Ideas for Teaching Immigration

Immigration to America is part of the second grade curriculum in my district and state. I always had a hard time finding resources that met my needs and ended up gathering a lot of ideas over the last few years. I am here to share those with you so you can add them to your toolbox, too! These resources would most likely be appropriate for grades 2, 3 and 4, and possibly some of them could be modified for first and fifth grade!

There are so many terrific books to share with students that help with your immigration unit. Click on any to learn more about the books!



Check out A Learning Affair's great Passport to Family Heritage Project on Teachers Pay Teachers! has some fun lesson plan ideas for grades 3-5! They include an interactive tour of Ellis Island, opportunity to explore immigration data, exploring immigration from Asia to America through Angel Island, and explore an interactive immigration timeline.

Education World has a page that includes many resources for teaching immigration. Check the page out here!

PBS has amazing resources, marked for grades 5+ here. Lesson ideas, videos and more. I imagine you could modify them for fourth grade as well.

Rockin' Teacher Materials (Hilary Lewis) has a great freebie to accompany the book If Your Name was Changed at Ellis Island  (by Ellen Levine) on Teachers Pay Teachers.

In this first video, on the channel A Kid Explains History, a kid named Mr. Q. explains the history of Ellis Island! It's well done and engaging!

This video from maternitybvm and Teacher Tube includes a virtual Voyage to Ellis Island.

Also, National Geographic has this great video (I think intended for adults) on what Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty mean today. I am sure most kids would understand the narration and interviews.

Finally, I ended up creating my own resource for teaching immigration to my students. The resource includes:
  • Vocabulary cards
  • Task Cards
  • Diary entries
  • Reading passages and think about it questions
  • Writing prompts
  • Homework project
  • Immigrant Diary Assignment
Take a look at these images to get a sneak peek. If you want a reading passage freebie, continue to the end of this post!

Grab your differentiated reading passage freebie here
Did we miss any ideas for teaching immigration? Let me know by commenting!

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