Sunday, 29 January 2012

Eighth Grade Project on Immigration to the United States

The link I have chosen to analyse is for a Social Studies research project undertaken by eighth graders in Wisconsin, intended to teach them about the history of migration to the United States of America.

First of all, there is a noticeable emphasis made on understanding the various contributions immigrants have made to American culture, and upon recognising that some immigrants (African-Americans in particular) were brought there by force. Although this is a Social Studies project, the instigating teacher clearly wishes to involve other subjects so as to make the project more creative, and therefore a more interdisciplinary subject which can be taught in a variety of 'innovative' ways.

Using such techniques as creative writing and intergenerational studies, the teacher has students create a family tree in order for all American children to understand their genealogy, and that essentially all Americans are immigrants in some form. Interestingly, the school recognises that their 'students' ethnic past is primarily limited to Scandinavian and Central European immigration' and wishes to involve other schools in order to broaden the students understanding of just how vast the origins of American ethnicity are.

The project encompasses 'collaborative research' as well as 'independent research,' tailoring for children that learn in a variety of different ways, and their general aim appears to be 'To gain a thorough understanding of the history of immigration to the United States' as well as a local history, though they accept the limitations of their local history being restricted to specific origins.

The general theories behind the project appear admirable - they want the students to understand the hardships faced by the immigrants, but also the troubles American citizens faced when confronted with such a high volume of immigrants over the years. The students are taught the reasons behind immigration, are allowed to develop a healthy awareness of cultural diversity, and are encouraged to perceive the important contributions the immigrants made; then use this understanding toward understanding their own family and community, and contributions made by individuals therein.

I think this bespoke a very American attitude by developing early diplomatic views on ethnicity, and encouraging a spirit of community by learning the value of each individual. It is clear they want to encourage a positive image of immigration and a deeper understanding of its effects throughout the years. This allows the next generation to grow up with an understanding of their history (something of high importance to Americans who have little enough of one) and an appreciation for an identity within a community (something else we have discovered is very important to Americans.)

Immigration K12 Project

The website that I have chosen is a North Carolina Standard Course of Study with the curriculum area of 5th grade Social Studies for the topic of immigration.

The reason for my choice is because it involves a lot of interaction with the students and to ensure that they do a lot of their own research in order to complete the topic by using a lot of web based activities along with puzzles in order to build upon their vocabulary and develop their understanding on the topic.

There is a lot of focus on Ellis island as being the main port for immigrants between the years of 1820 and 1924 and details that immigrants made a dangerous journey to the port just outside of New York from countries all around the world and that the students at the end of the topic will understand why the "United states is called the nation of all nations."

One of the main reasons as to why I chose this site is that the website is linked to another site called Scholastic which details numerous stories of immigration from yesterday and today.

One story was of Polish immigrant who travelled to America in 1920 when he was 8 years old and he gives his account of his experience coming over and when he arrived in the US.

The website presents immigration to America to school children today to be an experience of hope and the conclusion from the subject is that the child understands why the US is the nation of all nations. Even the accounts from the immigrants are that travelling to America for opportunities and leaving the dark, solemn Europe for a better life. There are no accounts on life after they have arrived and the conditions they lived in with the only negative mention being in the introduction that they were inspected before being allowed in the country.
American Immigration Progect

I chose this website showing a 5th grade social studies project on immigration as I felt it included alot of depth and work in its task. Students are asked to look into detail at the events on Ellis Island during this period. The detail that these students have to go into and the owrk load i feel is vast, showing to me that the curriculum obviously takes great pride in this area of sudy and wants the students to understand it and have as much knowledge on it as possible. Students are asked too:

Students will use the internet in order to view original pictures taken during the immigration period at Ellis Island.
Students will build their their vocabulary by completing a Word Search puzzle and by defining the words related to the project.
Students will develop reading skills by reading a true account of the journey to America told by an immigrant child.
Students will develop their interviewing and writing skills by interviewing a person who is an immigrant from another country to the United States and publishing their story on the web for others to read.

