Dear Olive: Communication Then and Now: A 9th - 10th grade lesson plan
In the early 1910s, no American citizen owned a cell phone, a video game, or a computer. There were no such things as email, digital cameras, instant messaging, blogs, Flickr, MySpace, or Facebook. Instead, people communicated through other technology, such as handwritten letters and telegrams. In this lesson, students will identify the different means that Henty used to communicate with others in the 1910s and compare both those means and her language with the communication technology and language we use today.
- Reflecting on formal and informal English
- Understanding language and style
- Consideration of audience and purpose
- Analysis of media
- Identifying, analyzing, and applying language in historical methods of communication
One class period (plus additional time for writing at home)
Classroom Setup and Materials
- Computer/Projector (class could take place in library or computer lab, if available)
- Search or browse this scrapbook for the different means Olive Henty used to communicate with people.
- What do you find?
- How many different methods of communication do you find? (There should be at least four.)
- What traits characterize each method?
- What particular purpose does each method appear to serve? (Quick messages? More lengthy and thoughtful exchanges?)
- Do language, formality, tone, or style vary with different technology? How so?
- Do you use different methods of communication for different purposes? Why? How does your language vary?
- Are we less formal? More formal? Is the content similar? Share your findings with the class.