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Immigration Unit Activities

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These are lessons that focus on immigration to the United States.
Immigration Unit
Posted by:Julie #29745

Kay -

I do an immigration unit with my fourth graders and it's always a big hit w/ lots of learning! Here's the basics - if you want more info, just let me know!
We start with reasons for immigration, move to their family history, find out where roots are from, they become an immigrant from that country. Students receive "passports" that act as journals for their voyage. They discuss why they are leaving their country, what they are taking, do a little research on their country, too. Then they board the "ship" and have either first, second, or steerage tickets. We have situations arise on the ship that they respond to in the journals. We then hit Ellis Island (I have some videos, books that tell about the experience.) Then we create a "Mock Ellis Island" and they go through the health checks,etc. Students...

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Posted by:Laurie #37134

I just finished a unit on Immigration. I used the book "Where Did Your Family Come from?" by Melvin and Gilda Berger. The book talks about immigration and then has four stories about boys and girls who have come to the U.S. for differnt reasons. I made a chart with the following headings: Name, Country they are from, What they came to the U.S., How they came to the U.S.(transportation), Hardships/problems they had, and Things they learned to do/overcome. The children loved it and then I had them pick one character and write a Journal entry as if they were that character.

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Posted by:Linda #96795

One activity my students like in 5th is that I tell them they are going to another country and give each one of them a large brown bag. I instruct them that they cannot bring anything with them that will not fit into the bag. They are to go home and decide what possessions they would like to take. I also discuss the weather for the trip, the time frame, etc. I then tape off a section of floor about 3 x 5 ft. and tell them that it is the section for them and their belongings. They may not put any of their stuff in the other squares. It gets quite confusing and noisy but they do realize that the immigrants had it rough on ships. This is just a quick overview and I am sure you can improve upon it.

I also have a majority of students in my class...

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I Was Dreaming to Come to America
Posted by:Rosemary #91277

I created a unit when I was a student teacher in fifth grade. I used the book I Was Dreaming to Come to America which is the story of children who came through Ellis Island and was created as part of the Ellis Island oral history project. Then I had the kids interview their families about their own immigration history. Some of my students went on the Ellis Island website where you can look up the manifests from the ships that came through Ellis Island and actually found entries for their ancestors. Then I created a fake diary entry form on the computer, printed it out, burned the edges to make it look old and had the kids imagine they had traveled to the United States with the relatives who had immigrated to the US. They created a diary entry that answered these questions: What...

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immigration idea
Posted by:tracethree #134123

I am about to begin a unit on immigration and was considering have the students assemble scrapbooks. They could do this in groups or individually. They would make a scrapbook of an imaginary family that immigated to the US. The scrapbook could include photos, letter, journal entries, maps, travel tickets and other items (obviously they would make, draw or cut from magzines or the internet these items). I got this idea from the latest Houghton Mifflin SS series.

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Posted by:Carolina Girl #134125

I have had students interview someone from another country asking questions such as: What is your home country? In what year did you come to the United States? What caused you to come here? What is the native language of your home country? What is your most favorite food from your country? What food(s) have you tried and come to enjoy in the States? How is the way you dress different than in America? What is one memory of your homeland that you treasure? Do you have anything you would like to say to students in my class about your experience since you came?

Along with the interview, students purchase a wooden long-handled spoon or get a free paint stick that they then dress up as someone from the country of the person who they interviewed.

These reports and dolls (much like Molly's...

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Theatrical Presentation
Posted by:SFteacher #134126

How about having students research a relative who emigrated to America and on a designated day have them dress up as that relative and give a 2-3 minute presentation.

Also, in my class we do something called Heritage Dolls, it's a paper version of this idea. The students receive a blackline master of a doll (can fit on an 81/2 x 11 paper). They take this home and have mom/dad help them trace it on cardboard. They dress their doll to represent the country (i.e. Germany = liederhosen) and fill in a two page handout that we give. On the handout are questions

1. Which ancestor did you choose?

2. Discuss what they're wearing and tell more about this person.

It's simple but informative. Once the class presents they I post the dolls around a world map ($10 at the local teacher store) and it turns out...

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Letter to their family
Posted by:Sandy #134127

I play Neil Diamond's song "Coming to America" for the students and print out the lyrics so they can follow along. Then we discuss what the song is about and how the people must have felt leaving their homes and coming to a world of the unknown.

After my students have learned more about immigrating to America and what it was like, I wrap up my unit by having them write a letter to a "family member" that they left back in their home country. I have them describe the process that they went through upon arrival to America and what the voyage was like. Some of the students were so creative.

Hope this helps.


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immigration unit
Posted by:trexteach #134128

I teach fifth graders. We do activities like the following:

A simulation of being an immigrant coming to Ellis Island right off the ship. Each student plays a role (ex. doctor at the bottom of the long set of stairs, doctor who checks the eyes, doctor who checks for lice, one of the hospital workers, immigrants from various countries, interpreters for different languages, guards, money exchanger, and the question station workers (I don't remember the exact job title!) who asks a variety of questions to each immigrant such as "Do you have any money? Do you have a job ready for you? Why have you come here? Where will you live?" etc. The students really "get into" this. Each is given a role card at the beginning of the simulation that gives them suggestions on how to act and what to do/say. They do a lot of ad-libbing (sp?) which is neat...

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ideas for immigration
Posted by:trexteach #134129

1) We intro our immigration unit by giving groups of 4 all the same craft-like materials: ex. glue sticks, popsicle sticks, plastic cups, index cards, staplers, tape, string, construction paper, foil, stickers, etc. Really, anything could be used as long as each group has the same size, shape, color, and number of objects.
The task:Each group is given about 20 min. to create a "creature". They may use any of the materials provided. The catch is, they are absolutely forbidden to speak to one another in words or writing. Gestures and facial expressions are okay, but no other communication.
The result: When time's up, each group is given time to display their version of a "creature" and explain the pros and cons of working in a group that couldn't communicate in words or written responses. The general consensus is that it was very...

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