Procedures for teachers is divided into five sections: Prep
-- Preparing for the lesson Steps
the lesson Extensions
-- Additional activities
-- Real world actions for
students after completion of the lesson
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
- Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster.
- Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0
- 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.
computers with the capacities
Students will need the following supplies:
notebook or journal
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
TIP: Preview all sites and videos before presenting them
to the class.
Becoming American: The Chinese American Experience
Includes an interactive timeline, a quiz about Chinese-American history,
"In Brief" readings, online resources and historical artifacts,
as well as a viewer's guide and a guide for educators.
From the Loogootee, IN Community Schools, an engaging, interactive site
authored by elementary school students, staff, and media specialists.
Includes annotated bibliography of fiction and non-fiction books as
well as a slide show, DISCOVERING CHINA WITH ABCs, written and illustrated
Chinese History in the U.S.A.
A rich, simply written, navigable Web site of the Chinese Historical
Society of San Diego with information on many aspects of Chinese history
Designed by the Asia Society, self-described as "America's premier
Asian cultural and educational institution," this site provides
resources, links, photos, maps, and timelines related to China. It also
includes activities designed especially for children.
The Art of China
Beautiful color images of Chinese art; downloadable music; and more.
Related lesson plans from PBS Web sites (for grades 4 and
A Nation of Many Cultures
Create a visual representation of family, heritage, and student interests;
compare and contrast similarities and differences; and create a display
of the art work in the form of a U.S. flag.
Ken Burns American Stories
The Statue of Liberty
This unit focuses on the role the Statue of Liberty has played in
US history and in the hearts and minds of Americans and the world.
Learning Adventures In Citizenship
Through surveys and interviews, identify how immigrants contribute
to contemporary American culture, and how they are changed by it.
Roots: Weeding and Writing Roots
Use researching, graphing, interviewing, and writing skills to explore
family roots. Take a look at your community and its history. Conclude
the study by encouraging students to take pride in the community,
participate in community service.
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
- 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,
|| 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
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
||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?
Becoming American: Why?
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
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
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
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
||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:
Description: Students create
their own family culture profiles.
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
|| 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
| Activity Four:
Learning about Chinese Culture
Students research and report on Chinese cultural traditions and contributions
to American culture.
Objective: To broaden
students’ knowledge and awareness of Chinese traditions and
|| 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
||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)
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
- What was it like when you first arrived?
- Who was nice or helpful to you?
- Was anyone mean to you?
- What was strange to you? Was anything familiar
- Did you speak English, and if not, how did you learn?
- Did your parents want you to keep doing things as they would
be done in the old country?
- How did you (and/or your parents) find friends?
- What do you think it would have been like if you (and/or your
parents) had stayed in your old country?
- What did you miss the most about your old home?
- What did you like the most about your new home?
|| Presentations can be videotaped or audiotaped. Students
should write thank-you notes to speakers.
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
The following Web sites can help you establish e-mail correspondence
with classrooms in other areas.
- vital statistics such as name, birthday, age, grade, ethnic/cultural
- descriptions of themselves, their families, friends, homes,
schools, and neighborhoods
- favorite activities, quotations, books, television shows, and
- special holidays and celebrations.
All About Education
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
This Web site offers free tools and services that facilitate communication
between classrooms across the country and abroad.
International E-mail Classroom Connections (IECC)
IECC is a free service that helps teachers locate other teachers
around the world who are interested in establishing classroom e-mail