One of the benefits of mentoring a student teacher is that I get to learn a lot, too! Last year Ms. B employed “Gallery Walks” and we found them highly engaging. Students get out of their seats, get to interact with primary documents, and are immersed in content very quickly. I’m glad to continue doing them and give her credit for teaching her mentor an excellent strategy.
This week conducted a Gallery Walk to introduce “thinking like a historian” and investigating primary sources. We used a variety of images to build a gallery and explore on Tuesday and Wednesday. Students experienced galleries of images around 4 experiences of immigration:
- Mexican-American farm workers
- Japanese-Americans during World War 2
- European & Chinese immigrants during the late 1800’s
- A Hungarian immigrant’s Declaration of Intention (and other Ellis Island documents)
We needed lots of time to discuss and analyze these primary documents, then finished with some creative, first-person writing to reflect on the process. Simultaneously in ELA classes, students were interviewing a family member for their Personal Immigrant Stories. These experiences provided an opportunity for students to collaboratively explore immigration through different experiences. We’re making progress toward developing an understanding of the complex social, economic, cultural and political reasons why people emigrate to America.
Inquiry has been a driving force throughout this unit. Last week we brainstormed
some open questions in response to what we learned about Immigration. This week who took those questions and created essential questions to guide our research. Ultimately, we’ll develop claims, which serve as an answer of sorts to the essential question. Students have unique questions to research, and their context (time period, nationality, push/pull factors) varies by interest, too.