To begin, students read the article “Jessica is an Immigrant,” a personal narrative that is accessible for students, contemporary and relatable. The article is followed by the book, “How Many Days to America? A Thanksgiving Story,” that takes students back in time and introduces challenges of immigrants long ago. This is a great story for encouraging curiosity and generating wonderings for comparison to contemporary experiences that are included in other narratives. The next article, “Relive a Boy’s Journey to America,” explores immigration in greater depth with a personal narrative, followed by a short Youtube video, “Forgotten Ellis Island, The Trailer 1,” describing the experiences of immigrants who were ill when they arrived and had to stay at the hospital. The next resource from Scholastic online provides immigration data along with questions for students. The video “The Great American Melting Pot,” (Schoolhouse Rock) engages students’ interest through cartoon and song, and introduces them to the idea of the U.S. as a population of people from all over the world as well as the concept of a “melting pot.” The following resource is an article from Readworks that provides information about the history of immigration into the U.S. and introduces Ellis Island as a main entry point. This is followed by a short video, “Coming to America: New York’s Immigrants” that reinforces the vocabulary and ideas from the previous article. Students then listen to personal accounts and anecdotes of immigrants adjusting to life in America. Next, students visit Tenement.org to experience life as an immigrant by selecting from provided options to create their own immigrant story. Finally, students read the short chapter book “My Name is Maria Isabel” about an immigrant girl who had to change her name and her experiences in an American classroom.
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