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Lesson Plans
Changing Places
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students


Procedures for teachers is divided into five sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the lesson
Steps -- Conducting the lesson
Extensions -- Additional activities
Community Connections -- Real world actions for students after completion of the lesson


Prep

To prepare for the activities, view the documentary program BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE and review print and Web-based resources. Also consider who among school staff and students' families might be interesting and effective guest speakers for the culminating activity.

Media Components

Computer Resources:
  • Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above.
  • Personal computer (Pentium II 350 MHz or Celeron 600 MHz) running Windows 95 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM and/or Macintosh computer running System 8.1 or above and at least 32 MB of RAM.


Materials:

Students will need the following supplies:

  • computers with the capacities indicated above
  • notebook or journal
  • pens/pencils

    Teachers will need the following supplies:

  • Board and/or chart paper
  • Ideally, a VCR on which to view the video
  • Handouts of Web resources if computers are not available in the classroom

    The following books may be used in addition to the video:

  • GROWING UP ASIAN AMERICAN - Maria Hong (Editor)
  • YELLOW: RACE IN AMERICA BEYOND BLACK AND WHITE - Frank H. Wu
  • YELL-OH GIRLS! EMERGING VOICES EXPLORE CULTURE, IDENTITY, AND GROWING UP ASIAN AMERICAN - Vickie Nam (Editor), Vickie Nam
  • STRANGERS FROM A DIFFERENT SHORE: A HISTORY OF ASIAN AMERICANS - Ronald Takaki
  • WILD SWANS: THREE DAUGHTERS OF CHINA - Jung Chang
  • KIDS LIKE ME IN CHINA - Ying Ying Fry, et al.
  • WHEN YOU WERE BORN IN CHINA: A MEMORY BOOK FOR CHILDREN ADOPTED FROM CHINA - Sara Dorow, Stephen Wunrow


    Bookmarked sites:

    TIP: Preview all sites and videos before presenting them to the class.


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    Steps

    Introductory Activity:
    Web about Home

  • To begin, conduct a web exercise to help students organize their thoughts about the meanings and emotional resonance of the term “home.” On the chalkboard or chalk paper, write the word "home." Ask children to think about words and ideas they associate with home -- what home means to them -- and to call out their ideas one at a time as you write them around the word home in web form.
    • Be sure to elicit some language about what home provides for us (e.g., security, protection, privacy) as well as the feelings associated with home (e.g. warmth, safety, love, closeness, a place of your own).


    • You also could list, either separately or as a section of the web, things that people do in their homes: e.g., prepare and eat meals, sleep, play, read, watch TV, do homework, bathe and shower, keep their things (clothes, toys, etc.).


    • Also elicit from children some information about where home is. Help students expand the idea of “home” as “my house or apartment” to include increasingly larger contexts: neighborhood, town or city, state, region, country, continent, planet.

  • Ask if anyone in the class ever left their home for a new place, or knows anyone who did. Typically, students will speak of moving from one house or apartment to another. Ask whether any students experienced a bigger move, such as moving from one state or country to another. Explain that when someone who is a citizen of one country moves to another country, that is called immigrating, and people who do that are called immigrants. Point out that in the United States and Canada, all people except native Americans are descended from immigrants. If no students are from immigrant families, cite examples from the local community or your own family history.

  • Follow this activity with Learning Activity One, Pack Your Suitcase.

    NOTE: It is important to keep in mind that in many schools there are children who, for a variety of reasons, are homeless and living in shelters or temporary homes. These children often feel embarrassed by their circumstances and try to hide their situations. It is vital that you know who these children are, honor the wishes of those who prefer nondisclosure, and ensure that the classroom atmosphere around discussions of home is respectful and free from put-downs.

    Learning Activities:

    Activity One:
    Pack Your Suitcase

    Objective: To help students to imagine how it would feel to leave their homes behind with only a few possessions and go to a country where the language and customs are new and different.

    This activity should closely follow the introductory activity described above.

  • Distribute copies of the student organizer and read the text at the top with students.

  • Allow about ten minutes for students to complete their lists. Then help them join with partners or small groups to share and discuss their lists.

