Mama is a Miner is an excellent example of
late twentieth-century Appalachian literature. Lyon's book highlights
a once traditional man's role, that of coal mining, being performed
by a woman who is also a mother. The present day story line
captures the attention and heart of the reader. The book will
give students the opportunity to discuss traditional roles of women
versus non-traditional roles. Students will further discuss
how different regions and cultures share some of the same concerns
and problems regarding working roles of men and women.
Grade Level: 6th
Subject: Language Arts
Time Frame: 2 to 3 days, 45 minutes each
- The student will recall prior knowledge in generating
- The student will utilize critical listening skills
in comprehending what is read.
- The student will orally respond to book illustrations,
draw conclusions, and make inferences.
- The student will respond to the story through writing.
- The student will research and explore the origin
Materials: Internet, library
A daughter describes her mother's job working as a miner in the coal
fields of Appalachia.
Before the story is read, a Know, Want to Know,
Learned (KWL) reading strategy activity will occur. Students
will state what they know about the book, brainstorming ideas from
the cover, and then determine what they want to know about the book. After the book has been read, students will discuss what they have
A Words Alive (a comprehensive approach in studying
unfamiliar words) study skills activity will involve the word mining. The student will guess the meaning of the word, look up the meaning
in the dictionary, paraphrase the dictionary meaning, use the word
in a sentence, and determine the prefix or suffix of the word and
the etymology of the word.
The teacher will then read the story while students
actively engage in the listening process.
While the story is being read, the teacher will
show the visual images in order for students to make predictions,
draw conclusions or make inferences.
The students will respond to the reading in the
form of a written journal response. The journal will center
on their thoughts, impressions about the book, or how they would
change the story.
Students will conduct a research project on Appalachian
mining. Students will have access to the Internet, library
and additional resources on the computer. Students will be
formed in small groups, and a visual presentation of their findings
will become a part of an assessment for the group. Students
may use technology, charts, graphs, poster board, etc. to present
their findings on mining.
Students who are curious and seek an additional
challenge may interview someone who has worked in the coal mines
and report on their interview.
Social Studies Integration
– Students can use reproductions
of art, clips from films, drawings, diagrams, and models to report
on the role of mining during the 20th century.
Students will write a two-sentence summary of the
- Oral presentation
- Teacher observation
- Written research report 1 to 2 pages
Additional AppLit Resources:
of AppLit Pages by Genre: Picture Books
AppLit Bibliography of Books by George Ella Lyon
Ella Lyon's web site
Ella Lyon web page (with
photo and background)
Author.com, with pictures and more information on Lyon's
books, her life, and booking author presentations.
Page on George
Ella Lyon by Crystal Black, Virginia Tech Student (no
longer online 4/12/08)
This Page Created 11/05/2001 | Links Checked 02/05/2004 | Top of Page | Site Index | Last Update