Apricot * Barrio * Chutney * Day Oh
Distribute index cards to each student. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to write down five keywords that come to mind as they view the segment of "The New Americans". Indicate to students that these could be words spoken by the people in the video, words written on the screen or words that express what they feel as they watch the video clip.
PLAY the tape segment that begins with a scene of a Thanksgiving feast showcasing Naima and Hatem. You will see the image of hands carving a turkey. You will hear the speaker say "this is Naima's first Thanksgiving…" STOP the tape when you hear Hatem say "the mission of the Arab American Action Network is the overall empowerment of the community. A place like this can build youth leaders, adult leaders." You will see an adult in a white shirt tutoring a child in a red shirt. (The scene depicts many different emotions familiar to many immigrant families. Naima is looking for a job and must confront her "discomfort" with using English. Naima's mother describes her disenfranchisement in the United States. Hatem's experiences are entirely different but very similar. Hatem is an Arab-American; pose the question: "How is being an Arab-American different for Naima and Hatem?" Engage students in a discussion of the keywords they have chosen. Use those words as the basis for discussion about themes that might develop in the documentary. Some additional themes that might be explored are old/elder, marriage, family, employment, language. Use Appendix H for additional stimuli for discussion or as prompts for writing exercises.)
Distribute copies of Appendix C and D from the New Americans series guide. Ask students to complete Appendix C independently before sharing their responses with a partner. After sharing their responses to Appendix C, ask students to turn the sheet over in preparation for Appendix D. In pairs, students will interview each other to record their partner's responses to Appendix D. At the bottom of the page, instruct the recording partner to write the name of the person who provided the answers and to identify the native country of their interviewed partner. Ask student volunteers to share their responses orally.
Distribute copies of the Jeff Zimmerman Mural Art handout to each student. Ask students to repeat the exercise of writing five keywords (from Activity #1) to describe the pictures in the writing space provided beneath each picture. Engage students in a discussion of the themes being explored in the art forms. (Education, Hope, Faith, Liberty, Despair, Recycling, Youth, Age and Innocence are possible themes being presented by the two pieces.)
Sing the chorus from the famous "Banana Boat Song".
Me Say Day Oh
Daylight Come and Me Wanna Go Home
Ask students if they have ever heard the song. Explain to students that it was a work song for farm workers made popular by Harry Belafonte, the son of an immigrant family. Explain to students that culture is characterized by three things-food, language and art. Explain to students that these three are often intertwined in the institutions that make up families and communities.
Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking students to listen in the media clip for what Belafonte believes to be the role of the arts in preserving culture and in helping to bridge cultural gaps that exist as immigrants try to become a part of a new country. Log onto the Harry Belafonte interview
, in the right-hand column under VIDEO select the link titled "Mr. Belafonte" and a Real Player window will open. FAST FORWARD to 8:45 (of 23:26.1). PLAY the web-based video to 10:18 then PAUSE the Real Player. Check student responses for listening accuracy and understanding. ("The purpose of art is not to show life as it is but to show life as it should be…Paul Robeson once said to me [Harry] you are in a remarkable place, get them to sing your song and when that moment comes, take them to places they have never heard of and tell them stories about things [and people] they should come to know and befriend…let them see that diversity is something to be embraced rather than something to be feared, let them understand that a strange tongue does not have to be a hostile tongue." If internet access is not available, print out the transcripts of the interview and read the interview having students take turns as TS (Tavis Smiley) and HB (Harry Belafonte).)
Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking students to determine if the lyrics to a more modern version of the same song could be used as universally as the first as a symbol of immigrant culture. Log onto the Shaggy-Style website
for the lyrics to Shaggy's version of the classic "Banana Boat" song in the year 2002. (Student responses will vary but point out to students that the Reggae music star honors the heritage and history of the song. Also point out that the site design-using the colors and patterns of the Jamaican flag as the background for the page-suggest a direct link to Jamaican culture.)
Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to identify lyrics in the song that would indicate that this song is a tribute to Jamaican culture. (Students should point out the different types of Jamaican food that are mentioned in the lyrics-mannish water, fish tea, rum punch, coconut water-and the different references to Reggae music. Finally, the language used in the song is an indicator of Jamaican culture: one verse uses Patois references-"deh pan me corner"-to state where a "beautiful bunch" of women might be found.)
One of the most famous Latin muralists was Diego Rivera, husband of Frida Kahlo. In his fine tradition, Jeff Zimmerman has risen to help beautify the streets of Chicago for modern times. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to consider how an artist becomes inspired to preserve culture. Ask students to brainstorm what an artist uses to motivate his own process in the creation of art. Log onto the Today Show Interview with Mike Leonard
. PLAY the media clip after the brainstorm to affirm student responses. (Most artists use everyday things as subjects for their art. The ability of art to transcend time is imbibed in this principle-life imitating art imitating life.)
Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them to record their reaction to other artwork presented by Jeff Zimmerman on his website. Using the checked squares in the top grid as a reference for the pictures on the website, navigate the Murals website
by clicking on the corresponding window frame (mural) associated with a checked square on the handout. As students respond to the pictures, ask students to use the symbols shown below to critique the artwork. In the squares that are checked, students can draw one of the symbols to indicate their reaction to the mural.
Investigate Political Asylum
In the documentary, one of the "New Americans" is the sister of an assassinated political figure in Nigeria. Research the life, work and events surrounding the life of Ken Saro-Wiwa to gain insight into the conflicts that have made many native Africans, American immigrants.
Explore Online Cultural Exchanges
Resources for understanding cultural nuance are very limited, especially related to Middle Eastern cultures. The Cultural Orientation website
is an organized treasure of information to help better understand diverse cultures. Have students gather information then direct them to the New American's Website to Take the Quiz
about immigration in the United States from the New Americans website. Encourage the students to allow the data to affect their thoughts about patterns of immigration in the United States.
Uncover the Meaning of American Words
During this lesson, students discovered that the phrase "DayOh" is most likely distinctively Jamaican. But what about the other words in the title of this lesson? The New Americans companion site
Shockwave required) provides a list of English words that have evolved from some of the languages spoken by the people highlighted in this documentary. Use the Oxford English Dictionary
to explore the origin and history of words.
Fill Up on Food Facts
Many immigrant families are proud of the cultural contributions their homelands have presented to America, especially their cuisine. Visit the host kitchens of Lidia at Lidia's Italian Table
and Martin Yan in his Chinatowns
to hear wonderful accounts of immigrant life in the U.S. and learn about the inventive ways that many immigrants marry their homeland to their native land in a pot or on a plate.