  • Conclude the activity with a whole-class discussion. How did students make their choices? Were their considerations primarily practical? Emotional? How would it feel to really leave home with just a few belongings?

    Activity Two:
    Becoming American: Why?

    Description: Students learn about the early history of Chinese immigration to the U.S. from a variety of sources.

    Objectives: to introduce students to the history of Chinese immigrants in the U.S.; to raise students’ awareness of the reasons why people immigrate to the U.S.

    Materials: Video, BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE, Part One; Web sites (listed above), textbooks, and trade books. For an annotated bibliography of fiction and nonfiction books relating to China, see:

    Loogootee Studies China
    http://www.fi.edu/fellows/fellow1/apr99/index.html
    From the Loogootee, IN Community Schools, an engaging, interactive site on Chinese culture and contributions authored by elementary school students, staff, and media specialists.

    Other books that may be of interest are:
    GROWING UP ASIAN AMERICAN - Maria Hong (Editor))
    YELLOW: RACE IN AMERICA BEYOND BLACK AND WHITE - Frank H. Wu
    YELL-OH GIRLS! EMERGING VOICES EXPLORE CULTURE, IDENTITY, AND GROWING UP ASIAN AMERICAN - Vickie Nam (Editor), Vickie Nam
    STRANGERS FROM A DIFFERENT SHORE: A HISTORY OF ASIAN AMERICANS - Ronald Takaki
    WILD SWANS: THREE DAUGHTERS OF CHINA - Jung Chang
    KIDS LIKE ME IN CHINA - Ying Ying Fry, et al.
    WHEN YOU WERE BORN IN CHINA: A MEMORY BOOK FOR CHILDREN ADOPTED FROM CHINA - Sara Dorow, Stephen Wunrow

  • Introduce this activity by telling students that they are going to learn about the first Chinese immigrants who came to the U.S. and that they will be thinking about reasons why people would choose to leave their homes for a new country. Show the video and/or assign readings.

  • Use Student Organizer 2, Becoming American: Why? to help students focus on the reasons people emigrate. Students can complete this sheet individually or in pairs, then join with other individuals or pairs to discuss their answers.

  • Finish with a whole-class discussion in which you consolidate all responses on the chalkboard or chart paper.

    Note: Reasons Chinese immigrants came to the American West include: the wish to one day go back home wealthy; desire to profit from the Gold Rush; need to escape famine and war at home, spirit of adventure. Other reasons why immigrants have come include: to escape repressive governments or political persecution; to gain religious freedom; to seek economic betterment; to avoid imprisonment; to join family members who immigrated earlier.

    Activity Three:
    Culture Profile

    Description: Students create their own family culture profiles.

    Objective: To help students understand the concept of culture; to enable students to identify their own cultural practices and characteristics, as well as those of others.

  • To begin, conduct a web exercise to find out what students know about the meaning of “culture” and help them expand their understanding. On the chalkboard or chalk paper, write the word "culture." Ask students what they think culture means and to call out their ideas as you write them around the word in web form.

  • Bear in mind that students may know little about what culture means and may require considerable prompting. You might ask:
    • What about institutions that are part of a culture? One example is educational institutions. In the United States, schools are an important part of the culture and our system of education largely shapes how people live. (If students in the class attend other types of school, like religious or language schools, point out that this “extra” education is meant to enrich their knowledge of a culture in which they take part that exists within the dominant culture.)

      Other examples of cultural institutions are religious institutions, government, charitable organizations, arts and entertainment groups.


    • What about customs and traditions? These would include holidays, foods, clothing, and hairstyles, rites of passage (sweet sixteen parties, confirmation, bar and bat mitzvahs), dating and marriage traditions, and child rearing practices. Point out that within any culture, there are generational differences in these areas.


    • What about behavior? What kinds of behaviors are considered polite, and which are rude? How close to each other do people stand? How do they greet each other? Do they call each other by first names or last names? When do they give each other gifts? Cultural differences in such protocols often cause confusion and misinterpretation. For instance, eye contact is considered rude in some cultures, while not making eye contact is considered rude in others.

