Grapes of Wrath

By Dana Magenau on Thu, 2/27/2014 at 11:10 am
Picture of member, Dana Magenau

Dana Magenau
Account Executive (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA), SAFARI Montage

Well, it's John Steinbeck's 112th Birthday and I didn't get him anything. I feel kind of bad, but it's hard to know what to get one of America's most famous authors. So, after great deliberation and debate, I've decided on an idea to share. I think he would like that more than an actual gift anyway. It was a few years back that I came across an educator that was trying to get her students inspired to read Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. I admit it's not the easiest read, and made even harder these days with the students accustomed to their glowing digital devices that talk back to you. This teacher turned to SAFARI Montage to help. She decided to build a playlist that offered her students a different approach. A visually compelling kick start to a classic story. Her playlist started with a segment from "Surviving the Dust Bowl from WGBH's American Experience. She then showed images of the landscape from the NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration), followed by the iconic photograph from Dorothea Lange of a woman and her children during the times. Before opening the first page of Steinbeck's story, the students were treated to an audio clip of Steinbeck himself talking about immigration in California during the time he wrote Grapes of Wrath.

Her playlist gave the students a world they had never seen or experienced. It allowed them to see and feel what the characters in the story would go through. It launched their imagination and made it easier for the digital natives to enter the story, and it gave them a chance to meet the storyteller too.

I always love hearing stories like this from amazing educators that are using the wonderful resources we have at our fingertips today to help engage, fascinate and educate our students.

Picture of member, Karen Conen

Karen Conen
SAFARI Montage Content Manager, SAFARI Montage

Thank you for sharing, Dana. What a thoughtful 112th birthday gift. I'm sure Steinbeck would approve!

I, too, am always delighted to hear stories about our content and how it is being utilized in classrooms across the country. This Playlist sure sounds like a winner! Please encourage your customer to share her Playlist on our Playlist Exchange as I'm sure others would love to see what she created.