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A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
SUBJECTS — U.S./1913 - 1929, Diversity & New York;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Alcohol and Drug Abuse;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility; Caring.
Age: 9+; Not Rated; Drama; 1945; 128 minutes; B & W.
The scene is Irish immigrant Brooklyn before the First World War. Katie Nolan's husband is an alcoholic singing bartender who drinks his earnings. They have two children, a daughter and a son. Katie scrubs floors and saves pennies. The film is the story of how this besieged family survives and how the daughter is given an education so that she can have a better life than her parents. The film is poignantly sad but ultimately uplifting.
The novel from which the film was derived is a classic and a traditional favorite beginning at the middle school level. If at all possible, have children read the book before seeing the film.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide helps teachers and parents use A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to show immigrant life in the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century and the ravaging effects of untreated alcoholism on a family struggling to survive.
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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a classic of American literature.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To give you a sense of how the Learning Guide can help teachers develop lesson plans we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.
As of the 2000 Census, some 30.5 million Americans traced their ancestry to Ireland. Descendents of Irish immigrants make up 10.8% of the population. Before 1820, most of the Irish immigrants to the U.S. were Scots-Irish Presbyterians from Ulster. Five million immigrants from Ireland came to the U.S. after 1820, three quarters of them Catholic. More than one million Irish people emigrated from Ireland to the U.S. to avoid the effects of the Great Potato Famine of 1845 - 1850. Most of the Irish immigrants were unskilled and poorly educated. They were subject to widespread discrimination. However, by the late 19th century, many Irish immigrants and their children had become skilled workers and their wealth and influence increased.
The Learning Guide to the film A Tree Grows In Brooklyn contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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