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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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Three Books by Dinaw Mengestu to Explore the Immigration Experience with Students

As educators, one of the great joys is introducing students to fiction that allows students to see themselves in characters they thought were nothing like them and which they shared little in common. It is one of the most effective ways to teach empathy, broaden understanding, and disprove stereotypes. It is the stuff of “a-ha” moments, meaningful connections that transcend the classroom, and Dinaw Mengestu’s novels are ripe with these potential moments for high school students. His character-driven narratives highlight the universal tensions between home and displacement, loss and renewal, as explored in the migration experience. Read more...

Year Released: 2015

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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Lesson for Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s The Danger of a Single Story

In this lesson, students watch and respond to novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s Ted Talk “The Danger of a Single Story.” In this 18:39 minute video, she tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice and relays the potential risks for misunderstanding a group of people when only a single story is shared as representative of that culture. This film and corresponding discussion guide can enhance the reading of diverse literature in the classroom and lends itself to a discussion on the benefits of diversity.

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

 

Year Released: 2015

10-12

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Analyzing Immigrant Contributions through Data, Story, and Voice

In this immigration lesson plan, students will explore the contributions of immigrants have made to their home states and localities though an analysis of data and story.  Students will demonstrate understanding by writing an evidence-based argument that answers the question: how have immigrants contributed to my state, district, city, or town? Students will also be asked to reflect on common assumptions about immigrants and their roles in U.S. society.

Extensions and adaptations are available for English Language Learners and readers at multiple levels.

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

Year Released: 2015

9-12

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There Are At Least 187 Reasons to Read Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera

Author: Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera’s 187 Reasons Mexicans Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007 is meant to be political and personal, provocative and soothing, historical and imaginative. Covering 36 years of Herrera’s creative work, this book is as much a hybrid of genres, languages, and styles as it is a blend of Mexican-American cultures and identities. It asks the question of what it means to be Mexican as it also asks what it means to be American. The physical and cultural borders of ethnic identity explored in this work offer multiple representations of individual and collective Mexican-American identities. In particular, the selected poems can be a wonderful tool for helping provide a historical context for older students as they examine current immigration issues in the media. Read more...

Year Released: 2015

Freedom, Fairness, & Equality

In this guided presentation, student will wrestle with the essential question: how deep is our commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  They will learn about five historical examples of restrictive immigration law and policy and apply essential teachings of Dr. King in order to understand the value of youth civic engagement.
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Year Released: 2015

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Teaching Freedom, Fairness, and Equality

In this immigration and civic engagement lesson plan, student will wrestle with the essential question: how deep is our commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  They will learn about five historical examples of restrictive immigration law and policy and also about the value of young people’s voices in movements to secure rights.

Read more...

Year Released: 2015

9-12

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Juan Felipe Herrera Offers Insight into the Migrant Farmworker Experience for Youth

Author: Juan Felipe Herrera

Recently, I excitingly told my young daughters we were going to wake up early and go berry picking at a “pick your own” farm. My three year old exclaimed “I don’t want to pick berries at a farm I want to pick them at a store.” Although it was funny, it made me realize how disconnected we are as a society to our food sources and the nameless people who make it possible for us to have fresh fruits and vegetables on our tables.  Read more...

Year Released: 2015

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