You will be collecting a lot of information, so it is important to stay organized. Write down your main ideas, sketch pictures, or print one page from each site you visit. Keep your material in a group folder or one of your own. Use your time wisely at the computer so you can find all the necessary information in the time allotted. Do your best at memorizing your lines but if you forget you can always ad-lib to keep the flow of the play going. Have the idea of what you are dramatizing always in mind so you can stay in character and be convincing.
Step 1: Overview of Immigration
Create a knowledge chart with your class on what you already know about immigrants. Then break into groups and answer the following questions after researching the Internet links and using your textbook.
Choose a spokesperson and share your answers with the class. The teacher will record on the knowledge chart.
Links for Overview
Harvard Immigration Project
Us.Immigration into the United States
Step 2: Immigrant Identity
Country Research Links
Potato Famine: http://avery.med.virginia.edu/~eas5e/Irish/Famine.html
Irish clothes: http://www.aardvark.ie/siobhan-wear/
Irish culture: http://www.seark.net/~sabra/ireland.html
Brief statistics: http://www.familytreemaker.com/00000371.html
Reasons Immigrants left Germany: http://www-lib.iupui.edu/kade/adams/chap2.html
Brief details: http://www.familytreemaker.com/00000383.html
Brief details: http://www.familytreemaker.com/00000375.html
Italians in America: http://www.italianancestry.com/Section6.html
Brief details: http://www.familytreemaker.com/00000381.html
Polish Art: http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/images/folkarts/easteggs.html
Brief details: http://www.familytreemaker.com/00000373.html
Step 3: Research Ellis Island
In your notebook label a new piece of paper. Take notes as you research these links. Two links are virtual tours. Remember you are going to be dramatizing these events so pay attention to the little details.
Ellis Island Virtual Tour http://www.capital.net/~alta/index.html
Port of Entry http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/features/port/start.html
Pictures of Ellis Island and Immigrants http://cmp1.ucr.edu/exhibitions/immigration_id.html
Make a Statue of Liberty
You will be making the Statue of Liberty as a prop. Some of the details about the history and the structure you will need to include in your play so take notes.
Statue of Liberty Facts http://www.endex.com/gf/buildings/liberty/liberty.html
Statue of Liberty by 4th graders http://www.kusd.edu/s_projects/statue_liberty/statue_liberty.html
Poem of The New Colossus http://www.capital.net/~alta/Lazarus.htm
Step 4: Write story of Immigrant
First read actual stories written by Immigrants
German Immigrant Story:
German Journeys to America:
Now, take on your identity of an immigrant. Fill out the planning guide and then write your story by adding details from your research.
Story Planning Guide: Adapted from Creative Teaching Press Theme Immigration
My name is (immigrant identity)
I am _______years old. I speak (languages)___________________.
I come from__________________.
In my country I was a _______________(job or grade of student)
I lived with __________________.
I left my country because_______________.
I journeyed to America in (year)_____ on (name of ship)__________.
When I first saw the Statue of Liberty I said,_____________________.
Getting processed at Ellis Island was _______________. This is what happened__________.
My hopes for a new life in America are______________.
In America, I plan to live in (city, state)_____________because __________.
I will earn a living by __________________.
America is different from my country in these ways:________
Write your play
Next, in your group talk about an immigrant's arrival in America and being processed at Ellis Island. Write a script for role-playing and dramatizing this event. Include why, when and how your group came to America. Dramatize being processed on Ellis Island and include how you felt when you saw the Statue of Liberty. Possible characters in your play: immigration official, narrator, immigrant papa, mama, child. Possible props: train ticket, passport, ID tag, Statue of Liberty with Colossus poem written. Cultural dress for immigrant family may include hats, scarves, aprons, jackets etc. You may want to record patriotic music for scene changes or background for the narrator.
Step 5: Perform play
Have all your props and costumes ready . You will need to be able to quickly change your props between each group's scene so be sure you have practiced this in action. Have your play written with each character's lines so your teacher can prompt you if necessary. Be an attentive audience so you will have all the information for your "one pager".
Step 6: What did you learn? Write one page summary.
Write "one pager" on why immigrants came, patterns of immigration throughout America's history, procedures immigrants followed at Ellis Island, history of Statue of Liberty, and the symbolism of it in the immigrant experience. Mount your "One Pager" on black construction paper and decorate the border around it with starbursts symbolizing fireworks.
Fun Extensions if time permits:
Photo courtesy of thinkquest.org