Teacher's Guide for COBBLESTONE ® Ellis Island Gateway to America
Teacher's Guide prepared by: Virginia Schumacher, a retired teacher and freelance writer living in Ithaca, New York.
- To understand the geography and sequence the history of Ellis Island.
- To develop the understanding skill of compare and contrast.
- To use the mathematical tool of graphing to make statistical observations about immigrants from 1880-1920.
- To understand the hardships, emotions and motives of immigrants coming to the United States through Ellis Island.
- To learn research skills in genealogy and apply them to personal family history.
"Flocking to Ellis Island"- the Early Years (pages 7-8)
Map skills: On a large map of New York, students find and describe the geographical location of Ellis Island.
- Prediction: After introducing vocabulary (patron, shucking, title and gibbet), students predict events that might have happened on the island.
- Jigsaw: Class is divided into 4 learning groups with each assigned one column to read that they will explain to the class.
- Classification: Teacher hangs 8 large pieces of paper (2 for each learning group) on chalk board that are labeled: 1609, 1634, 1760s, 1774, 1808, 1812, 1861, late 1800s. As each group reports what they read, teacher fills in the events that corresponded with the years on the papers.
- Visual Timeline: Each learning group is given the two papers that correspond to what they read and is asked to illustrate the events. Group is reassembled and the pictorial timeline is sequenced.
"Voyage of Hope, Voyage of Tears (pages 19-21)"
- Think, Pair, Share: Students think of a time when you went on a trip. They describe the trip to their partner.
- Compare and Contrast: Teacher uses a side by side Chart with 4 columns and six rows. In the first column label the rows: transportation, preparations, accommodations, safety, water and food. Each column is labeled: My Trip, The Steerage Immigrants' Trip, Same or Different? Students volunteer details of their trips as teacher fills in chart under MyTrip. (example: transportation: car, plane, train, etc.)
- Silent reading: Class reads story silently and is asked to look for what the steerage immigrants' transportation was, what preparations were needed, where and on what did they sleep, what did they eat and drink and how safe were they from illness?
- Compare and Contrast: Students volunteer information to complete the next column under Steerage Immigrants' Trip. After this column is complete, the teacher reads the responses in each row and class decides if the responses are the Same or Different?
"Just a Ferry Ride Away" (pages 31-33) and Welcome to Ellis Island
- Class survey: How many have ever been to Ellis Island? If we were going there on a class trip, what would you hope to see? (chart ideas)
- Pair reading: partners read Just a Ferry Ride Away, alternating paragraphs. Anything else you would now like to see? (add to chart)
- Following directions: students turn to cutaway map on pages 10 and 11. Students are asked to locate: the baggage room, the information desk, "Through America's Gate" exhibit, the hearing room, the dormitory room, the "Peopling of America" exhibit and the "Treasures From Home" display.
- Think, pair, share: What makes something a treasure?( class discussion) What treasures did the immigrants bring? (chart)
- Journal: students write (and illustrate) in journal what 1 treasure they would take if they were to emigrate to another country.
"Catching America Fever (pages 12-13) and In Greatest Numbers (page 16)"
Magnet words: Students using a yellow highlighter, scan pages 12 and 13 for 5 words they don't understand. These words are charted and explained.
- Prediction: Class predicts what the article is about based on the title and the magnet words discussed. Students read silently while teacher reads aloud. Chart the main reasons people left their homelands to come to America.
- Graphing: Students complete a vertical bar graph to show home countries of U.S. immigrants between 1880-1920. Students are first asked to put these countries in alphabetical order and to write them in the bottom row, from left to right on the teacher prepared grid. Each row represents a million with tenth markers to represent the 100,000s. Using colored markers, the students fill in the graph. Using the graph, students respond to statistic questions such as : How many more Italian immigrants were there than Swedish immigrants, etc.?
"Family Reunion pages 2-6"
- Think, Pair, Share: Students are asked to consider and discuss with a partner, what tests an immigrant needed to pass on Ellis Island to be allowed into the United States. (teacher lists 4 or 5 ideas)
- Preview: Students look at pictures in story and see if they support their ideas. Concept of Historical Fiction is reviewed.
- Silent Reading: Students are asked to imagine, as they read the article, that they are children in the Palmieri family going through Ellis Island.
- Class Discussion: Were their predictions correct? How would they have felt going through these tests? Were the tests reasonable?
- Role Playing: Students volunteer to act out the inspection process and convey the emotions involved. Class discussion to follow with "actors" reflecting on the emotions and feelings involved for the immigrants.
"Search for Ancestors pages 38 and 39"
- Survey: Teachers asks students if they know from what country their ancestors emigrated and when.
- Student-Family Connection: Students question family members on ancestors and return the next day with names and dates if possible.
- Computer Research: Teacher reads article and models on a computer how to explore the Ellis Island website.
- Independent Research: Students use the website for family members.
- Follow-Up: Students create either a family tree or report on family members that emigrated to the United States.