Student Work

Social Security: Think Aloud 2

Watch Lori read intertextually.

In this clip, we see Lori make connections between the poster and the NAACP document. In response to reading the Social Security poster, she generates a question and reading the subsequent NAACP document helps her learn more about that question.

Lori reads the Social Security poster and notes that it specifically excludes those in agriculture, domestic service, and government work. She wonders why “you wouldn’t get [social security] if you were in agriculture or in domestic service or in the government”—something about that “seems weird” to Lori.

But Lori doesn’t immediately hypothesize about this “weird” provision, she poses the question and then leaves it alone. By generating this question and withholding judgment, Lori is prepared when information relevant to this exclusionary provision appears in the NAACP document. She is reminded of her earlier question and says, “Now that makes it more interesting because I was asking, you know, why should agriculture or domestic service and government work [be excluded]?” Lori learns from the document that most African Americans were working in either agriculture or domestic service in the 1930s, and that the “weird” provision effectively excluded most African American workers from Social Security.

Lori has read intertextually, however, investigating how this exclusionary aspect of the Social Security Act relates to the New Deal was harder for Lori. As students work through the documents, they will need reminders to consider not only what they learn about the Social Security Act from the documents, but also how this relates to the New Deal more generally. Asking questions like, how does this compare to other New Deal legislation? How does this relate to what you know about the New Deal? can help students consider Social Security as a case study of the New Deal and answer the central inquiry question.