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Lesson Plan: Immigration Status Privilege Walk

In this Common-Core aligned lesson plan, students will randomly be assigned an immigration status:  "citizen", "lawful permanent resident", "undocumented", or “DACA recipient.” After a brief discussion of what the terms mean, students will take a step backwards or forwards in response to a series of stated ‘benefits’ and ‘limitations’ conferred by the assigned fictional immigration status. Students will then discuss what it felt like to be moving backwards or forwards as well as how these barriers affect all groups.

Extensions and adaptations provided for learners at multiple levels.

Year Released: 2015

9-12

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Building Diverse and Inclusive School Communities

Author: Eileen Gale Kugler

Told in a series of well-researched, first-person narratives, Eileen Gale Kugler’s book, Innovative Voices in Education: Engaging Diverse Communities, stands out for its honest and multi-layered approach to building diverse and inclusive school communities. Read more...

Year Released: 2015

Winners of the 18th Annual 'Celebrate America' Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest

Released on Mon, May 11, 2015

Washington D.C. - The American Immigration Council is pleased to announce that the first place winner of the American Immigration Council’s 18th Annual 'Celebrate America' Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest is Anya Frazer from the Fred A. Olds Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Anya’s poem was chosen from among thousands of entries nationwide. Her poem describes a mixture of emotions: hope, tension, and sadness that can accompany an immigrant’s journey to the U.S.  Anya writes in her poem:

On each ship,

A flicker of hope,

A flash blinding my endless waters,

But then it’s gone.

Like a burnt out fire,

Trying to reignite.

But as they catch sight of the golden land,

That fire begins to glow.

It spreads out wide like a seed to soil,

Its timid shoots poking out of the ground.

Promise.
Read more...

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Community Education Center Holds Tweet Chat

Published on Thu, May 07, 2015

In this tweet chat, English teachers discussed the benefits of telling digital stories on immigration to build community and empathy inside and outside of the classroom while being culturally sensitive to student backgrounds and needs.  Our Crossing Borders with Digital Storytelling lesson plan as well as several mentor texts were cited as helpful resources.

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Book Review: Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ullnich

Graphic novels are not just for students. Although the genre tends to appeal to a younger audience, some authors such as Anya Ullnich, who writes for an older audience, uses the genre in order to literally illustrate the complexity of her personal immigration story.

Read more...

Year Released: 2015

Interpreting the Impact of Cesar Chavez’s Early Years

In this immigration lesson plan, students will understand how Cesar Chavez’s adolescence as a migrant farm worker influenced his later achievements.  First, students will analyze how an artist and biographer have interpreted Chavez’s legacy.  Then by reading excerpts from Chavez’s autobiography, students will draw connections between how his early years shaped his later beliefs and achievements around organized labor, social justice, and humane treatment of individuals. Once students have read and critically thought about these connections, they will write a response supported with evidence from the text to answer the investigative question on the impact of Chavez’s early years and development.

Extensions and adaptations are available for English Language Learners and readers at multiple levels.

For lesson procedures, Common Core and C3 standards alignment, please click here

Year Released: 2015

6-8 and 9-12

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From Writing the Page to Pressing Play: More Tips on Teaching Digital Stories on Immigration

This article completes a two-part series dedicated to the art of teaching the digital story on immigration to build writing and research skills while engendering empathy and engagement. 

These practical insights come largely from middle school teacher Brian Kelley who regularly incorporates digital storytelling and podcasting on family heritage and immigration into his curriculum. The American Immigration Council’s teacher’s guide “Crossing Borders with Digital Storytelling” complements these tips. It provides educators with easy instructions to develop similar projects in their classrooms. It is Common Core aligned and adaptable for multiple grade levels. Read more...

Year Released: 2015

Digital Learning on Immigration: Quick Lessons for Students by Students

A guide for educators to seamlessly integrate engaging multimedia content on immigration from the films produced by young adults (14-25) for the American Immigration Council’s “Change in Motion” contest.

How can I use this guide? Teach digital learning day (#DLDay) any day of the week with relevant content!   No more than five minutes in length, these films inspire dialogue, critical thinking and creative teaching on immigration. 

The tools in this guide include Common-Core aligned questions that can be used as warm-ups, homework, extra credit, advisories, in-between time during standardized testing days, full lessons, etc. in order to provide students with real-world accounts on the impact of immigration today.

Additional activities are provided to extend learning and explore themes and topics covered in the individual films, as well as a prompt to make connections to primary texts via political cartoons.

Teachers have to flexibility to adapt the guide to best meet classroom needs.

How can I extend the conversation beyond the classroom?  Participate in short commentary via Twitter using the hashtag #DLDay and our handle @ThnkImmigration for longer conversations via Today’s Meet (classroom name: TeachImmigration), a free educational tool that enables discussions and empowers students.Read more...

Year Released: 2015

Students Read and Review Shaun Tan’s The Arrival

Author: Shaun Tan

Reviewed by: Owen Bouchard, Tyler Garry, Alia Higgins and Julia Semmel
Joseph A. DePaolo Middle School, Southington, CT

A number of people have never been to another country. They don’t know what it is like to be an immigrant; however, if they read Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, the readers would have a better understanding of the troubles that people go through. The immigrant protagonist in the story leaves his family behind to start a new life. This story helps the reader relate to the sorrow, longing, and unfamiliarity that many immigrants experience. 

Tan’s abstract art conveys a difference between old and new. The fanciful and bright details in the artist’s depiction of a new, more advanced country is relatable for any reader who has experienced awe of their surroundings. There is plenty more to this story than simply the journey and acclimation of the character, such as: the emotions of his departure, the loss of his family, and the wonders of a new world. Further, the story is all told through black and white pictures.

Tan’s story starts with a simple family: a husband, wife, and young girl in a gloomy and melancholy environment. They are seen packing to leave. Whilst they walk down the street, reptilian spines snake their way in between uniform rows of drab, dreary houses. Later, the husband gets on a train after a seemingly painful farewell.Read more...

Year Released: 2015

8 Tips for Teaching How to Write a Digital Story on Immigration

This is part one of a series dedicated to the art of teaching the digital story on immigration. The second part is accessible here. Digital storytelling about immigrant heritage is a way to access a shared past and present, however distinct the individual stories are, develop reading and writing skills, and most importantly, build empathy while thoroughly engaging students. It can, however, be challenging to teach for a number of reasons: 1) uncertainty in the writing process when there may be unknown variables in immigration experiences 2) fears of technology 3) relevancy within what may be a restrictive curriculum.

The American Immigration Council’s “Crossing Borders with Digital Storytelling” is a comprehensive guide adaptable for any grade level and aligned to Common Core, but best practice often involves learning from other teachers to improve.  Middle school teacher Brian Kelley has been developing family heritage podcasting and digital storytelling with his students for several years and has shared some of his methods for working with students in writing about their immigration journeys.  His tips connect well with our curriculum.Read more...

Year Released: 2015

9-12+

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