This task includes alot of 'Taking to your classmates' and 'Sharing with the class' therefore I feel the intention is to get everybody interested in and talking about US history and their throught on it even at this young age. To me that shows that schools obviously take great pride in their culture and their history as they are encouraging students to get talking about it and share an interest as ost American roots stem from that of immigrants.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

American Immigration Past and Present: A Simulation Activity

The piece I have chosen outlines a lesson plan for an 11th grade teacher on immigration in the US, being aimed at those in the latter stages of education the lesson allows opportunities for debate and analysis for instance the class have set tasks which allow them to give their own points of view if their origins within the country be of immigration at that point or not. The key task is to analyse these particular figures and the reasons for the increase in the immigrant population and compare to modern America and whether or not this is beneficial to America as a nation (including contemporary attitudes of the American population.) The project given allows the class members to individually pick a particular immigrant group be it related to their own heritage or not and research them including interviews oral and recorded.

The outline of the lesson is to teach those at an age where the media and personal opinions of others upon the subject will dominate their thought pattern about the positive and negative effects that immigration has upon the United States. The class also has the opportunity to look upon their heritage be the foundations of early or late immigration and debate for or against either open or closed borders.

At a point in time where the US a land built on immigration allowing those who entered something to strive for and essentially giving them more hope than living back in the squalid conditions of Europe at that point, this also brings up contemporary immigration which is at a boiling point with the worrying matter being whether or not the US will still be able to accommodate the rising number of immigrants seeking refuge within it's borders.

The piece itself is almost kept at a mediated level allowing for the class itself to make their own decisions about the subject or give them a more diplomatic approach when dealing with the subject outside of an academic environment. This kind of approach to learning is exactly what the US citizens need if they are to be the ones who deal with matters like this when they are older though it asks to throw in the odd success story about those who move to the US this is purely for purposes of entertainment to keep the class interested which is acceptable as the lesson is not aimed at the higher end of the academic scale or an intellectual debate.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Immigration to the United States

I have chosen to look at the following website that is aimed at teachers of 5th graders (10-11 year olds) as an aid in teaching immigration to the United States.

The part of the site I focused on was called “Relive a boys journey”. The website allows you to go through page by page discovering what is was like for a boy of just 8 years of age to leave Poland for America. One thing that is clearly noticeable is the simplicity of the language and how concise each part of the story is, this is a reflection of the age group that the website is aimed to teach. This is also evidenced by the continual use of pictures that link to what is happening in the boy's story at the time.

In the section “New life in New York” the young boy is talking about how he used to sing at school and one of the first songs he learned was “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This being the U.S national anthem and still sung across schools in America today is a way in which the immigrant’s story relates to that of the children that are being taught about him. I also thought it was interesting that this was mentioned as it seems a way of reinforcing national unity even in 2012.

The website also contains activities for the children to do such as “find Poland on a map” or “write about how your ancestors got here.” This an intriguing aspect of the website as it suggests that teachers are informing the children that they are all immigrants originally but they are using this in a positive and almost celebratory way.

This website presents this aspect of U.S history in quite a positive light. It shows how America welcomed the immigrants and how even though this young boy had a cold when he arrived he was not sent back to Poland but recovered and then made it as a star of Yiddish theatre. The website suggests a strong sense of America is the land of the free and the land of opportunity. It seems as if it is trying to reinforce to 5th graders that because you are in America you are able to be a success, even if you were not born here or your parents were not born here you are now in America and that will allow you to make something of yourself.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

American Identity

The website that I have chosen for this weeks blog task is a website called Feminists for Life.

This website acts as a voice for American women and advocates a pro life policy with a women's right to better choices in life and the ability to have an education and career plan without sacrificing her children.

The group was established in 1972 under the name of Feminists for Life of America and they aim to seek solutions for the challenges that the everyday American woman may face with their main values being non-discrimination, values of justice and non-violence. Their main belief is that abortion is a reflection on society and that it hasn't met the needs of women and that women are forced into the decision of abortion.

