Great War, Great Depression, and Jazz (1914-1935)

This twenty one year period is packed with important events that have shaped our country today.  Our plan is to spend two weeks covering World War I followed by two weeks covering the Great Depression and recovery from the Great Depression.  We are going to study jazz and particularly Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong throughout the month as well.

We are looking forward to a trip to our NC History Museum to see the World War I exhibit. If you live too far to make that trip, there are still some great resources available on the website. The difference in the military rations from the Civil War to World War I is much more significant than the differences between previous wars. My son will be looking into those differences and how it was shaped by the industrial revolution. We will also look into how the war affected what was being eaten in the United States by civilians. While there was not official rationing of foods there were very directed efforts at food conservation.  We will cover the causes of the war and a basic timeline of American involvement in the war. We will also cover how the war effected the United States.

There are many books that go along with World War I but one of our favorites is Finding Winnie which I will use as a read aloud. We have the book, War, Peace, and All That Jazz to help guide our discussions and aid the children in any research.  One of our favorite movies about World War I is Sergeant York and we plan to have a movie night and watch this movie.

The Great Depression can be a difficult concept for children but we will cover that by explaining for about the stock market and the economics of the situation. We will also talk about some of the ways that people ‘made do or did without’ and how self- sufficiency benefited many with gardens, backyard chickens, etc.


We have just finished up a composer study of John Phillips Sousa and are going to devote that musical appreciation time to learning about jazz artists. We will be focusing on Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong though I will share some music from a few other jazz artists. We will use Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra and from our regular composer study series we will use Duke Ellington (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers).

If you have signed up for our free resource library you can find a six page list of various resources that coordinate with this month’s study as well as a historical overview of the time period. I am looking forward to sharing more about this period as we work our way through it. I am also looking into a couple of new resources that may work well, so stay tuned for those. If you have a favorite book or resource for this time period I’d love for you to share it in the comments.

When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library

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