Introduction to Immigration
- Grade level: Middle/Upper Elementary, High School
- Subject Area: Social Studies and Language Arts
Students read and discuss selected library resources (see below) about children and immigration. Children develop an understanding of the concept of immigration and reasons why people immigrate.
- Students will use library resources to gather information about immigration.
- Students will synthesize their findings through whole group discussion.
Given library resources students will:
- Learn about some of the reasons people have and do immigrate to this country.
- Come to understand what the journey is and has been like for people how immigrate to this country.
- Hear and understand the experience of immigrants from the immigrant's perspective.
- Learn about some of the historical trends that have occurred in patterns of immigration to America.
Materials and Resources Needed
Books for children from our list of resources on immigration (see below).
- You may choose to have students either read with partners or alone or read to the class as a whole group.
- After students have been exposed to a variety of resources on immigration, ask students to engage in discussions in small groups about what they learned about immigration-- why people immigrated, where people came from at different times, what their journeys to this country have been like, and what how they felt about their lives in a new land. with partners or alone or read to the class as a whole group.
- Reconvene as a whole group and have the class brainstorm a list of concepts that they learned about immigration. You may choose to record the class' findings in a KWL chart.
These are some examples of resources on immigration available for use with students. The list is by no means exhaustive, but is intended to serve as a starting point for your search for books. Encycolpedias, both paper and CD-ROM, also are fine places for children to look for information on immigration. Each resource in our list has a brief description as well as a range of grades for which it is most appropriate.
Sam Ellis's Island, by B. Siegel4-6 graders, an historical chronicle of Ellis Island in its different incarnations. Chapters 5 and onward describe the waves of immigration that our nation experienced. Some discussion of American citizens' opposition to immigration.
They Sought a New World, by W. Kurlek and M. Englehart3-7 graders, A discussion of European immigration to North America, with an emphasis on Canadian immigrants. Great illustrations and primary sources quotes.
Ellis Island: Gateway to the World, by L. E. Fisher5-7 graders, A description of the passage through Ellis Island, wonderfully illustrated with many historical photographs.
New Kids on the Block, by J. Bode7-9 graders, An oral history of eleven teens who immigrated to the US from Latin American countries.
Quiet Odyssey: A Pioneer Korean Woman in America, by M. P. Lee10-12 graders, An autobiography by one of the first 100 Koreans to immigrate to this country.
The Long Way to a New Land, by J. Sandin1-3 graders, An account of a Swedish families move to New York City in the 1860s.
Immigrant Kids, by R. Freedman3-7 graders, A chronicle of immigration to the United States from 1880 to 1920.
American Immigration, by E. G. Hartmann5-8 graders, An historical discussion of the patterns of immigration, along with why different groups came at different times, from the Colonial era until today.
...In America series, published by Lerner PublishersA series that investigates the immigration and contribution of many ethnic groups in America.
Coming to America series, published by Delacorte PressAnother series that investigates the immigration and contribution of many ethnic groups in America.
Watch the Stars Come Out, by R. Levinson1-3 graders, A grandmother tells of her mother's voyage to the United States in steerage class.
Angel Child, Dragon Child, by M. M. SuratKindergarten-3 graders, The story of a young Vietnamese girl's adjustment to life in America-- a good source for talking about the transitions that immigrants must make on reaching their new land.
Immigrant Girl, by B. Harvey2-4 graders, The story of an immigrant girl in New York City in 1910.
Journey to America, by S. Levitin5-8 graders, A woman and her three daughters flee Nazi Germany and immigrate to the US.
A Boat to Nowhere, by M. C. Wartski4-5 graders, The story of the Vietnamese boat people.
Resources for finding more books:
- Best Books for Children-- Pre-school thorugh Grade 6, by J. T. Gillespie and C. J. Naden, RR Bowker, 1990.
- Our Family, Our Friends, Our World, by L. Miller-Lachmann, RR Bowker, 1992.
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