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Part 1: Self Check-In: Understanding My Own Knowledge Base

(20–30 minutes)

If you did not teach any of the Jewish Time Jump: New York lessons or play the game, feel free to skip to the second part of this lesson plan. If you did teach other Jewish Time Jump: New York lesson plans, or play the game, begin by re-capping the main points of the game and lessons as a class, including:

  1. Many Jews immigrated to the United States looking for a better life despite the fact that living and working conditions in New York at the beginning of the 20th century were very difficult and often dangerous.
  2. Garment workers found comfort and community through their coworkers and labor unions. Organizing into unions was a central tool workers used to fight for better pay and working conditions.
  3. Many factory owners had immigrated to the United States earlier than their workers, giving these owners the opportunity to save money and build their own businesses. In this way, factory owners achieved a lifestyle and place in society to which many garment workers aspired.
  4. While factory owners may have had a much better standard of living than those they employed, the creation of unions and strikes created challenges and problems for factory owners who were trying to keep their businesses afloat amidst tight competition and rising costs of labor.
  5. Traditional Jewish texts can give us new insights into historic events related to labor issues as well as into our own lives today.

After the discussion, direct students to complete the Self Check-in Worksheet individually.

Alternative Methods for the “Understanding My Knowledge Base” Check-In Activity

Method 1: World Café

For a more interactive introduction, use the following activity instead of a group discussion or recap. This method may take longer than the activity described above.

  1. Label four whiteboards or large pieces of paper with the following prompts:
    1. What have you learned about workers and unions?
    2. What have you learned about factory owners, businesses, and unions?
    3. What does Judaism say about how workers and employers should act?
    4. How do you think labor issues of the past relate to our world today?
  2. Ask students to write down responses to each question on the piece of paper. Students may write as many things as they want, as well as draw pictures. Each student must write at least one thing on each paper.
  3. When students have finished responding, ask them to spend a few minutes looking at each paper.
  4. End by coming together and asking students to each share one thing that they felt was most important or surprising about what they have learned so far.

Method 2: Word Web

Use the following activity for a large- or small-group alternative to the self check-in.

  1. Draw an oval on a whiteboard or large piece of paper. From that oval, draw four lines connecting to four more ovals, leaving plenty of room between them. (For an example, and for small groups, feel free to print this handout on 8.5x11” paper.) Each oval should contain one of the following prompts:
    1. Middle oval: What do we know and think about labor and justice?
    2. Outside ovals: Jewish ideas, labor history, modern labor issues, the role of consumers
  2. As a large group or in small groups of 3–6, choose one or two students to scribe.
  3. Brainstorm and list as many ideas as possible, adding smaller circles off of each oval, forming a web of ideas that captures what students know about the topics at hand.
  4. If necessary, ask questions and prompt students to elicit some of the main ideas or important themes you would like to emphasize.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Part 1: Self Check-In: Understanding My Own Knowledge Base." (Viewed on December 10, 2017) <https://jwa.org/node/22248>.

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