Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Alternate Activity 1: Animal Labor Strike - Click, Clack, Moo!

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • The picture book Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin ( New York : Simon and Schuster, 2000)

Description of Activity

The book, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type, is written for younger children, but provides a jumping-off point to discuss the labor strike as a tool to make working conditions more fair. On the Ohio Employer's Law Blog, Jon Hyman writes:

Farmer Brown's cows and hens decide that they need electric blankets to keep warm at night in the barn. They deliver their demand to Farmer Brown on notes typed by the cows on a typewriter. When Farmer Brown refuses their demands, they go on strike, withholding milk and eggs. Ultimately, in a deal brokered by the duck, Farmer Brown agrees to accept the cows' typewriter in exchange for electric blankets. The labor dispute ends, and the cows and hens go back to producing milk and eggs. The deal backfires on Farmer Brown, though, as Duck absconds with the typewriter and leverages it into a diving board for the pond.

Read the story aloud to the group. Lead them to analyze:

  • Why were the cows and hens dissatisfied?
  • How was their dignity of work compromised?
  • What method did they choose to speak out? Why was their effort successful?

Including All Participants

You may, for your own reasons, wish to use this activity to speak up for working animals. Be mindful, the group may include children from vegan households or whose parents are activists for humane treatment of farm animals. Tell the children Click, Clack, Moo! points out, in a silly way, that farm animals are, in fact, workers that do not have a voice about their working conditions.