Need an alternative assignment for a Soc. Studies project

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jan 31, 2011

    I need some quick help. I assigned my students (8th grade - resource room) an at-home project for which they will need to interview someone who has immigrated to the U.S. I really want them to understand a couple of basic concepts:

    - the U.S. is a nation of immigrants and we should respect different cultures

    - the U.S. is a land of great freedom and opportunity and we should respect our country

    I'm having them write a brief (2 paragraph) essay introducing their interview subject, come up with 3 appropriate interview questions to add to the 7 I've already written for them, and then submit the completed interview. They will submit each part separately over the course of a few weeks.

    However, I had a few students today tell me that they don't know anyone who they can interview. I find this hard to believe given the multicultural community we live in but I want to give them an alternative assignment if they truly cannot come up with anyone to interview.

    But now I'm drawing a blank. I can't think of an alternative assignment that is equally challenging but not over their heads and also meets the same learning objectives.

    Anyone have any ideas??? I'm very grateful for any help! Thank you!!!
     
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  3. ~mrs.m~

    ~mrs.m~ Comrade

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    Jan 31, 2011

    That sounds like a great project. As I was reading it, I thought to myself that I'd have a lot of students who may not know someone to interview. I am sure most of their parents would though. I don't have a solution except that they'd need a note from their parents saying they don't know anyone. How many students do you have? I wonder if there are people in your school or volunteers who would be willing to help. Of course, a large number of students needing this help would make that too difficult. Good luck with the project. Would you share the questions you gave them with me?
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 31, 2011

    Can you have them read a book about a person who immigrated to the US. They could still complete the interview just using the article or book to get the answers to the questions based on one of the characters.
     
  5. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Jan 31, 2011

    Can they contact a pastor or priest? Such a person may know of a congregant who is an immigrant. It's the rare church which lacks at least one or two people who came here from another country.

    Another option is to contact a local resource like an immigrant aid society and ask whether they could help put students in touch with someone. The Salvation Army, for example, conducts extensive Christmas-time interviews with families who need help - they would be able to help students identify possible interview subjects.

    Lastly, your local university probably has students or faculty who moved here to teach/work. Those people are great subjects, not least because they demonstrate that immigrant status and poverty don't always go hand in hand (so many students think only of immigrants who are undocumented and/or living in poverty).
     
  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jan 31, 2011

    Could they "interview" a famous person in history through some research? We've done this with our juniors before with pretty good success!
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jan 31, 2011

    What is the historical purpose of the interview (i.e. what questions are you hoping the students ask?) I would make sure that you give them some guidelines to make sure the project turns out the way you want it to.
     
  8. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jan 31, 2011

    I gave them basic questions to ask like:

    How do your experiences in the U.S. compare to the country you came from?

    What was your journey like coming to America?

    What made you or your family decide to immigrate here?

    I told them to develop relevant open-ended questions for the 3 additional questions they need tom come up with. So, no questions like "How old were you when you came here" because I don't want brief 3 or 4 word responses. I also told them the questions had to relate to the topic. So, no "What is your favorite color?" type of questions.

    I did consider a couple of the above suggestions - having them read about a person and fabricate an interview based on what they learn. However, my students often struggle with abstract thinking so I'm worried that is going to be very challenging for them.

    I do appreciate the suggestions! Thanks and if there are any more, please keep 'em coming.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 31, 2011

    Could they just answer the questions more in a paper format?

    Maybe you could find a video of an immigrant talking about their journey that you could share with the students...
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 31, 2011

    I like the idea of a video or an interview through research. Another alternative may be to have some community members come in to the school to speak with the students.

    A couple of years ago, our grade 7 and 8 students had to conduct a similar type of interview with a family member (our interviews were to provide information for an historical narrative). While most of our students had parents or grandparents who had come to Canada, several of them did not want to share their stories with their children; they wanted to protect them from the hardships and traumas they had experienced before coming here.
     
  11. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Feb 1, 2011

    Could they interview a family member about how/when the family came to the US?
     
  12. tortega

    tortega Rookie

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    Feb 1, 2011

    What about staff from the school? I would be surprised if none of your co-workers could answer those questions for a student. Perhaps you could ask around for volunteers to be interviewed.
     

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