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Lesson Plans
Opportunity and Danger
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 responsive interview subjects 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.


    spacer spacer
    Steps

    Introductory Activity:
    Welcome!

    Description: Students identify specific actions that can make a stranger feel welcome.

    Objective: 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:
    Hello, Stranger

    Description: Students write about a time when they were in a strange new place where nobody knew them.

    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 for themselves?


    Activity Two:
    Dangers and Opportunities

    Description: Students 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 Chinese immigrants.

    Materials:
    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 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

    It is recommended that you preview all texts and Web-based resources for suitability.

  • 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 their answers.

    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 mobility.

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


    Activity Three:
    The Dynamics of Prejudice

    Description: Students 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 violence.

  • 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 agree on.


  • Pairs/groups can present their definitions. The class can then use these to develop definitions that the entire class can agree on.


    Culminating Activity/Community Connection
    Interviews

    Description: Students record and write up interviews with members of the school or larger community who are immigrants or children of immigrants.

    Objectives: To find out more about diverse cultures; to learn about immigrants’ personal stories, with an emphasis on their experiences of dangers and opportunities.

  • 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 interviews presented.

    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



    Extensions




    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 Web site:

    IN THE MIX: Teen Immigrants – 5 American Stories
    http://www.pbs.org/mix/immigrants_index.html
    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.




    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students

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