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EL- Civics Lesson Plan: History of Immigration

Lesson Basics

Class level: Beginning Topic: History of Immigration
Length: 2 hours


The student will be able to:

  • Categorize examples of nativism according to four types.

  • Identify examples of Stereotyping, discrimination, hate crimes, and laws affecting immigrants.

  • Compare personal or current anti-immigration incidents with historical anti-immigration incidents.

  • Give examples of Nativism throughout the long history of immigration in the United States

  • Interpret symbols on a map to determine the number of immigrants from their home countries/continents to the United States over time.

  • Read a time line

  • Create a timeline of their personal immigration history.

Language skill primary focus:
X Listening X Speaking _X Reading _X_ Writing

Benchmarks from Virginia’s Adult ESOL Content Standards:

  • S3.2a Produce speech that is usually understood by the sympathetic listener.

  • L3.2b Respond appropriately to questions with familiar vocabulary and short learned phrases.

  • R3.3b Respond appropriately to questions with familiar vocabulary and short learned phrases.

  • W3.2b Develop writing using chronological order.


  • Online Access

  • Prezi

  • PowerPoint

  • Handouts 1 & 2

  • Read-Write-Think Timeline Tool: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/timeline_2/

Stages of the Lesson Plan

Warm Up/Review.

Grouping Strategies:
whole group

Materials Needed:

PowerPoint and/or Handout 1

Activity Steps:

Students will look at pictures of 4 people and guess their job. Have students look at the pictures on slides 1,2,3, and 4. Have them vote what each person’s job is. Have a student keep a tally on the board. Optionally, have students complete Handout 1 as you go through the slides.


Picture 1 is a Supreme Court Justice (Sonia Sotomayor) slide 1

Picture 2 is a

Discuss the correct answers: Assuming most stereotyped, discuss why most people thought each person had a different job than they do.

Introduce the term ‘stereotype’. (PowerPoint Slide 4)


  1. Stereotype ac

Have students think about Americans. Some possible guiding questions:

  • When you hear the word American, what is the first thing you think of?

  • What are the images you see in movies and on T.V of Americans?

  • What does an American look like?
    What does an American man look like? woman?

  • Where do Americans live? What do their homes look like?

Have students brainstorm as many ideas as they can about what they or other people think or have thought in the past about what an American is.

Discuss their ideas- are all Americans like this? These are stereotypes.

  1. Show PowerPoint slide 1-and discuss the definition of stereotype. Ask “Who is this? It is Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Maria Sotomayor. She is the first Hispanic justice on the court. Then, continue with the others. They are:

Kindergarten Teacher (Rocco Marchionda) slide 2

Construction Worker (Katie Stamps) slide 3

Policeman (Patrick Griffiths) slide 4

3. Have you heard stereotypes about your nationality? Perhaps share some of the stereotypes.

  • What happens when people are stereotyped? Sometimes discrimination, hate crimes, sometimes laws are made targeted to certain groups of people based on stereotypes.Discuss the words ‘discrimination’, ‘hate crime’ and laws that target immigrants. You can use PowerPoint Slides 4-7 to guide the discussion.


Immigration History
Grouping Strategies:

Whole Group

Materials Needed:



Handout 2

Activity Steps:

1. History of Immigration in the United States- Prezi

  • Discuss nativism beginning with the definition on PowerPoint Slide 8

  • Review the different forms of nativism:

    • Stereotyping

    • Discrimination

    • Laws

    • Hate Crimes

  • Use the Prezi time line to introduce students to the long history of immigration and nativism against immigrants in the United States.

2. Exploring Types of Nativism:

  • Use PowerPoint slides 14-18 to explore different types of nativism against the Germans in colonial times and beyond.

  • Have students use Handout 2 to note which pictures demonstrate each type of nativism for the German row.

Guided Practice

Categorizing Types of Nativism

Grouping Strategies:

Pairs or small groups
Materials Needed:

  • One computer or tablet per small group or pair

  • Immigration PowerPoint

  • Handout 2

Activity Steps: Categorizing Types of Nativism

  • Have students look at various pictures on the PowerPoint of nativism against the Irish Catholics, and the Chinese. Have students categorize them according to the type of nativism.