What is being asserted with this website is that the group are showing the importance of identity because they are trying to make women realise that there are alternative solutions to abortion and they aim to fight society into giving women better choices in life. I found this website to be very interesting as even though this is a feminist group it is against pro choice which in my opinion, goes against the whole idea of being a feminist and making your own decisions.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

American Identity

The AAJC (Asian America Justice Center) is an organisation devoted the human and civil rights of Asian Americans. Founded in 1991 the sites use is purely to make America a safe and caring environment for the Asian community both and native and new, also allowing those in need of aid either upon arrival or during their residence in the country someone to turn to.For instance their vigilance towards hate crimes has ensured harsher punishments for those involved and the chances of these crimes should also significantly lessen due to the passing of comprehensive federal hate crime legislation, which is now law.
The site offers both job and learning opportunities for its users who, new to America will be looking to better themselves in order to have a higher chance of a better job opportunity also making living in America easier as 60% of the Asian American community are not born in America therefore the downward spiral into poverty is almost instantaneous due to their inability to speak the language. The sites provision of jobs in both the public and private sectors also enabling a more comfortable life for those wanting to live and work in America.

Due to the fact that 40% of the immigrants coming to America are Asian the site felt the need to address that despite the Asian immigrant work force being a huge cog in the American machine the issue of mass illegal immigration still needs to be addressed. So the organisation also devotes itself to combating this though I must mention that it also strives to fight against any state anti-immigration laws. The site also provides it's own census allowing for what it sees as a fairer head count when regarding Asian American's and Asian American Pacific Islanders.

The sites youth network allows the Asian American youth to convey their opinions to the site and contribute to future projects undertaken by the AAJC in order to allow for change in their communities. As well as offering jobs to students and graduates to work for the organisation itself to serve on a national advisory board in order to address the issues of racial equality in America today.

The site I feel seems to be running rather smoothly and sophisticated it addresses things like the issues racism and inequality that many Asian Americans may have experience or suffer and does its utmost to reduce these goings on. As well as helping to provide a new start for those just arrived in America which I have rarely seen in an online organisation. Even giving first time visitors to the website the opportunity to volunteer and help the site's progress. Though the site generally seems to fulfill its premise of creating a better environment for Asian Americans in general.

Friday, 20 January 2012

African American Womens Identity in America

  The website i've chosen to analyse belongs to the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (NACWC), and has been an active organisation for African American women since 1896. It promotes the joining of forces to ensure a rise from current positions for all; effectively recognising and uniting all African American women as one and the same, and ensuring the development of them all for future generations.

There is a big emphasis on uplifting the way of life for all Americans by raising the moral standards of their entire race, and the promotion and protection of their rights. It states, 'We, the colored women of the United States of America, stand united for service to humanity,' and encourages anyone of this sex and race to unite with the association and help 'obtain for African American women the opportunity of reaching the highest levels in all fields of human endeavor.'

It considers one African American woman's struggles as belonging to all of them, and by joining this organisation you can hope to rise above your current situation in life with the help of like-minded people from assorted situations. In this respect, having decided this is your common held identity, you are gaining a huge store of knowledge relevant to your racial and gender history, support in your future endeavours and an undeniable unity with people of commonly held goals, worries and aspirations.

Although some could argue at a loss of individuality by finding such a large commonality to define yourself by; in gaining an identity this way, as an African American woman, you are obtaining a lifetime of security and the unique benefits associated with the organisation. It would be very tempting for any individual, especially an American who strives for a sense of belonging, to subscribe to the ideals of an organisation such as this, in order to feel a part of the bigger picture. 

A particularly interesting aspect of this website is the individual freedom it gives you to form your own local group for African American women, yet still be a part of the main organisation. It gives explicit information on how to do so, and encourages responsibility with its variety of required figureheads - critically involving as many people as possible. In this way, individuals will be made to feel important and crucial to others within their common held identity. Giving them not only an identity, but something important with which to do with it.

