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Restricting Immigration to the US

This lesson uses the 21st century “travel ban,” ruled constitutional in 2018, as an entry point to explore previous shifts in US immigration policy. More specifically, students will use primary sources to examine social contexts of three specific immigration laws (Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Immigration Acts of 1921 & 1924, and Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952) in order to understand who was banned or excluded from the US and why.

Civil Rights & Disability: 1990 ADA, IDEA, & the Juvenile Justice System Today

Kelley McDermott, History teacher in a Massachusetts Department of Youth Services facility developed this lesson to attract her 8th grade students interest in research and public policy. Historically, students with disabilities are disproportionally caught up in the juvenile justice system. The lesson employs many strategies and tools for accessibility from Emerging America's Accessing Inquiry course. These include a focus vocabulary analysis and Universal Design for Learning plan.

Social Justice Books

From Social Justice Books: A Teaching for Change Project, this powerful site offers more than 60 curated lists of books on social justice and multicultural points of view for children, young adults, and educators. Book lists are organized by topic areas–including Changemakers, Disabilities, Immigration (and specific immigrant groups), Organizing, and Voting Rights! 

Emerging America Lesson Accessibility Grid

 

Emerging America's lesson plan template features a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) grid borrowed from Social Studies & Exceptional Learners (see below). Three columns call for strategies that support the UDL instructional framework. Checklist items suggest tools and activities that could effectively support each element. Brief descriptions below explain how the teacher will apply checked items. 

Disability History Timelines

Analysis of the timelines below can help students to locate important events in Disability History in a larger historical framework. Timelines also offer opportunities to explore the impacts of activism, policy, and social change. Disability History timelines work best when students are also gaining contextual background knowledge about larger social forces and events. Thus these particular timelines are recommended for grades 6-12. 

 

Scan Multiple Timelines 

Social Security: What is the Federal Responsibility to Care for Vulnerable People?

In this lesson, students learn about the Social Security Act and its provisions to care for the elderly, the unemployed, mothers and children, and children and adults with disabilities.  Students will examine several primary source images and documents related to the New Deal era, using a primary source analysis organizer. The lesson offers options in how students can show their learning. This lesson plan has a special feature: the teacher who authored it offers reflections on how teaching the lesson worked with her class when she taught it the first time.

Child Immigrant Experiences of Early 1900s and Today

This lesson encourages students to visualize the journeys and lives of immigrant children in the early 20th century and also of immigrant children today. It features video interviews with kids who have recently immigrated and archival photos of child immigrants from the turn of the 20th century. The multi-day lesson is designed to help elementary school students learn from primary and secondary sources, and also uses historical fiction and imaginative prompts to develop understanding and empathy for the immigrant experience.

In or Out: Race and Disability as Legal Barriers to Immigration

Who gets accepted as a citizen or as an immigrant?  Who is considered a desirable immigrant? Students will work in small groups to examine a primary source text and image set about immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.  They will use the sources to develop a deeper understanding of the hurdles and discrimination many immigrant groups faced. In addition to learning about race-based entry policies, students will observe that many types of disabilities were considered undesirable and would keep an immigrant out.

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