NOTE: Additonal lessons on this novel are available. They are: Out of the Dust 2, Out of the Dust 3, and Out of the Dust 4.
Students should have previously studied similies, metaphors, personification and onomatopoeia.
Introduce the novel by going to the following Internet sites. Karen Hesse
This site has an introduction about the author and then the author reads some selections from the novel.
This site deals with Woody Guthrie and his song about the dustbowl.
History of the Dust Bowl
This is an excellent site for background about the time period and the setting.
1. Introduce the novel and its unique characteristics: journal entries, poetic format, sensory language, time period and viewpoint.
2. Review figurative languages terms and examples. Include similes, metaphors, personification, alliteration, and onomatophoeia. List these on the board and give an example of each.
3. Read the novel’s first entry (pgs 3-5) silently, then aloud. Initiate a discussion as to the image created in their minds about the person who is writing this.
4. Use lines from the novel's first entry (pgs. 3-5) as examples of some of the figurative language terms discussed.
5. Ask students to list 5 events from their lives-large or small, important or interesting to them. (example: loss of first tooth, first music lesson, the day we moved, when I scored the homerun, etc.) After they list the 5 events, tell them that they will be creating a poem with this information and they should be specific with the events.
6. Share the criteria for assessing the poem with students at this time.
A. Poem includes 5 events from writer’s life.
B. Poem has at least 3 examples of figurative language.
C. Poem includes sensory language to evoke a visual image of the events in the minds of the readers.
D. Poem creates a “picture” of its author that is recognizable to the readers.
7. Have students create their poetry. Poetry doesn't have to rhyme and some students may want to use the format from the novel.
Read the interview and then scroll down to the very bottom and choose Into the Classroom for additional information.American Roots Music
Excellent information on Karen Hesse and her booksKaren Hesse
Web supplement for Out of the Dust IThe American Experience