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In the Classroom: Triple Deckers Encourage Community

Use this story with students in grades 6-9 to learn about the history of this common type of housing in New England. Then use the questions below to spark discussion.

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Story Synopsis

In New England, the "triple decker" is a three-story apartment building, usually of wood-frame construction, with each floor consisting of one apartment. 

These apartments are often rented, and at one time gave multicultural tenants a way to step up into the American Dream. The closeness of living together in a triple decker encouraged connections and community, especially for new immigrants. Listen to hear about the history of this type of housing and what it represents.

Use with grades 6-9

Common Core State Standards CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.3: Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

Listening Comprehension Questions Assign these questions to your students or answer them together in a group.

  1. Describe a triple decker building.
  2. What are the benefits of living in a triple-decker, according to this story?
  3. Why does Levitt talk about this type of building as a metaphor?
  4. How do the buildings in a neighborhood encourage community?

Discussion Themes Use these questions to get students thinking at the beginning of class. They can use evidence from the story to support their ideas during a class discussion.

  1. What are the reasons you would or would not want to see this documentary?
  2. What do you think makes a house a home?

More Resources

In the Classroom: Triple Deckers Encourage Community
In the Classroom: Triple Deckers Encourage Community
In the Classroom: Triple Deckers Encourage Community
In the Classroom: Triple Deckers Encourage Community