Opportunity and Danger
Procedures for teachers is divided into five sections:
-- Preparing for the lesson
-- Conducting the lesson
-- 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 responsive interview subjects for the culminating activity.
- 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
A Brief History of Chinese Immigration to America
Part of the American Heritage Project of the American Immigration Law
Foundation; written at a high level, so students may require support.
Another concise summary of the three main periods of Chinese immigration,
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.
Chinese Immigration to the United States
A Web site of the Library of Congress with many valuable resources.
Site of a non-profit center for interdisciplinary study of history and
the humanities. Programs, products, and services emphasize inclusion
of misrepresented and ignored peoples and historical and cultural accuracy.
Photos of China, history of the Silk Road.
Handouts on China
Handouts created by Shunde Jin, a Chinese scholar, about various aspects
of Chinese culture.
A Web project of the Southern Poverty Law Center with many resources
for educators, students, and the general public.
An anti-bias Web site with many resources, including this article containing
several definitions of key terms.
Related lesson plans from PBS Web sites (for grades 4 and up):
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.
Description: Students identify
specific actions that can make a stranger feel welcome.
To help students develop empathy for the feelings immigrants experience
when they move to a new country.
|| To begin, conduct an exercise to help students consider
what it means for a stranger to be made to feel welcome. Tell students
they will work with partners and help them get into pairs. Give each
pair 10 large index cards, post-it notes, or several sheets of notebook
paper cut into thirds.
|| On the chalkboard or chart paper, write the word "welcome."
Ask students to imagine that they have left their home and gone to
a new country where they don’t know anyone, don’t speak
the language, and don’t know the culture. Then ask: “What
would you want people to do to make you feel welcome?” Ask that
each pair think of as many welcoming behaviors as they can and write
each one out on a separate card or paper. (Examples of welcoming behaviors:
speak slowly and clearly, invite you to join them at lunch, help you
find your way, be patient, don’t laugh.)
|| Allow 5-10 minutes for students to generate ideas,
then ask them to tape or tack their written ideas to a wall, bulletin
board, or chalkboard. Allow a few minutes for students to browse the
ideas and then ask the class to help put the ideas into categories,
bunching identical ideas together and grouping all ideas according
to some organizing principles; for instance, practical assistance,
emotional support. Discuss the ideas with the class, adding more if
students think of them.
|| Point out that in the United States and Canada, all
people except Native Americans are descended from immigrants. Ask
if any students are immigrants or have parents who are immigrants.
If no students are first or second-generation immigrants, cite examples
from the local community or your own family history. Ask: Do you think
immigrants in the past have been made to feel welcome in the U.S.?
What about immigrants today?
| Learning Activities:
| Activity One:
Description: Students write
about a time when they were in a strange new place where nobody knew
Objective: To relate the immigrant
experience to students' own experiences in situations where they felt
new and strange.
|| This activity should closely follow the
introductory activity described above. Distribute copies of the Student
Organizer 1, Hello Stranger and read the text at the top with
students. For demonstration, cite an example from your own life.
|| Students can complete their writing in
school or at home. Then help them join with partners or small groups
to share and discuss their stories.
||Conclude the activity with a whole-class
discussion. What are some commonalities among students’ experiences?
Can they think of anything they themselves might have done, when they
were in the role of “stranger,” to make things better
Dangers and Opportunities
learn about the 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 dangers and opportunities that greeted
Video, BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE, Parts One, Two,
and Three; Web sites (listed above), textbooks, and trade books.
Some 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
It is recommended that you preview all texts and Web-based resources
|| Introduce this activity by telling students
that they are going to learn about the Chinese immigrants in the U.S.
from the mid-1800s to the present and that they will be paying particular
attention to the dangers and opportunities that the Chinese found
in America. Show the video and/or assign readings.
|| Use Student
Organizer 2, Dangers, Opportunities, 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
Note: Dangers faced by Chinese immigrants included: racism, loneliness,
poverty, enslavement, violence, exclusionary and repressive laws,
erosion of traditional Chinese culture, loss of authority for men.
Opportunities for Chinese immigrants included: economic growth, escape
from war and famine, security and political strength in insular Chinese-American
communities, new freedoms for women and young people, education, upward
||Finish with a whole-class discussion in
which you consolidate all responses on the chalkboard or chart paper.
| Activity Three:
The Dynamics of Prejudice
define the terms stereotype, prejudice/bias, and discrimination and
consider examples related to Chinese immigrants in the past as well
as present-day Chinese-Americans.
Objectives: To raise students’ awareness of
stereotyping, prejudice/bias, and discrimination, particularly as
these apply to Chinese immigrants in America.
|| Remind students of the many instances cited in the
documentary BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE and in readings
of prejudice and discrimination against Chinese people in America.
Ask students for examples of such instances, such as the Chinese Exclusion
Act of 1882, demeaning and cruel characterizations, and race-related
||Next, ask students to work in pairs or small groups
to develop definitions of the following terms: stereotype,
prejudice, and discrimination, using
Student Organizer 3, Definitions. (You
could assign all pairs/groups all three terms or have each pair/group
work on one term.) Students can use the dictionary and also visit
Web sites like www.tolerance.org
and www.adl.org to
develop their definitions.
|| Pairs/groups can present their definitions. The class
can then use these to develop definitions that the entire class can
|| Pairs/groups can present their definitions. The class
can then use these to develop definitions that the entire class can
| Culminating Activity/Community Connection
Description: Students record
and write up interviews with members of the school or larger community
who are immigrants or children of immigrants.
To find out more about diverse cultures; to learn about immigrants’
personal stories, with an emphasis on their experiences of dangers
|| Draw interview subjects from the parent body, school
staff, and the larger community. You can publicize this opportunity
via a parent letter (see sample
letter), school and parent newsletters, and local media.
Help students prepare for their interviews by discussing
the objectives, above. Go over Student
Organizer 5, Tips for Interviewing, and then have students prepare
for their interviews using Student Organizer
4, Interview Planning Sheet.
|| Students can work individually, in pairs, or in small
groups to interview subjects. Interviews can be conducted at school
or, if students know their subjects, at home. You might let students
practice on you, telling your own stories or pretending to be someone
who is an immigrant.
|| Interviews should be written up, illustrated, and presented
to the class. Interview subjects could be invited back to hear their
Note: For an elaborated treatment of using oral history techniques
with students, see this related PBS Web site: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/education.html
Students can learn about the experiences of present-day teen immigrants
by viewing an episode of the PBS series IN THE MIX. See the following
IN THE MIX: Teen Immigrants – 5 American Stories
This episode of IN THE MIX profiles teens who have immigrated from
Russia, the Dominican Republic, China, and other countries. They
share their experiences and hopes for the future.