Immigration Unit

Larrabee Elementary and Western Washington University working together. Dr. Karen Hoelscher and students in her ELED 425 Methods of Teaching K-8 Social Studies are working together!

Ellis Island Simulation!

The big day!
10:15-11:00 Set up in the gym. Larrabee students will take recess time to change into costumes and direct parents to the gym.
WWU students change into costumes and help move tables and chairs.
11:00-11:45 Simulation
11:45-12:15 Debrief in Portable C

Day 6 (Wednesday)

Task: Students share their plans for costumes, Larrabee and WWU!
Karen will introduce a family tree and model how to use it. WWU and Larrabee students will begin to complete individual trees.

Day 5 (Monday)

Task: Tie up all loose strings before the simulation next week.
Students should be finished with:
Letter to America on blog (immigrants)
Letter home on blog (processors)
Return letter to WWU students on blog (immigrants and processors)
Name tags (immigrants) These should have string attached (some Larrabee students will need help with this)
I.D. badge (processors)
Letter on parchment (immigrants and processors)
Plan for costume (if desired, students do not have to dress up if they don't want to!)
Review of checklist completed (immigrants and processors)

Day 4(Wednesday)

Task: Larrabee and WWU students review the Immigrant Checklist forms. These can be a bit confusing, especially the health section! The forms will set the stage for character development and how students can develop a characters demeanor: general apperance and actions, vocabulary, accents, costuming, etc.

1. Checklist: Ask Larrabee Students about their character, problem solve how to successfully navigate the stations' processors discuss the aspects of judging/grading they will do on 3/5 (what tricks might be used?)

2. Character Development: Who will you (WWU Students) become? What will you look like, act will you work together as a family on 3/5? What information do you need to get/discuss to establish a character? On a sheet of paper create your characters (Larrabee and WWU).

3. Publish Letters on parchment paper

4. Blog if there is time!

Day 3

Task: Larrabee students post letters to blog, WWU students respond. (Some great letters came in!) Below is the correspondence between D.S. writing as an aged immigrant named Maria and the response she received from Missy writing as Ellis Island processor Loretta. Enjoy!

Dear Loretta,
My name is Maria Milano and I am Italian. I hope to Immigrate America. I am pleading for your help so I can get into America, "PLEASE HELP ME!" I am very glad that I'm coming to America to see new things that I've never seen before. I've dreamed and dreamed about this day. What are people like there? I am poor and I'm going to see my kids in America. It's been 13 years since I've seen my kids.I miss my kids so much. Can you help me find them? How will I get there? What should I bring? Are the streets made out of gold?

Maria Milano (D.S.)


Since I have come to America I have been blessed with many opportunities. I came to this country in search of a job and a better life. Is that the same for you as well? I still miss Italy; it will always be home to me. The streets in America are not actually made of gold, but the opportunity this country provides is worth its weight in gold.

I would love to try and help you immigrate, but I’m not sure how much help I can be. I simply work as a processor at Ellis Island, what most Italians call: "Isola della Lacrime" (island of tears). Italians call the island that because so many of us get sent away, not allowed into the country. My own mother was sent back because one of the inspectors noticed she was weak and ill. I can only help you by telling you what to expect.

You will need to find a ship leaving for America. It will be a long, uncomfortable journey, but it is the only way. Due to traveling on a boat, you will have to narrow your luggage down to one large bag. You can’t bring more than you can carry, otherwise it will get too heavy or stolen easily. Just bring your bare necessities.

When you get to Ellis Island you will be numbered, sorted and sent through various inspections to check your physical and mental health. Immigrants are valuable to this country because they will work for less, so inspectors only allow immigrants who could become a laborer. Make sure you are in the best of health when you come so that you will not be sent back.

I would also love to help you with your children, but I need to know more about them. What are their names? Do you know where they live? Most Italian immigrants live in New York; they might live in Little Italy.

I hope all of this information will help prepare you for immigration into America. Let me know if I can help you with anything else. I hope to hear back from you soon!


Loretta (Missy)

Day 2

Student Groups:
WWU Larrabee

Revise draft of letter home (processors) or to friend/relative in America (immigrants)
  • Students are now at various stages, some have completed rough drafts, some are still drafting, and some have not yet begun. Drafting is easier with an understanding of the conditions in the immigrant's homeland.
    Letters include: setting, feelings, needs, fears, etc.
EALR's: Writing:
  • Collects additional data and revises.
  • Uses multiple resources to identify needed changes (e.g., writing guide, peer, adult, computer, thesaurus).

Day 1
  • 18 Immigrants
Peter Kalm, Alexandra Rembienska, Wolfgang Fahrbarker, Alexander Bellmotski, Hankelene Varsa, Mary Mieczislawski, Plato Aristophanes, Natasha Bezuhov, Gunnar Eduart, Josephine Roche, Pirkko Ericson, Leonard Capone, Leopold Schick, Maria Milano, Marina Piatkowski, Sophia Ferrari, Conrad Van Bruen
9 Processors

Antonio Popolini, Aristotle Pegas, Hilda Brunstedt, Ellen Pollack, Loretta Piranini, Theodosia Callicrates, Nikola Medvedev, Thor Heyeram, Arno Sorenson

Activity Groups:
  • Books/videos (Ask Mike to pull these)
  • Immigrant IDs
  • Processor IDs
  • Student guides?
  • GSs 1-8 notetaking pages. (Sites to correspond with questions?)
  • Name tags: tagboard, markers, string. Can the nametag be a pouch to hold checklists etc.?
  • Folders?
Feb 5th: At Larrabee
Feb 7th: At WWU