Membership costs seem to be kept generally low to allow most people to enter, and a milestone of successes for African American women takes pride of place on their 'who we are' tab. Their events and programs are well advertised, and the general feel is that of immense pride. That by recognising yourself as an African American woman you should be proud of your identity and revel in all of the progress and accomplishments your gender and race has made throughout history. In such a way, that by finding your identity you have found your place within the world and accepted your past.

The website's motto of 'lifting as we climb' seems a very accurate description of what being a member of this society entails, and by advocating the African American woman in such a light, the importance of identifying yourself seems all the more important.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

American Identity

I chose to look at this website as I found it interesting that the group were representing gay Christians in the United States as this is something not commonly found. The website offers a meeting place for members of the gay community that hold Christian beliefs because they are not widely accepted into Christian churches.

An aspect of the website I found interesting were the images that were used. There are many religious images to reinforce that the website is a religion inspired website but then there are also images from Hollywood films used. For example there are a couple of images from Brokeback Mountain with quotes from the movie, these are used as a tool to show that the group is accessible to new members and to appeal to younger members who may be finding it difficult to come out in a devout Christian family. The website also uses video clips to show various religious messages, this could be an indication that the gay Christian 101 are now trying to appeal to a younger target audience.

There are many aspects of the website which suggest that the group are trying to create a sense of identity and this is clearly important to them. On the website there is a link to the "101 Community" by having their own community that people can join shows that the group has a unity which is highly important to them. In having this community they are able to build an identity and this will allow them to have a better stand in Christianity and the United States as a whole. Another aspect of the website which links with the idea of community is the link where you are able to "find a gay church," from this we can see the gay Christian 101 group are creating an identity for themselves and becoming known in communities, however they still have to have separated churches. The group clearly outlines their beliefs in the "About us" section of the website. In doing this, the gay Christian 101 have shaped their own identity and again like the sense community this allows them to have a greater stead in the United States and in particular in the Christian community.

Overall, it is clear that to this group that identity is a key way in which they can find their way into the Christian community. Although at the moment they are separated from other Christian communities they are able to practise their beliefs in churches which allows a strong sense of community and thus identity to grow.
American Identity

This website represents the organisation LGBTI ( Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexual Oraganisation). It is an organisation set up to alow individuals who feel they fit this quota to find out information on and express their view points on being within this identity group and explore what options they have and what attitudes towards them are not only within the United States but across the world.

There is an option to look up where these organisations are based within the world due to a map where you locate your country and find where your societies lie. This in itself shows not only a local but a global recognition to this identity, suggesting that it is an accepted identity if not now a celebrated one. The importance of this identity is expressd through this website as members have the option to comment their feelings, experiences and opinions on a question which changes weekly. For example this weeks: 'Have you experienced homophobia or lesbophobia from your healthcare provider?' There is then the option to answer yes, no or to more specific answer groups. This then leads on to further comments. This shows a unity for this identity as members are able to share their experiences and learn more about how them as a society are being treated and what maybe needs to be done to gain themselves more equality.

Information into this identity is vast within this website/organisation as it allows users to see and understand what the opportunities are out there for them. For example there is a section called: 'What are the laws and policies like for LGBTI people in your country?' where you can click onto a number of diferent topic tabs such as ' Armed forces, Marriage and subsitutes to Marriage, LGBTI families/parenting and Gender Identity' These topics then go on to discuss what the laws and options for you are within your area, giving you information and guidlines towards feeling comfortable in this situation within your gender identity.

This organisation I believe therefore is a great source for those who fit this sexual identity as it alows the members not only to discuss amoungst themselves their own expereinces and stories but it provieds outside information aimed to help them through their lives within this identity therefore suggesting that this is a cared about society. The aim of this website/organisation is ultimatly to 'help' showing the importance of the identity as this organisation wants these people to continue on in their lives happy with their identity while being able to get the best out of their life within this and their surrounding area.