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Now and Long Ago: Immigration and My Family

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Keywords: Flip Video, Immigration, American History, Family Tree, culture, diversity, traditions
Subject(s): Video, Technology, Geography, Writing, Reading, Information Skills, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Spelling, Grammar, Journalism, Civics, History
Grades 3 through 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Berwick Academy, South Berwick, ME
Planned By: Wendy Harrington
Original Author: Wendy Harrington, South Berwick
1. Read "Watch the Stars Come Out" by Riki Levinson and discuss whey people immigrate.
Read other stories and use Internet resources to further discussions about how, why and from where people immigrate and to learn about immigration in America. Read books such as "When Jessie Came Across the Sea" by P.J. Lynch, "The Memory Coat" by Michael Dooling, "If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island" by Ellen Levine, and "Grandfather’s Journey" by Allen Say. Older students can divide into teams and recreate an immigration skit based on one book, presenting it and recording it with a Flip camera. Visit websites such as "Big Apple History: Coming to America" and "Immigration: Stories of Yesterday and Today" which includes an interactive tour of Ellis Island.
2. Students will help develop a questionnaire to bring home and interview parents and grandparents about their family history and countries their ancestors were from. Students select a country that is connected to their family history and research on our mobile laptops in the website, "Culturegrams". With this information, students will construct a visual family tree for posting in the classroom. Students will also write and illustrate a booklet or poster sharing their family history, immigration story, and/or cultural traditions.
3. Using Flip cameras, students will describe one of their family members or ancestors and what makes them special. Students will prepare questions for a living family member, and take home a Flip camera for one night to record an oral history. Students may also use the Flip camera at home to capture a video explaining a family tradition or important artifact. Using Flip Share, students will put videos together into one movie to share with others on the classroom website.
4. Students will dedicate a special time for a “Now and Long Ago Museum” to display their family trees, booklets, and videos for visitation and questions by other grades in the school. Students can also display and explain family artifacts and personal treasures that relate their family’s culture and traditions at their “Museum”. Using Flips, students can record each other explaining the most interesting thing they have learned about their family and its history, and put these together to create a reflection of the project for the class website.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Music: songs from other countries.
Math: Immigration data to graph, compare and contrast
We will share videos and projects at Grandparent's Day in May!
Links: Interactive Tour of Ellis Island
Coming to America
Materials: Flip Video, Portable, Authoring and Publishing