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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: Who Belongs Here? The Immigration Experience
Who Belongs Here?  The Immigration Experience 

HOW IT WORKS
In Who Belongs Here?, students share their knowledge and experiences of immigration. They compare what it was like in their original countries with their new lives in New York. They share their good-byes, airplane rides, and first impressions. The teacher uses picture books to build background knowledge. The students read historical fiction for further insight, make text-to- text connections, and begin essay writing. They compose character analysis essays of Anzia in Tenement Writer by Ben Sonder. After reading this book, the students realize that hard work and persistence are two essential ingredients for a better life. The main questions of this program are: Who belongs here? Why do people migrate? What problems do immigrants encounter? What are the advantages and disadvantages of migrating? What contributions have immigrants made in the new country? Students turn back to these questions throughout the study for new insights. In an essay, they compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of life in New York to life in their native lands. In groups they elaborate on the pros and cons. Then, they begin to write persuasive letters back home trying to convince people to come or stay where they now reside. They learn about research skills, note taking, paragraph writing, main ideas, “catchy” leads, and voice. They compose poems and write about the immigrant experience by using the lyrical or narrative voice. They are challenged with similes, metaphors, personification, onomatopoeia, and alliteration. After a few weeks of study, students visit historical sights throughout the city: the Tenement Museum, Ellis Island, and the Brooklyn Museum. The students listen, observe, and sketch to think. They create watercolor paintings. Then they write to express their thinking. At the end, there is a publishing party to celebrate the student multi-genre anthology. 

THE STUDENTS
The students in this program are in a transitional  class with multicultural backgrounds. Because of the wealth of literature, both fiction and nonfiction, on all different grade levels, this program may be done with a fifth grade, middle school, and high school ESL population. 

THE STAFF
Ourania Pantazatos has taught the ESL population for 17 years. She has co-chaired the UFT Bilingual/ESL committee for two years and staff-developed part-time for two years. This is the second year that he has taught Who Belongs Here? The Immigration Experience.

WHAT YOU NEED 
This program requires a computer with Internet access, a printer, and both fiction and nonfiction books pertaining to immigration. A video library is also useful for additional insight into the immigration experience, as well as allowing students to hear English spoken by other individuals.  

OVERALL VALUE
The students examine the patterns of migration, the causes and effects, and the problems and solutions, while developing important and varied skills and building their self-confidence. The United States is a nation of immigrants coming from all over the world. The students gain an understanding and tolerance for other immigrants, cultures, races, and religions. They understand that immigrants have a tolerance for hard work so that future generations will have a better life—one without war, prejudice, and inhumane living conditions. 

 

View the Curriculum Unit/Dissemination Packet

CURRICULUM AREAS
ESL
 Language Arts
Social Studies
Humanities
Technology

GRADES
Grade 5
-12

MORE INFORMATION

Ourania Pantazatos
Dr. Sun Yet Sen
M.S. 131
100 Hester Street
New York, NY 10002
ourpan@yahoo.com
Principal
Alice Young  

IMPACT II 
Catalog 2002-2003

 

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