Our week of Reader Ideas continues with this one, by Rachelle Lamoureux, that asks students to take a closer look at the issue of immigration. By the end of the lesson, students showed in their writing how much they were grappling with multiple viewpoints — and how Times infographics and photographs helped them feel empathy and see a complex issue in the context of history.
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Teacher: Rachelle Lamoureux
Institution: Erik Ramstad Middle School, Minot, N.D.
Grade Level: Seventh
Idea: Students gain a deeper understanding of immigration issues today by analyzing two New York Times infographics and a slide show.
Why We Chose It: It’s one thing to tell students that the United States is a nation of immigrants, but taking another tack, as Ms. Lamoureux does here, allows them to see for themselves where people have emigrated from over the decades — and why. Over the course of this lesson, her students challenged their own beliefs about immigrants as they considered multiple aspects of the issue.
What Ms. Lamoureux Did and Why, in Her Own Words
Immigration is a topic that brings many opinions to a classroom discussion — even in my seventh-grade World Geography class. There is a big difference between knowing the definition of immigrant and understanding the personal experiences of an immigrant.
Initially, I expected student discussions to be biased. I was right; many students had their own ideas about immigrants, especially those from Mexico. There seemed to be a consensus that all Hispanics are in our country illegally and do not contribute to our economy, to our culture, and so on. Keep in mind these students are 12 years old. I promised them that I would share lots of ideas with them and that our learning and understanding about immigration might change and ultimately evolve into a deeper understanding.
By The New York Times
Read full article HERE