Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Progressivism, Organized Labor, and Oklahoma's Constitution

The Progressive Era in Oklahoma

Sarah Brewer, Adam Yeargin | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center

Summary

After analyzing primary and secondary sources, students will describe the impact of the progressive and labor movements on the creation and ratification of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma. Then, to extend their learning, students will view a video interview with AFL-CIO President Jimmy Curry and collaborate to explain how labor organizations advocate for workers' rights, both historically and currently. By the end of this lesson, students will be able to describe the progressive and labor movements and explain how those movements influenced the creation of Oklahoma's constitution.

Essential Question(s)

How do citizens, individually or collectively, influence government structure and policy? Should governments regulate businesses to protect the rights of workers? 

Snapshot

Engage

Students read "The Shawnee Demands," a primary source, and make a prediction about what the demands have in common.

Explore

In groups, students read and analyze "The Progressive Era in Oklahoma" using the Window Notes strategy.

Explain

Students return to "The Shawnee Demands" and explain how specific demands represent the broader values and goals of the progressive and labor movements.

Extend

Students watch a video interview with the president of the Oklahoma AFL-CIO and identify the Point of Most Significance from the video to discuss.

Evaluate

The Window Notes Chart from the Explore section and The Progressive Movement's Influence on Oklahoma's Constitution Chart from the Explain section serve as assessments for this lesson.

Materials

  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Progressive Influence on Oklahoma's Constitution (attached; one per student)

  • Progressive Influence on Oklahoma's Constitution (Answer Key)

  • The Progressive Era in Oklahoma (attached; one per student)

  • The Shawnee Demands (attached; one per student)

  • Window Notes (attached; one per student)

  • Window Notes (Answer Key)

  • Sticky notes (one per student)

  • Internet access

Engage

Divide students into small groups of 3–4. Display the attached Lesson Slides, beginning with slide 3. Distribute a copy of the attached The Shawnee Demands handout to each student. Tell students this is a primary source document prepared in 1906 and related to Oklahoma history, but do not give students any other context. Ask students to read through the list of demands with their groups. Next, working with their groups, ask students to make a statement that hypothesizes about what these statements have in common. Specifically, referencing slide 3, ask students to respond to the question: What do the "demands" on this list have in common? Encourage students to highlight specific statements that serve as evidence to support their hypotheses. After students have been given 5–10 minutes to create these hypothesis statements, call on each group to share their response with the whole class.

After you field responses from each group, explain to students that The Shawnee Demands made up a document put together by a group of Oklahomans prior to statehood in an attempt to influence how the new constitution would be structured and how that structure would impact citizens as well as corporations. Then, move to slide 4. Explain to students that, as they move forward with the lesson, they are going to explore the context in which The Shawnee Demands were written and explore why citizens advocated for structuring the state government to protect the rights of workers and place more power directly with the people. More generally, referencing the essential questions on the slides, ask students to think about these questions throughout the lesson: How do citizens, individually or collectively, influence government structure and policy? Should governments regulate businesses to protect the rights of workers and consumers? Move to slide 5 to briefly note the learning objectives for the lesson.

Explore

Display slide 6. Pass out a copy of the attached The Progressive Era in Oklahoma article to each student, along with a copy of the attached Window Notes chart. Ask students to look over the four prompts in the Window Notes Chart and keep them in mind as they read The Progressive Era in Oklahoma article. Once students have read over the four prompts, they should read the article with their groups. Once students have finished reading, invite them to work with their groups to complete the Window Notes Chart, following the Window Notes strategy. While it is suggested that students respond in 2–3 complete sentences to each prompt, this can be modified to suit the needs of the class. However, expectations for each response should be communicated to the students (e.g., bullet points, complete sentences, number of sentences). After students have completed the chart, call on different groups to share their answers for the different prompts. As student groups share, be sure to correct, clarify, and add any missing information. See the attached Window Notes (Teacher's Guide) for sample student answers.

Explain

Display slide 7. Direct students back to The Shawnee Demands and pass out a copy of the attached Progressive Influence on Oklahoma's Constitution chart. Emphasize that The Shawnee Demands was the document written by representatives from the major labor unions in an ultimately successful effort to influence the structure of Oklahoma's constitution. Invite students to demonstrate their understanding of how the progressive movement shaped the structure of Oklahoma's constitution. Tell students that the chart contains several of the provisions from The Shawnee Demands that were incorporated into Oklahoma's constitution. Invite students to reference their Window Notes and, working with their groups, choose three of the provisions listed, and explain how each reflects the goals of the progressive movement. It is suggested that student responses be 2–3 complete sentences.

Once students have finished their charts, ask each group to choose one of their responses to share with the whole class. As student groups share, be sure to correct, clarify, and add any missing information. See the attached Progressive Influence on Oklahoma's Constitution (Answer Key) for sample student answers.

Extend

Continue to slide 8. Invite students to watch a video interview with Oklahoma State AFL-CIO President, Jimmy Curry. AFL–CIO stands for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. Explain to students that, in the video, Mr. Curry discusses the creation of Oklahoma's labor unions during the Progressive Era, the general influence of labor organizations, and how labor organizations have worked throughout history to protect workers and limit the power of large corporations.

Hand each student a sticky note and ask them to consider as they view the upcoming video what they think is its most significant point. Then, invite students to watch the video via the video link, the link on slide 8, or the embedded version of the video below.

After viewing the video, give students 3–4 minutes to write down their significant takeaway per the POMS: Point of Most Significance learning strategy. Once everyone has finished, ask students to share their POMS within their groups. Then, call on each group to share one of their POMS with the whole class.

Display slide 9. As a follow-up, ask students, based on what they have learned in this lesson and given any other outside knowledge they have: How do citizens, individually or collectively, influence government structure and policy? Should governments regulate businesses to protect the rights of workers? Give student groups 3–4 minutes to discuss in small groups, and then ask groups to share out their answers. Remind students that there is not a right answer, but they need to support their answers with evidence and reasoning.

Conclude the discussion by noting that many of the protections we take for granted upon entering the workforce exist only because those who came before us fought for those rights to be secured through the creation of new laws. The influence the labor and progressive movements had on Oklahoma's constitution is an example of this.

Evaluate

The Window Notes Chart from the Explore section and The Progressive Movement's Influence on Oklahoma's Constitution Chart from the Explain section serve as assessments for this lesson.

Resources