Adapt the following suggestions for emphasis while viewing the program or create your own activities, suggestions, and areas of focus. Remember to stop or pause, back up and review, and take time to replay the video to enhance the learning experience.
DESCRIBE a typical day and year in the small towns shown in the video program: Gardiner, Wasco, Joseph, Dundee, Fossil, and Shaniko. How has life changed in these towns in the last 100 years?
ELABORATE on Wheeler Judge Jeanne Burch's comments from the video: Small towns today "are in a predicament. There's no question about it … we have to reinvent ourselves."
ANALYZE a map of Oregon and locate small towns that have succeeded, and those that are still facing challenges to their survival. What generalizations can you make about factors that affect the future of small towns in Oregon?
DISCUSS the evidence presented in the video to support the idea that residents in small towns are "concerned about change" and generally "fear it." Do you agree or disagree with this idea?
COMPARE the stories of each of the small towns in the video. What factors caused each of the small towns to be created? What events occurred that caused each of the small towns to disappear or change? Do you think that these towns should have been able to foresee their futures? Why or why not?
REVIEW the development of the transportation infrastructure and how it has affected small towns in Oregon from the early days to the present. Track technological innovations while watching the video and discuss their impact on small towns.
DISCUSS the effect of Oregon's current involvement in tourism on small towns.
READ or watch the movie of the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. What do you think is the message of the play? In what ways is the play an accurate depiction of life in small towns in Oregon today? In what ways is it inaccurate?
THINK about the daily life of students who live in and attend school in a small town. What are the benefits and challenges of being a student in a small town? How would it feel to know "everybody's name at the school and… more about them than they want me to know"?
REVIEW the economic history of the town of Gardiner. Why has it become "one of the last economically depressed areas on the coast?" Contrast the current economic status of Gardiner with that of Joseph, Oregon. How is each town facing the challenges of change?
DESCRIBE the kinds of connections that are made in a small town when several generations have lived there - sometimes doing the same work and living in the same home - for over 100 years. Consider your own ties to where you live. In what ways do you feel connected? In what ways can and do you foster your relationship to the land, water, other organisms, and features of your community?
SURVEY the students in your class or school to find out how long they and their families have lived in your community. What attracted them to come or keeps them in your community?
DISCUSS the idea of a "utopia." If you could design an ideal community, what would it be like? What natural, government, economic, and social institutions and values would you like your utopia to have? To what extent are they already present in your existing community? What would make it better?
DEBATE this statement by the philosopher Aristotle: "Men come together in cities to live. They remain to live the good life."
RESEARCH the percentage of Oregonians and Americans currently living in cities, suburbs, small cities and towns, rural non-farms, and on farms and compare these statistics with 50, 100, and 150 years ago. What conclusions can you draw from this data? What predictions can you make about where Oregonians will be living 50 years from now?
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