  • Write on the board, “What is this?” “This is…” In pairs or small groups, have students ask and answer the question, ‘What is this?” “This is discrimination”, “This is a hate crime”, etc. Review as a whole class first.

  • Have students gather in small groups or pairs around computers or tablets. They will ask and answer the questions and use Handout 2 to note which pictures demonstrate each type of nativism for rows 2 and 3. If needed, guide students through completing the second row about Irish Catholics providing the level of support needed by your unique students. *If you don’t have the necessary technology, you can print out the pictures from the PowerPoint, or display pictures on a large screen one at a time and have students discuss each one.

Communicative Practice

Line Drill

Grouping Strategies


Materials Needed:
Handout 3: Line Drill pictures, cut

Handout 3 copies or projected on screen

Activity Steps:

Line Drill

  • Project the line drill sheet on the screen. Review the four types of Nativism with students. Have students look at each column. What are these examples of? Write on the board, “What is this?” “This is…” Have students answer, “This is a law that affects immigrants”, “This is a hate crime”. Etc.

  • Hand out cut out line drill pictures to the students and have them do a line drill, asking and answering the question. See teacher resources for directions on how to do a line drill.


Current examples of Nativism
Grouping Strategies:

Whole group, individual
Materials Needed:

  • Bring in pictures that show examples of current Nativism.

  • Infographics (links in teacher resources)

  1. Use PowerPoint slides 26 and 27 to review the cycle of immigration and nativism against the most recent immigrants.

  2. Brainstorm current examples of nativism as a class.

Use pictures on PowerPoint, the infographics in teacher resources, or local examples you collect, and/or these guiding questions to get the discussion going:

  • Have you personally experienced stereotyping, discrimination, hate crimes, or laws targeted to immigrants?

  • Have any of your family, friends, or neighbors experienced nativism?

  • Have you heard reports on the TV or in the newspaper of nativism?

  1. Review each type of nativism- stereotyping, discrimination, hate crimes, and laws affecting immigrants.

  1. Categorize brainstormed examples according to type. If you don’t have examples of some of the types, see if you can come up with some examples.

Optional: Discuss- What are some ways to combat nativism?


Grouping Strategies:

Materials Needed:

Activity Steps

Ongoing evaluation, especially in

  • Communicative Practice phase during the line drill

  • Application phase when students categorize brainstormed examples

  • Extension phase when students create their own time line,


Personal Immigration Time Line
Grouping Strategies:

Pairs, Small Groups, or Whole Group
Materials Needed:

Read Write Think Timeline Creator

Personal Immigration Time Line:

Discuss students’ personal immigrant experiences. Use these questions to guide the discussion, as appropriate.

  • Who was the first person in your family to immigrate to America?

  • When did they immigrate?

  • Who was the most recent immigrant in your family?

    • Why did they come? How did they come?

Have students create a time line. It can be very simple- the year and the name of the person for several people in their family, or more complex- where they first lived

Additional Optional Extension 1
Grouping Strategies:

Pairs, Small Groups, or Whole Group or individuals

Materials Needed:

Online access

Link to Interactive Map

Immigration Interactive Map

Have students explore the number of immigrants from their home countries to the U.S. over time and location in the U.S.

Additional Optional Extension 2

Grouping Strategies:

Pairs, Small Groups, or Whole Group
Materials Needed:

PowerPoint Slides 36-38

Activity Steps

Have students brainstorm (in pairs or small groups if they are able, or guide the discussion as a whole group)

  • What types of things did immigrants in the past bring from their homeland?

  • What specific objects did each group bring? Use PowerPoint pictures to guide the discussion. How are the items similar?

  • What did you bring when you immigrated?

  • Optional- Have students bring in items or pictures of items from their native countries.

  • Extend the discussion to include intangibles- what do immigrants bring from their native lands? Customs, traditions, language, recipes

Teacher Resources:
Warm Up/ Review:

PowerPoint link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxnwTyxcFX9fV09FSlhfVUM0ckE/edit?usp=sharing


  • History of Immigration Prezi: http://prezi.com/oo9vxyi83wba/edit/#56_156106

  • The Prezi is designed with multiple layers, choose the level of depth based on the unique needs of your students. For example, you can skip some of the written sections, focus more on the pictures with your own annotation at the student’s level, and you can choose to watch the videos or not.

