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#2296. Immigration and Ellis Island

Reading/Writing, level: all
Posted Sat Jun 30 08:07:52 PDT 2001 by leeann story (
PineRun Elementary, New Britain, PA
Materials Required: A collection of immigration stories and compuer access
Activity Time: 1 week
Concepts Taught: reading, writing, history and technology

Within our reading theme of American the students read three stories
which include characters traveling to America and passing through Ellis Island.
All for the Better, Dreaming of America: An Ellis Island Story, and, The Memory Coat.
The students are fascinated by Ellis Island and the following lesson will capitalize
on their interest, allow for the integration of reading and social studies and lead
them through an interesting journey of their own.

Activity 1:In this part of the lesson,pictures and
video clips will be presented to raise the students'
curiousity and provide context by illustrating Ellis
Island. We will examine the pictures, & video clips.
The patriotic music that is playing as we enter the
site should really move and inspire them! . I will click on
and present the history segment of EllisIsland and the processing segment as well.

Web Resources:
I will use 1 class computer and a projection device.
The site I will present is:

Activity 2: In this part of the lesson, I will guide students through new information as I present an introduction, and examples of the content.

First I will present, A People of Hope, by Linda Magnusson which is a powerful, deep and moving introduction to the hopes ,dreams, and hardships of America's immigrants.

Next, I will proceed to presenting a slide show. I will direct the students to watch the emigrants closely and to imagine being in their situation. They should wonder how they feel, what they may be thinking as they carefully watch the expressions on the immigrants faces become real. Throughout the presentation, I will ask the students to share their thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions with us.

Web Resources: I will use the computer in the classroom with a projection deveice. The following are organized site elements: A People of Hope
An Immigration Slide Show

Activity #3 Students investigate and research immigration and Ellis Island. Students will be given 1 of four specific immigrant identitities:
1. Mr. Plato Aristophanes
From: Corinth, Greece
2. Mrs. Gilda Bruun
From: Berlin, Germany
3. Ms. Marina Piatkowski
From: Koszalin, Poland
4. Mrs. Immaculada Sanchez
From: Ecija, Spain

Students will investigate the emigrant and immigrant experiences of the identity assigned. Here, they will come to know their immigrant through journal entries completed while still in their homeland. Through the journals, the reasons for immigration, the hardship of the journey and the experience at Ellis Island will all be revealed.

Web Resources: This site was developed by a middle school history teacher in NY. the work he did with his students on immigration is amazing :)
We will be in the computer lab for this part of the lesson so that each child can investigate their immigrant at their own computer. This is an organized site element- providing information about a historical event as well as a simulation in which immigrants pass through Ellis Island.

Activity 4: Students will be expected to practice and demonstrate their acquired knowledge of the immigrant experience at Ellis Island.
Students will be asked to write a diary entry in the persona of an immigrant coming to the United States. It will describe their arrival to America. In the journal entry the students will need to describe what happened to them when they landed at Ellis Island. Students will be free to create their identities or use one of the characters from the 3 stories we read. (I listed the stories in lesson purpose above) The journal entry will need to include the following information: a description of your first sighting of the statue of liberty, your hopes and dreams- as well as- your fears and worries for your new life in America, a description of the events you experience at Ellis Island, and a prediction for your future in America- will your dreams come true?.

Web resources:
Here I will introduce the students to the rubric and share with them the samples of student work for each level of the rubric. This is an organized site. This will be done in the classroom using 1 computer and the projector device.

Activity 5: Since the immigration game at this site asks questions from the categories of Irish immigrants, Swedish immigrants and Italian immigrants, I will organize the game to played in cooperative groups of 6. Two students will be responsible for reading and knowing the Irish immigration experiences, Two for the Swedish and two for the Italian. Before the game is played the partners will talk about what they've learned about their assigned topic (Irish, Swedish, Italian), they will read the article on their topic in preparation of the game. When all sets of partners have completed their readings and discussions. . . they can play the game. The students will be able to apply all that they've learned from their reading, writing and research of Ellis Island.
The structure of this activity as a collaborative one will help all students to be successful. Although the directions do not include collaboration as a strategy for the try segment of WELES, I believe this is a developmentally appropriate way for my students to conduct this activity.

Web Resources: game
This is an interactive site at which my students can test out their knowledge of the immigrant experience. Students will complete this activity in the computer lab.

Articles can be found here:

Thank you in advance for any feedback you would like to provide. If you decide to use this lesson enjoy your studies of immigration.