Immigration: Stories of Past and Present

By Angela Bunyi on February 25, 2011
  • Grades: 3–5

Immigration: It's About You and Me

Let's Go Back: Taking a Virtual Tour of Ellis Island



Picture 19

Download The Ellis Island Experience_repro.


Picture 18

Download Immigration_Facts_and_Faces_repro.

Coming to America: Student Reporters

My husband moved to America in the third grade from the Philipines. I have often asked him to share his story of arriving in Tennessee: the story of his first photograph taken as he needed one for a passport; his impression of food; his memories of school and learning the structure of our language ("Pencil, may I sharpen?"). I thought I had exhausted all of the stories, but one of my students had the opportunity to interview my husband and help me learn even more through this class project. 

Students were given two weeks to locate, interview, and present the story of a citizen who moved here. From a Holocaust survivor of Aushwitz to aging family members, I found this project to be extremely significant. With so much being taken for granted, it really helps to hear what others are willing to give up to start a new life in the United States. So, if you are interested in completing this project in your class, the work is already completed for you. I recommend at least two weeks for this project and two class periods for sharing interviews. 

And you never know where this project might lead you. We have a Skype video conference planned and are arranging for a Holocaust survivor to visit our classroom. 

Immigration Letter

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 Download this "Immigration Project Letter" for Parents (PDF)

Immigration Rubric

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 Download this "Oral History Rubric" for assessing presentations (PDF).

Sample Oral History Presentations

Take a second to listen to some of our clips. 

An Interview with our school counselor, Ms. Filtness, who moved here from England.

An interview with a student's grandmother who remembers her family immigrating to Texas after landing at Ellis Island.





Oh my goodness. I am not sure you will ever return to read this, but somehow I didn't receive notification of a blog comment.

To make short of this, yes and no on using it. I started the year with it but became overwhelmed with the task of teaching a new grade level. I will revisit it this summer. I believe it to be a good resource and worth the time looking into.



Angela Have you been using calkin's units of study for reading this year? What are your thoughts? I just got the writing ones and they look really god, but I will need summer to delve in. I'm only one doing RW at my school, so it seems to be a good resource.


Yes, there is a company that sells this product- Our local Parent-Teacher store also keeps them in stock, so it might be helpful checking your local store out.

Also, I will check with our tech. team, but the video works on both a PC and Mac on my side for audio. I tried Safari and Chrome myself.

I hope that helps!


I am interested in this class assignment - my daughter many years ago had an assignment to interview a family member, and then write a book (a small bound empty book was used.) It is a great example for teachers and students. Do you know if there is a place to publish this type of teaching aid? Thanks, Mary McGee P.S. The sound is not working on your video on my computer.tjrw8f

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