K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

Important Announcement about Online Courses and LEARN NC.

Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

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Related pages

  • Children at work: Exposing child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas: In this lesson, students will learn about the use of child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They will learn what life was like for a child worker and then write an investigative news report exposing the practice of child labor in the mills, using quotations from oral histories with former child mill workers and photographs of child laborers taken by social reform photographer Lewis Hine.
  • Work and protest, 1920–1934: In response to declining demand in the 1920s, textile mill owners cut wages and demanded longer hours from their workers. Labor unrest increased, and there were widespread strikes from 1929 to 1934.
  • Work in a textile mill: Article describes the various kinds of work in a textile mill, the experiences of millhands in and out of the mills, and what various workers earned.

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The following resources and lesson plans have been provided by the University of North Carolina Libraries. To learn more about this topic, read the Child Labor in the Cotton Mills story from UNC Libraries.

Lesson plans

Children at work: Exposing child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas by Dayna Durbin Gleaves
Grades 8-12 Social Studies
In this lesson, students will learn about the use of child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They will learn what life was like for a child worker and then write an investigative news report exposing the practice of child labor in the mills, using quotations from oral histories with former child mill workers and photographs of child laborers taken by social reform photographer Lewis Hine.
Cotton mills from differing perspectives: Critically analyzing primary documents by Dayna Durbin Gleaves
Grades 9-12 English Language Arts and Social Studies
In this lesson, students will read two primary source documents: a 1909 pamphlet exposing the use of child labor in the cotton mills of North Carolina, and a weekly newsletter published by the mill companies. Students will also listen to oral history excerpts from mill workers to gain a third perspective. In a critical analysis, students will identify the audiences for both documents, speculate on the motivations of their authors, and examine the historical importance of each document.
Labor unions in the cotton mills by Dayna Durbin Gleaves
Grades 9-12 Social Studies
In this lesson, students will learn about the labor union movement in the U.S., specifically the union influence on the cotton mills of North and South Carolina. Students will listen to oral histories from former mill workers explaining why they did or did not become involved with the union and then will be asked to make that decision themselves. They will provide an explanation for their decision by giving a speech to convince their classmates to join or not join, drawing on the oral histories and what they’ve learned.
Take action: Working to stop child labor today
Grades 9-12 Social Studies
In this lesson, students will first learn about child labor in the cotton mills of North and South Carolina from the 1880s through the 1920s by listening to oral histories from former child mill workers. They will then research child labor in today’s world. Students will brainstorm and implement actions to stop child labor around the world, such as educating themselves and others about the issue, letter writing campaigns to governments and companies, and donating to organizations that work to stop child labor.