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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

Coming to America

Project URL:

The purpose of the program is to develop research skills, writing skills, and word processing skills, to develop concepts related to United States immigration, and to cultivate an appreciation for the diversity of the community. The topic of United States immigration was chosen as an activity that articulates with the fourth grade social studies curriculum for United States history, and the study of various people who immigrated to the United States.

This activity follows the New York City performance standards for English Language Arts by fostering:

  • reading to comprehend informational materials;
  •  producing a report of information;
  •  producing a response to literature;
  •  producing a narrative account;
  •  preparing and delivering an individual presentation;
  •  demonstrating a basic understanding of the rules of the English language in written work;
  •  analyzing and revising work to improve its clarity and effectiveness; and 
  • responding to non-fiction using interpretive and critical processes.

In addition, students will meet mathematics and technology standards by:

  • collecting and organizing data to answer a question or test a hypothesis by comparing sets of data;
  • displaying data in line plots, graphs, tables, and charts;
  • making statements and drawing simple conclusions based on data.

What you need:
Internet connection, Student Writing Center, KidPix, ClarisWorks, HyperStudio, If Your Name Was Changed At Ellis Island CD-Rom, Grolier's Multimedia Encyclopedia CD-Rom

The students:
This unit is suitable for fourth graders of average ability.  Many of the students are second language learners. Research skills and word processing skills will be reinforced during the unit.

Overall value:
This unit is highly motivational in two respects:  the students will be finding our about their own heritage and the struggles of their ancestors,  and they will be using multimedia materials.

Tips for teachers:
If it is not possible to get the CD, If Your Name Was Changed At Ellis Island, by Scholastic, there are many web sites available with photos and related information.

Carolyn Hornik has been a New York City public school teacher for twenty five years (12 years as a classroom teacher in third, fourth, and fifth grades and 13 years as a technology coordinator.) She teaches in-service courses for the New York City Board of Education After School Professional Development Program and on-line courses for new teachers through Teachers Network.


Estimated Class Periods To Complete: 10 or more

Subject: English, Social Studies

Beginning Grade Level: 4

Ending Grade Level: 8



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