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Through the Eyes of an Immigrant


Third graders have been learning about immigration in the early 20th century, exploring what drove people to leave their countries, homes, and families to come to America. On Monday, the boys went to Ellis Island, where they viewed artifacts and primary sources. Some looked on the Wall of Honor for the names of their own ancestors who made it to America's shores via Ellis Island.


Soon the boys will participate in a Mock Ellis Island activity at school where they will assume the identity of an immigrant making his way through processing; they will be interviewed by teachers posing as health, education, and character inspectors.


This rich unit of study piques our boys' curiosity when they delve into the narratives of characters who jump off the pages of books to become real people. The boys experience what coming through Ellis island felt like, providing them with greater understanding and empathy.


The factors that drove and continue to drive immigration to this country are complex and important for all citizens to consider, explore, and reflect upon deliberately. Through this unit, our young boys learn to assume the perspective of "the other" and to switch the lens from which they normally view the world. This is a valuable habit for all of us to embrace.

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