VIDA ~ Values for Immigrants Discovering America

Overview Freedom, liberty, rights, responsibilities. What motivates new immigrants to adopt these values? Stories of our heroes, past and present, can challenge youngsters to read about leaders in the news. They integrate Internet research and computer technology with their study of American history and literature. Then, students compare patriots from the past ~ George Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Dr. Martin Luther Jr., etc. ~ with present day patriots ~ Secretary of State Colin Powell, Congresswoman Nydia Vasquez and Governor Gary Locke, etc. They identify values-related quotations and begin portfolios that eventually include persuasive essays, family interviews, letters to elected officials, poems and reflections. Reading stories about Coming to America with non-bilingual kindergartners improves literacy skills and underscores the diversity of America. Local veterans, clergy and older students visit the class and show how good citizens can enjoy a VIDA or LIFE ~ full of positive values and democratic principles.

Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Read How Many Days to America? A Thanksgiving Story along with selected stories about Coming to America.
Answer reflective questions about stories.
Read about values & write a persuasive essay based on theme from selected Coming to America story.
Survey classmates on personal experience & values.
Research famous quotes & include them in portfolios.
Compare values of today's leaders with values of earlier leaders.
Write patriotic poems.
Prepare Flag Day presentations, invitations & programs.
Interview parents in Spanish or English about their immigrant experiences.
Contact kindergarten & arrange weekly read-aloud visits.
Share Coming to America stories & patriotic songs with kindergartners.
Display values survey results on central school bulletin board.
Research elected leaders with immigrant backgrounds & write them congratulatory letters.
Create a gallery of Shared Values of Patriots Past & Present for Flag Day event.
Invite parents, kindergartners, students from local high school & neighborhood leaders to Flag Day.
Answer questions about Patriots Past & Present at event.

Invite veteran from a local post to explain values important in the military.

Invite a minister from a local church to discuss values shown in Dr. Martin Luther King's speeches.
Invite middle school student representatives for round table discussion on values that help with middle school transition.
Research qualifications needed to run for various municipal & state offices.
Compare & contrast qualifications & educational backgrounds of Patriots Past & Present.

Learning Standards English Social Studies

Engage in the analysis of social studies issues.
Make effective presentations.
Use appropriate technologies to present information effectively.

Learning Standards English Language Art

Analyze, interpret and evaluate literature.
Understand and use the writing process effectively.
Understand the structure of words and demonstrate a strong vocabulary of history.

School to Career Competencies

Develop Communication & Literacy Skills.
Use Technology.
Organize and Analyze Information.
Take Responsibility for Career & Life Choices.
Complete Entire Activities.
Interact with Others.
Understand All Aspects of the Community.

Assessment Teacher checks & scores documents in portfolios. Progress in Social Studies and oral English is evaluated by frequent teacher/student conferences and written teacher feedback.

Software or Materials Used For Word Processing, Desktop Publishing, Graphics: Microsoft Office; for illustrating documents: KidPix; for Internet research: Navigator & Explorer; for documentation: digital and 35mm camera; for books on Coming to America.

Web Sites Web Sites on Patriots Past & Present

Keywords American values, American history, Bill of Rights, citizenship, Coming to America, Declaration of Independence, democracy, flag, freedom, immigrants, patriotism, patriots, peace, conflict resolution, responsibilities, rights, poetry, military, The Constitution of the United States, veterans, work ethic

Final Words When new immigrant students investigate American values through news and literature, they balance their own perceptions with those of their parents and other community members. This is an enormous step toward developing a love for one's adopted country and exploring citizenship.

Teacher Tip Internet research enables developing citizens to participate in an ongoing dialogue about the true meaning of patriots. It is also important that students describe their own Coming to America stories to each other before they work with younger children.

E-mail contact Raymundo Rustrian

Teacher Bio Raymundo Rustrian (now at Guild Elementary School) taught Grade 5 Spanish bilingual students at the Ohrenberger Elementary School. Former banker, oil industry researcher and feature writer, he brings to the classroom a business perspective that motivates students to prepare for successful careers. A devout believer in the power of art to inspire learning, he integrates his own watercolor and chalk designs into daily lessons. This teacher capitalizes on his experience as an immigrant from Mexico by celebrating the several Hispanic cultures in his classroom and emphasizing the importance of English for active participation in our democracy. Selected as Teacher of the Year in his school's West Roxbury neighborhood, Raymundo is the recipient of several grants that recognize excellence in education.

Subject Areas Social Studies, English Language Arts

Grade Levels K - 5

Students Bilingual upper elementary students tutor Regular Education and SPED kindergartners

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