Immigration Week Lesson One of Six

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SWBAT read, watch, and interact with digital media about immigration in early America. SWBAT complete a Google form sharing details about what they learned, what surprised them, and what they're still wondering about early American immigration.

Big Idea

Our class begins a historical journey through early immigration to America, with a send off from our principal, and interactive media to build background knowledge.

Welcome to My Lesson!

Welcome to a series of lessons about early American immigration!  These lessons are part of a six week unit my district is implementing all about the United States of America, including the people, The Preamble, and the presidents.  This week, we'll work on reading informational text and historical literature to meet the 50/50 ratio of fiction to informational text in the Common Core.  The students take a step back in time, to enjoy a daily update from our principal narrating a historical journey from being an emigrant to becoming an immigrant of the United States.  Please watch this short video to see some highlights of these lessons.  Thank you!

*Please note:  Lessons one and two were taught in the same day.  We used our computer lab time to complete lesson one, and then completed lesson two during our shared reading time.

Immigration clip art in lesson banner, and other documents purchased from MelonHeadz.

Build Immigration Background Knowledge

10 minutes

After polling my students, I see they have little background knowledge about immigration, so to begin the unit, I give them some schema so that they can understand this unit more deeply. We visit our computer lab, where I walk students through links I've provided for them on our classroom webpage.  I set expectations with my students as I show them each link, explaining, they'll need to read each page as well as enjoy the interactive features.  I explain that we'll fill out a Google form at the end of class to show what we've learned.

Video:  We watch the Schoolhouse Rock Video together, "The Great American Melting Pot".  This video explains that America is one big "Melting Pot", or mix of people from different cultures.  There are particular cultures left out of this video, that we'll be sure to discuss later.  We have a short conversation about the heritage of our families.

Virtual Field Trip and Interactive Ellis Island Tour:  Scholastic has many wonderful resources for students, teachers, and parents.  Today, we are visiting their Interactive Tour of Ellis Island, and the Virtual Field Trip to Ellis Island.  I like these particular links for my students because there is a variety of media for them to explore.  It requires them to do some informational reading, but also provides photographs and interactive buttons and activities. 

Other Media Links:  Some other links I show to students are Scholastic Immigrant Stories, Statue of Liberty History Video, and Angel Island Immigration Video.


*It's important to note that I'll check these websites before teaching "Immigration Week" again next year.  New media comes out, that may be better, and sometimes links expire.

Experience Immigration Media

15 minutes

Explore!:  After I've introduced students to the different links I have on my webpage for them, I let them explore for about fifteen minutes.  This amount of time seemed just right.  They didn't get bored, and still seemed to want to explore more!  (See Resource File:  Website Immigration Links Image)

As students are exploring the different immigration links, I walk around the room having conversations with students about things they're learning, things that surprise them, and things they notice from our principal's message this morning.

Review and Celebrate

5 minutes

Review and Celebrate:  To review today, I've created a quick Google form for students to complete.  We are already in the computer lab, and this seemed like the perfect way to have them share something they learned, something that surprised them, and something they're still wondering about.  We celebrate all of our new learning!  (See Resource File:  Immigration Google Form)

Lesson Extras!

Below are some additional resources from this unit of study.  I hope you find these helpful whether you are completing a similar topic, theme, or standards.  Thank you!

Preamble Resources:  As part of our unit, my students had to define and interpret The Preamble to The Constitution.  They had to practice reciting it, and created acrostic poems to show their understanding.  Here are the documents I created to help with these jobs, and a few samples of my student poems from Google Drive.  (See Resource Files:  The Preamble to The Constitution; Understanding The Preamble to The Constitution; The Preamble Acrostic Poem Planning Page; Student Samples 1-4)