  • PowerPoint link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxnwTyxcFX9fV09FSlhfVUM0ckE/edit?usp=sharing

Guided Practice:

PowerPoint link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxnwTyxcFX9fV09FSlhfVUM0ckE/edit?usp=sharing

Communicative Practice:

Line Drill, Handout 2

Line Drill Activity Explanation

Line A stays still. Each person from Line B stands in front of someone from Line A. The pairs practice asking and answering the question. Then all the students in line B move one person to the right and the new pairs practice the dialog. The last person in Line B goes to the beginning of their line.



Use these resources to discuss current examples of nativism:

  • Infographic- Immigration Detention Boom: https://www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/frontline-map-us-immigration-detention-boom

  • Arizona’s SB 1070 infographic: https://www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights/whats-stake-sb-1070-supreme-court-infographic


Read-Write-Think Timeline Tool: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/timeline_2/

Optional Additional Extension:

Interactive map of immigration:


Choose a country and scroll thru the years to see the history of immigration from that country

Suggestions for adapting the lesson to higher levels:
Warm Up:

  • Use Poll Everywhere to have students vote for what each person’s job is for the stereotyping activity.

  • Perhaps create charts with topics for the Stereotype activity- pass around and have students work in small groups to add to them..

    • (If you think students will find ‘Americans’ offensive, you can say “people in the U.S.”, etc.

    • People in the United States are…

    • Food in the U.S. is…

    • Americans on TV and in Movies are…

    • American homes are….

  • Have students List 4-5 stereotypes of a group you belong to- race, religion, gender

  • Read these 2 statements. Do you agree or disagree?

    • #1
The United States is a sanctuary for the world's victims of oppression and poverty, and provides hope and opportunity to start a new life.

    • #2
immigrants to the United States are treated very differently than natives.

How do natives know people are immigrants? Are their guesses always correct? Why? Discuss first generation immigrants vs. second or multi-generation immigrants

Your presentation of the Prezi can be more in-depth. Extend the lesson by watching the videos.

Guided Practice:

Discuss each slide in more detail.

Communicative Practice:

Line Drill: Use additional cards, so each student in both lines have a card. You can add or substitute pictures with only words, include other historical examples, and/or use some current examples of nativism.


Use the cartoons in slides 28-30 to discuss and review the waves of immigration and nativism.

Have students brainstorm recent examples in small groups.

Provide a rubric for time lines


Time lines can be more detailed and include more writing

US Citizenship Questions which could be addressed in this lesson:

Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?

  • American Indians, or Native Americans

Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.

Cherokee, Navajo, Sioux, Chippewa, Choctaw, Pueblo, Apache, Iroquois

Creek, Blackfeet, Seminole, Cheyenne, Arawak, Shawnee, Mohegan, Huron

Oneida, Lakota, Crow, Teton, Hopi, Inuit

What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?

  • Africans, or people from Africa

What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

  • U.S. diplomat, oldest member of the Constitutional Convention, first Postmaster General of the United States, writer of “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, started the first free libraries

Where is the Statue of Liberty?*

  • New York (Harbor) or Liberty Island

What is freedom of religion?

You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.

What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?

  • Pacific (Ocean)

What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?

  • Atlantic (Ocean)

Handout 1

Match each person with their job:

Police Officer

Supreme Court Justice

Kindergarten Teacher

Construction Worker

Match each person with their job:

ANSWERS Handout 1

Police Officer

Supreme Court Justice

Kindergarten Teacher

Construction Worker

Handout 2
Directions: Have students take turns asking and answering the question. Write the slide number under each type of nativism.

A: What is this?

B: This is _______________.

(Stereotyping, discrimination, a law, a hate crime)

Types of Nativism

Immigrant Groups



A Law

Hate Crimes




Line Drill: Handout 3

The Alien Enemies Act of 1798:

  • To become a U.S. Citizen, you must be a resident for 14 years (up from 5)

  • Aliens are “Liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured, and removed”

A German was lynched by a mob

In 1718 a law was made that did not allow Catholics to vote.


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