  • When the web is sufficiently developed, distribute Student Organizer 3, Culture Profile, and explain that families have their own cultures. Read the information at the tops of the page with students and go over the items they are to write about, modeling by giving your own answers to the questions. Students can complete their sheets individually at school or at home and share their finished work with a partner or small group. Debrief the activity with the whole class, asking what students learned about each other and about themselves.

    NOTE: For the inclusion of students who do not live with parents but are in foster care, with grandparents, or in some other nontraditional living arrangement, point out that the concept of “family” includes all households. It is vital that you know who these students are, honor their wishes for privacy, and ensure that the classroom atmosphere around discussions of family is respectful and free from put-downs.


    Activity Four:
    Learning about Chinese Culture

    Description: Students research and report on Chinese cultural traditions and contributions to American culture.

    Objective: To broaden students’ knowledge and awareness of Chinese traditions and contributions.

  • Students can work in pairs or small groups to read and report on Chinese culture and on the many ways in which Chinese traditions enrich American culture. Resources for students include Web sites and books noted above. Students also can find further information online and in the library.

    Possible topics include: Chinese language, arts., medicine, martial arts, philosophy and religion, food, holidays, government and politics, education; the history of Chinese immigrants in the U.S.; present-day life in Chinese urban centers like San Francisco, San Diego, and New York.

  • Allow class time and homework time for students to research and write their reports. Finished reports can be presented to the class and displayed.


    Culminating Activity/Community Connection
    Guest Speakers (presentations by members of the school or larger community who are immigrants or children of immigrants)

    Description: Students prepare questions for and listen to guest speakers.

    Objectives: To build awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures; to personalize stories of immigrants’ experiences.

  • Invite volunteer guest speakers drawn from the parent body, school staff, and the larger community to talk with students about the experience of being a first- or second-generation immigrant. You can publicize this opportunity via a parent letter (see sample letter), school and parent newsletters, and local media.

  • If possible, screen volunteer speakers to make sure that their stories will be appropriate for children. If some have wrenching experiences to recount that you deem worthwhile for students to hear, you might work in advance with guidance and administration on the best way to communicate about this to parents and avoid attendance by children who might be overly upset.

    Speakers should plan on a presentation of 5-10 minutes followed by Q and A. The tip sheet Guidelines for Guest Speakers can be given to guests in advance.

  • When your speaker or speakers are scheduled, tell the class who will be coming to speak with them, giving names, places of origin, and a brief summary of their immigration history, and help students develop questions to ask each speaker. Possible questions are:
    1. What was it like when you first arrived?
    2. Who was nice or helpful to you?
    3. Was anyone mean to you?
    4. What was strange to you? Was anything familiar
    5. Did you speak English, and if not, how did you learn?
    6. Did your parents want you to keep doing things as they would be done in the old country?
    7. How did you (and/or your parents) find friends?
    8. What do you think it would have been like if you (and/or your parents) had stayed in your old country?
    9. What did you miss the most about your old home?
    10. What did you like the most about your new home?

  • Presentations can be videotaped or audiotaped. Students should write thank-you notes to speakers.


    Extensions




    E-Mail Pen Pals

    Description: Students exchange personal and cultural information and stories with national and international pen pals.

    Objective: to develop students’ understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures, customs, and styles.

    Students can initiate e-mail dialogues about political, cultural, and personal issues with internet pen pals. . Their exchanges can be include:
    • vital statistics such as name, birthday, age, grade, ethnic/cultural background
    • descriptions of themselves, their families, friends, homes, schools, and neighborhoods
    • favorite activities, quotations, books, television shows, and movies
    • special holidays and celebrations.
    The following Web sites can help you establish e-mail correspondence with classrooms in other areas.

    All About Education
    http://www.allabouteducation.org/
    All About Education is a free service that helps educators get in touch with each other for the purpose of establishing e-mail discussions between classrooms. Students can use the site to locate other young people interested in finding "e-pals."

    ePals Classroom Exchange
    http://www.epals.com/
    This Web site offers free tools and services that facilitate communication between classrooms across the country and abroad.

    International E-mail Classroom Connections (IECC)
    http://www.iecc.org/
    IECC is a free service that helps teachers locate other teachers around the world who are interested in establishing classroom e-mail exchanges.




    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students

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