Dusting off the history lessons: Huddleston students learn about dust bowl era foods

by | Oct 6, 2017 | Education

Jo Jo Moncier and Samira Perez sample foods from the dust bowl era. (Courtesy photo)

Huddleston language arts teacher Christine Clark showed up for school last week as her alter ego, Dusty, the proprietor and chef of the Dust Bowl Diner. It was her way of delivering the lesson in a way students could understand and remember.

“During the first six weeks, we read a book, ‘Out of the Dust,’ the story of Billie Jo Kelby who lives in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl during the Great Depression,” Clark said. “Throughout the lesson we learn about figurative language, some famous figures from the 1930s and what life was like during this unfortunate time in history.”

To reinforce what they learned, Clark’s classroom became a scene from the 1930s Midwest, when drought conditions and poor farming methods turned the soil into dust that would many times blow like a snowstorm.

“When the students enter the classroom, they are given a menu for the Dust Bowl Diner that contains the food items they will sample,” she said. “Mrs. Clark takes the day off and Miss Dusty, who looks an awful lot like Mrs. Clark with straight hair, stops in to substitute.”

Students then commence with a food tasting session of the goodies, or not so goodies, found in the plains region during the Depression, including crackers and fried Spam.

“Miss Dusty is in charge of making sure the students know how to write a compound sentence, in addition to exposing the students to some of the food choices that were made popular during the 1930s,” Clark said. “Students take a critical look at their food items and rate them using descriptive writing.”

Parents might be surprised to know that a majority of the students were clamoring in line for second helpings when they were called.

“I thought the food was really good,” said 6th-grader Liam Pagano. “This was awesome.”

But Olga Ruiz passed on the chance to get more fried Spam.

“I don’t think so,” Olga said.

To illustrate that refrigeration was not always available and people had to come up with alternative meals, the diner featured ketchup and bread sandwiches.

But the real treat was that Toll House cookies were invented in the 1930s so the Huddleston students were able to sample chocolate chips.

“It is always fun for the students to try and trick Miss Dusty into revealing that she is really Mrs. Clark, and the next day at school the trickery continues,” the teacher said. “Mrs. Clark is back at school and insists she had a wonderful day off and hopes that the students enjoyed their historic substitute.”

By Jean Ann Collins • PISD Communications Coordinator • [email protected]

For more stories like this subscribe to print or online.

0 Comments

Related News

PISD classes start August 12

PISD classes start August 12

With the summer winding down, multiple Princeton track and field athletes have utilized the offseason to improve and compete among their peers. This past weekend, locally-based Fanntastic Sports com­peted in the TAAF state track and field meet in Corpus Christi July...

read more
PISD to offer free lunch

PISD to offer free lunch

Every Princeton ISD stu­dent will have access to free, nutritious meals every school day throughout the 2021-22 school year. A student’s household in­come would typically need to meet eligibility requirements to qualify for free or reduced-price meals. This year,...

read more
Princeton ISD, Collin College partner for CNA

Princeton ISD, Collin College partner for CNA

Princeton nursing students will now have the opportunity to earn college credit for their Certified Nursing Assistant class, thanks to a partnership with Collin College. Princeton High School Ca­reer and Technology Center (CATE) Director Brett Hack­man said that when...

read more
Back to School Bash this Saturday

Back to School Bash this Saturday

Although Princeton students don’t return to the classroom until August 12, they will have the chance to get the supplies they need at the annual Back to School Bash. The event, hosted by the Princeton Chamber of Com­merce, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday,...

read more
PISD school board discusses preliminary budget

PISD school board discusses preliminary budget

After overcoming a series of challenges presented dur­ing the pandemic, the Princ­eton ISD’s proposed budget was up for discussion at the regular school board meeting Tuesday, June 15. With the 2021-22 school year on the horizon, Jona Boitmann, assistant...

read more
PISD funds eight projects

PISD funds eight projects

Princeton ISD awarded funding to eight innovative projects that teachers will implement in their classrooms next fall. Teachers were surprised with the grant announcements during the final school lun­cheon and presented with an oversized check to celebrate the...

read more
District recognizes teachers

District recognizes teachers

Princeton Independent School District celebrated the end of the 2020-21 school year by recognizing teachers and their service to PISD during a special lun­cheon Thursday, May 27. In addition to recognizing long-term employees, Su­perintendent Donald Mc­Intyre first...

read more
Exchange student campaigns to graduate from PISD

Exchange student campaigns to graduate from PISD

As the 2020-21 school year draws to a close, a foreign ex­change student is fighting for something really important to her – the right to walk the stage at graduation. In a school year defined by tough challenges, including the pandemic and the Febru­ary winter storm,...

read more