these tips to prepare your students to view the program thoughtfully:
Read the summary
of the show to familiarize yourself with its contents.
Ask these questions to begin a discussion of how the economic health
of a community affects the lives of its citizens.
makes our community unique?
has our community changed over the past ten years? Is it thriving? struggling?
growing? losing population? How has the number and type of businesses
changed over the past ten years?
you think our community will be economically healthy in ten years? Why
or why not?
could our community grow economically and still retain its unique character?
3. Inform students that as they view the program, they will visit some
communities that are similar to their own and some that are radically
different. You might suggest that students keep the following questions
in mind as they view the episode:
factors affect the economic health of a community?
can individuals contribute to the economic health of their community?
are some ways in which individuals and businesses can work together
to improve the economy of a town or city?
presents the following segments:
introduces the almost-deserted town of Virginia City, Nevada,
and invites viewers to visit some towns where people were able
to sustain or improve their community’s economic health.
- Viewers meet Al Vento, owner of Vento’s Dairy and Pizza, whose
popular restaurant inspired an outpouring of community support
that saved it from being displaced and shut down by a large chain
Francisco, California - Will
Durst meets Willie Brown, the busy mayor of San Francisco, who
comments on the changing nature of the city’s economy as he rushes
from meeting to meeting.
Washington - Viewers
learn about the revitalization of Seattle’s public school system,
a change brought about by a dynamic superintendent who rallied
community and business support.
to San Francisco segment 16:42–17:28]
Bay, Wisconsin - Viewers
are introduced to the unique spirit of Green Bay, a town whose
identity is wrapped up in its publicly owned football team, the
Green Bay Packers.
- Will takes viewers to the end of the earth, Nome, Alaska. He
flies with a local pilot who shows him the ways in which people
in rural Alaskan communities are dependent on each other, and
on the air link to the outside world which the pilot provides.
Orleans, Louisiana - Viewers
take a trip to this southern city with a high poverty rate, where
the public libraries are becoming more important to the city’s
residents as technology centers as well as book-lending facilities.
to San Francisco segment 32:04–32:43]
Jose, California - Viewers
go deep into the heart of Silicon Valley, where the income gap
between high-tech jobs and low-paying service jobs is creating
divided communities. At a San Jose city council meeting, citizens
debate the passage of a living wage ordinance.
to San Francisco segment 40:13–40:48]
Maryland - Will
takes viewers to a town in which the volunteer fire department
is a central element of the community.
[returns to San Francisco segment 45:19–45:52]
Nebraska - Viewers
find out how this rural Nebraska town is trying innovative ways
to diversify its economy and keep people in the community.
or twice while viewing to have students reflect on what they've seen.
• What kinds
of communities has the program shown so far?
• What attitudes do the citizens interviewed have toward their towns?
• These are positive stories. What other stories might have been told
about the economic health of communities?
• What are some secrets to improving the economic health of a town?
students are confused about anything they’ve seen. Offer them the opportunity
to visit the Livelyhood Web
site and skim the summary of “Our
Towns" after watching the program.
are unfamiliar with certain concepts, they may want to browse Livelyhood’s
Towns” resources section for organizations addressing the issues.
An interesting statistical report,“Trends
Affecting Our Towns,” is also available, providing facts on
how work is changing our cities, towns and rural areas, as well as trends
in civic life and corporate volunteerism.
of resources is available for linking the content of the show to particular
curriculum areas, and helping students apply the content to real-world
situations relevant to their own lives.
Questions: These encourage students to analyze and think critically
about the situations and issues presented in the show.
begin by having students consider again and respond to these questions:
factors affect the economic health of a community?
• How can individuals make contributions to the economic health
of their community?
• What are some ways in which individuals and businesses can
work together to improve the economy of a town or city?
asking questions that will lead students to relate the content of the
program to their own lives.
of the stories told in the program could have been told about our
• Do you think citizens have a responsibility to contribute to
the well-being of our community? What benefits do people gain when
they contribute to their own community’s well-being?
• Which individuals, groups, or companies have contributed positively
to the economic health of our community? How have they done so?
To give students
opportunities to explore these issues actively and creatively, assign
one or more of the cross-curricular activities that follow.
Activities: These offer a variety of projects for individual students
or small groups which extend concepts presented in “Our Towns.” Some
of these activities utilize other features of the Livelyhood
Web site, such as the Lively Poll and the Posting Areas. All
activities are appropriate for students in grades 9–12. Some are suitable
for younger students as well; others are appropriate for adult students.