Students will need the following supplies:
| Explain to your students that you will be viewing a
segment of video about immigrants to the United States. Instruct your
students to watch and listen to the clip and record the answers to
the questions below on their Student
Organizer. Begin the video "May the Road Rise to Meet You"
where you see an image of two black and white photographs (one with
two girls in it, the other with one girl in it) and you hear a woman
singing. Stop the video when you see an image of three children in
the snow in front of the house and hear that the song has stopped.
| Despite their large numbers, Irish immigrants still
faced much discrimination. It was difficult for these immigrants to
find work, and it was not uncommon for job postings to state "No
Irish Need Apply." Some people also believed that these immigrants
were unclean and that they drank too much alcohol, prompting the nickname
"shanty Irish." Explain to students that they will be
looking at a songsheet from the Library of Congress from the American
Memory Series, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mdbquery.html
. This link leads you to the Search engine for the American Memory
Series. To find the songsheet for the song "No Irish Need Apply,"
type the title into the search engine and it will provide you with
the desired image.
As a group, read through the lyrics of the song and have students record their observations and answers to the following questions on their Student Organizers:
| Next, explain to your students that you will be looking
at another video clip about Irish immigrants. In this clip, they will
be learning about some of the work that Irish immigrant men were able
to get. Instruct students to record their observations and the answer
to the questions on their Student Organizer.
Play the video from the image of the blacksmith with the short dark
hair and when the narrator says "A growing America had plenty
of work for us." Stop the video when the narrator says "It
was a cruel joke with too much truth to it," and you see the
black and white image of the men working on the skyscraper.
| Learning Activities:
|Explain to your students that you are going to focus
on understanding the experience of the Irish immigrants and Irish-Americans
who worked on the railroads. Irish immigrants were instrumental in
building the railroad system in the country. This was backbreaking,
dangerous work. A popular saying of the late nineteenth century was
"There’s an Irishman buried under every tie of that road."
To do this exploration, students are going to view primary sources and they must analyze these sources to gather information. They will also be looking at secondary-source information from Web sites. When using both the primary and secondary sources, students must take complete notes because they will need to use these notes for the culminating activity. Distribute the Historical Sources Organizer to help students take notes thoroughly.
Students will be looking at images from the American Memory Series at the Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mdbquery.html. This link leads you to the Search engine for the Ameican Memory Series. To find the images listed below, type the titles into the search engine and it will provide you with the desired images.
Railroad workers eating lunch, Windsor Locks, ConnecticutDivide the students into small groups, with access to the Internet or with prints of the images listed above. Instruct them to look at each of the images and discuss them, focusing on the people, place, and details in the image. After talking about the image, have the students record their observations of each photo on their Student Organizer. After they have viewed all of the images, have each group share and discuss their observations.
| Now that the students have a background about Irish
railroad workers, have them view the National Park Service’s
Web site "Railroad Construction Scene" http://www.nps.gov/gosp/research/construction.htm.
Instruct them to read the text, which focuses on the details of laying
railroad tracks for the Transcontinental Railroad. On their Student
Organizers, have students take detailed notes from the article
about the process of creating the railroad. Discuss the article with
your students, answering any questions that they may have.
| Next, explain to students that you are going to continue
your exploration of the experience of Irish railroad workers by looking
at popular folk songs. The lyrics of these songs express the difficulty
of the railroad work:
Drill, Ye Tarriers:Read these song lyrics with your students. Have them record their observations on their Student Organizers.
Note: For an extension of this step, purchase recordings of these songs. With your students, examine how the music adds to the feeling and tone of the song.
| Culminating Activity:
|Once students have demonstrated a deeper understanding of the experience of Irish immigrants who worked on building the railroads, explain
that they will be writing their own "folk songs" about
these experiences. Divide the students into groups of three. Using
their notes, have them re-write lyrics to old tunes (such as "I’ve
Been Working on the Railroad" and "This Old Man")
or current favorites to reflect what these Irish railroad workers
went through. They should use as many specific examples from their
notes as possible.
After each group has written a song, have them perform it for the class. Discuss the songs with the students.