carolina such as government, education, religion, and family and how they structure society, influence behavior, and respond to human needs.
    • Objective 4.01: Assess and evaluate the importance of regional diversity on the development of economic, social, and political institutions in North Carolina.