Welcome to a series of lessons about early American immigration! These lessons are part of a six week unit my district is implementing all about the United States of America, including the people, The Preamble, and the presidents. This week, we'll work on reading informational text and historical literature to meet the 50/50 ratio of fiction to informational text in the Common Core. The students take a step back in time, to enjoy a daily update from our principal narrating a historical journey from being an emigrant to becoming an immigrant of the United States. Please watch this short video to see some highlights of these lessons. Thank you!
*Please note: Lessons one and two were taught in the same day. We used our computer lab time to complete lesson one, and then completed lesson two during our shared reading time.
Immigration clip art in lesson banner, and other documents purchased from MelonHeadz.
Principal's Immigration Script: Each day this week, our principal is narrating a pretend historical journey beginning with the emigration from our homeland through becoming an immigrant of America. I've specifically included facts and details that the students will be encountering while reading their informational text and literature this week. This will help them make connections, review, and get them excited as they hear an update from their principal daily. Thank you, principal Gravel! (See Resource File: Principal's Script Immigration Week - Monday)
We're reading the information text Ellis Island (A True Book). This book has great nonfiction text features, and is just the right difficulty for our class to do a shared reading.
Vocabulary: To support the students with their content vocabulary this week, I've created an "Immigration Vocabulary" page with important words, and a place for students to add new words. We read through the words, sentences, and definitions on the front of the page, and I show the students some images on my SMART Board to match. I explain to students that there is room on the back of the paper for them to add their own words, sentences, and definitions. As they're reading this week, they're encouraged to add new "Immigration Words" to their schema bank, on the back of this page. This helps my travelers work toward RI3.4, determining the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words. (See Resource File: Immigration Vocabulary and Student Sample)
Chronological Order: While reading this informational text, we're working on putting the steps from emigrating to becoming an immigrant in chronological order. The students are using Post-it notes to record the steps, and at the end of the week, they'll complete a sequencing worksheet to outline the process.
I begin by teaching the students about "chronological order", or "sequencing". I compare it to our daily schedule I have up on our white board. I ask the students to name other things we put in chronological order. We relate it to other things we know, such as lining up, number patterns in math, and following the steps in a recipe. (See Resource File: Sequencing Poster)
I ask the students to take out some Post-it notes. I set the purpose for reading as reading for information to learn about Ellis Island, immigration, and sequencing the steps it took to emigrate and become an immigrant in historical times.
We read chapter one, "The Immigrants" aloud, and then go back, skim, and add steps to our Post-it notes for the emigration to immigration process. The students come up with:
1. Save money to buy a ticket
2. Travel by foot, horseback, or other way to get to steamship
Please note: I've included a photo of a student's Post-it notes from the end of the week. This is after the whole book is read. (See Resource File: Chronological Post-its)
*Additional skills and strategies posters, similar to the "Sequencing" poster are included at the bottom of this lesson.
It's important to give students the proper background knowledge before beginning an unfamiliar unit of study. I'm giving the students just enough on their sheet, and then they'll add more throughout the week depending on their individual experiences with the shared text and differentiated texts.
We are completing a paired study this week, that is my students are reading an informational and fictional text about immigration concurrently. We've already got our informational text underway, and now I'm ready to "sell" some historical fiction immigration stories! I welcome the students back to our "carpet area" underneath our literacy tree. I ask them to sit in rows of six today, which will help with our "book peeks".
Book Talks: My team and I have selected six pieces of historical fiction immigration literature for our students to choose from this week. They vary in Lexile levels from 460-790. This falls nicely in the recommended band for second-third grades. I give a book talk about each of the selections including the title, author, illustrator, summary, and something unique to a particular book (For example, the book Landed is the only title I have that features Angel Island, not Ellis Island.)
Book Peeks: The students are excited to browse the books themselves. I have them seated in rows of six. I pass out one of each book to the students within a row. I give them all the time in the world (that is an ongoing line we use in our room when something goes fast :), about one minute to browse the book, and then I have them pass it to their neighbor. Of course, the person on the end has to bring their book to the person in the front of the row. This gives students an opportunity to "try" the book out and see if it's "just right" for them. They also browse to see which book is most interesting to them.
Book Selections: After we're finished, and the students are so excited to read, we go back to our desks to complete our book choice sheet. Luckily, I was able to give my students their first or second choice. I find that most of the time students do a good job with picking out books that match their reading abilities, too. Giving students choices makes them feel invested, also. I like to do this whenever I can. (See Resource File: Immigration Book Choice Sheet)
I begin my own historical fiction immigration read aloud, Dreaming of America: An Ellis Island Story by Eve Bunting. I choose this story to go along with our immigration week, of course, but I'm also using it to model the activities the students are going to complete when they read their own historical immigration story.
Read and Take Notes: On the front of the book I have Post-it notes labeled with: Who? When? Why? Which? Where? What challenges? What adjustments? These match the corresponding questions on my anchor chart. I'll take notes as I'm reading aloud to model for the students. (See Resource File: Historical Fiction Literature Immigration Stories Chart)
We read about the first half of the book, and I take notes as we go on the Post-its, with assistance from my audience.
Review: We complete a review of all of our great learning for today, including things we learned in the computer lab, new immigration words, facts from Ellis Island (A True Book), and things mentioned by our principal in our travel update.
Celebrate: We celebrate each day at the end of class by sharing something we're grateful for in our country.
I was contacted by a few teachers that are interested in my literacy posters, so I've included them here. You'll notice the "Sequencing" poster used within the lesson above, and others used in my other lessons on BetterLesson.
I use these posters throughout the day, across the curriculum. I created them, then had them enlarged slightly to about 11 X 14 size at a local office store. I hope you find them helpful in your classroom. (See Resource Files/Posters: Ask Questions, Author's Purpose, Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast, Connections, Context Clues, Drawing Conclusions, Fact and Opinion, Figurative Language, Main Idea and Supporting Details, Making Inferences, Predictions, Sequencing, Story Elements, Summarizing, Visualize and Use Senses)
*Clip art on the posters was purchased from Giftseasonstore on Etsy.