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Lesson Plans

Creating Inclusive Classroom Culture

Enlist your students in creating a classroom culture that welcomes and celebrates diverse talents and skills. Students first read a short story “Draw One for Me” written by Susan K. Coti. Then they participate in multimodal activities and discussion to reflect on classroom social dynamics and welcoming newcomer students. Read more...

Year Released: 2016

3-6

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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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Telling the Family Story

Telling family immigration stories is a powerful way to build community within and outside of the classroom. Whether the story comes from a student, parent, or a school professional, giving voice and an audience to the story opens channels for empathy and understanding on what can be a divisive topic.

The finished product of this lesson is an illustrated book and an opportunity to read the story aloud to others. Although this project could be done digitally, the physical book makes an important gift. This public reading should focus on celebrating, acknowledging, and supporting the immigrant author's triumphs, struggles, and continued efforts to build a new life in the U.S.

This lesson plan was created and implemented by the winner of our 2015-2016 Community Grant, English Language Learner (ELL) Teacher Angeline Sturgis from Eldridge Park School in Lawrence, NJ. 

Year Released: 2016

K-5

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"Behind the Mountains" by Edwidge Danticat

Teach students about the values of immigration and increase awareness of the adjustments faced by immigrants by reading Edwidge Danticat’s novel Behind the Mountains.  This gripping story chronicles the experience of Celiane Esperance, a young girl living in Haiti, who is forced to flee political violence to the US with her mother and brother and reunite with her father in Brooklyn, NY.  Along the journey, Celiane captures her thoughts and feelings in a journal she affectionately names her “sweet little book.”  This comprehensive unit plan includes activities for students to: keep a dialectical journal while reading, decipher the meaning of figurative language in Haitian proverbs and art, apply the “push-pull” factors of immigration, understand how a “duality of cultures” and “stages of adaptation” function in the lives of immigrants, as well as write an argumentative essay.

For lesson procedures, Common Core standards alignment, please download the Unit Plan.

Download Handouts:Read more...

Year Released: 2015

9-12

Digital Learning on Immigration: Quick Lessons for Students by Students

Teach digital learning and engage students any day of the week on immigration with our mini-lessons! We pair historical political cartoons with short video clips produced by young adults on immigration themes and provide rigorous questions for student reflection and class discussion. No more than five minutes in length, these films inspire dialogue, critical thinking and creative teaching on immigration. Additional activities are provided to extend learning and explore the themes covered in the films. Read more...

Year Released: 2015

Just What is Executive Action? A Lesson From the Principal’s Desk

Much has been made of the president’s use of executive action in order to carry out the nation’s laws. It is a vague term that puzzles many in the media and raises large questions. Is it legal? Is it an abuse of power? Is it constitutional? Has it been used by Democratic and Republican presidents alike?

As suggested by the title, “Just What is Executive Action? A Lesson from the Principal’s Desk” students will apply inductive reasoning skills about individual school policies that are determined by the principal in order to understand what execution action is and its limitations. Students will apply their knowledge of school policy in order to define executive action in their own words as well as to read the media for accuracy and bias. An extension of this activity is also available for students to closely read a report Executive Grants of Temporary Immigration Relief, 1956-Present published by the American Immigration Council.

  • For lesson procedures, Common Core standards alignment, please click here.
  • For the student handout close-read of Executive Grants of Temporary Immigration Relief, 1956-Present, please click here.
  • Click here to tell us how you’ve used this lesson plan

 

Year Released: 2014

9-12

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Writing A Way In: Multiple Perspectives on Executive Action

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action has been greeted with joy, relief, sadness, and contempt.  How can one decision trigger so many varied responses?  By weaving non-fiction accounts into creative writing, students will be able to write their way into understanding the multiple perspectives that surround this immigration issue. 

  • For lesson procedures, Common Core standards alignment, please click here.
  • For the corresponding classroom PowerPoint, please click here.
  • Click here to tell us how you’ve used this lesson plan.

 

Year Released: 2015

9-12+

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A Land of Refuge or Refusal? Perspectives on the Refugee Experience in the United States

In this immigration lesson plan, students analyze key ideas in an academic article that provides background on the refugee experience in the United States, including examples of welcoming and exclusionary responses, as well as the impacts of these disparate reactions. After analyzing the author’s claims and evidence, students then apply one of those claims to the current refugee crisis in order to answer the question: how is America a land of refuge, refusal, or both?

This lesson encourages critical thinking from students in a very public discussion, both in the United States and abroad, about the worldwide refugee crisis. In recent years, the United States has welcomed 70,000 refugees per year. The President has indicated he intends to admit 85,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2016, including 10,000 from Syria. This increase has been criticized by some who believe the United States should do much more to protect those fleeing dire situations and by some who fear that welcoming Syrian refugees may compromise our national security. In considering the appropriate U.S. response.

For lesson procedures, Common Core standards alignment, please click here.

Year Released: 2015

9-12

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The First American Settlers and the First Thanksgiving

Learn and discuss the myths and facts surrounding the first Thanksgiving and the first immigrants by engaging students in a thought-provoking and humorous read-aloud that challenges them to identify dominant and resistant readings of this national holiday.

For lesson procedures, Common Core standards alignment, please click here.

Year Released: 2015

3-5

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Lessons on Acceptance and Forgiveness: A Tale of Two Americas

In this immigration lesson plan, students will read a brief version of Rais Bhuiyan’s inspiring story of forgiveness towards his attacker after being a survivor of a hate crime in the days after 9/11 because he was an immigrant. Students will then watch and respond to a Ted Talk by author Anand Giridharadas on Bhuiyan’s story as well as listen Bhuiyan speak about his story and his efforts to build the World Without Hate foundation. Student will be asked to consider what does acceptance and forgiveness mean to them as well as how their school can contribute to making a world without hate.

This lesson is adaptable to English Language Learners and readers at multiple levels.  It was developed by teacher Julie Mann, an ESL and Human Rights Teacher at Newcomers High School, Long Island City, New York and distributed with her permission.

For lesson procedures and Common Core alignment, please click here.

Year Released: 2015

9-12

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