Social Studies Mentor Text Linky & a Freebie!

For the past three years, I have been part of the Teaching American History Grant in my district. This summer the three years ends and the grant is over. Unfortunately, the federal government is not extending any of these grants at this time.  The leaders brought in so many experts in the field of history, we were given tons of resources, and offered trips to New York, Washington, D.C., and St. Augustine. The timeline of study was the Revolutionary War to Immigration. Next week is our last summer institute. The three years did come with some work on the part of the participants. We had lesson plans to write along the way and we were observed by the leader of the grant. All in all it was a wonderful learning experience that I'm happy I participated in.

The content area of today's Mentor Text Linky from Collaboration Cuties comes at a perfect time. I just finished writing my final lesson plan which was on the topic of immigration. We had to incorporate literature and my partner and I chose  Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say and The Memory Coat by Elvira Woodruff. Our plan focus was on comparing the immigration process at Ellis Island and Angel Island. These two books offer nice background knowledge, mixing fact and fiction. We also created a PowerPoint with more information and photographs of these two places.

In this first book, the author reminiscences about his grandfather's journey to America from Japan and describes the cultural differences. I especially like it because the author uses his own family's experiences as the basis of the story.

The Memory Coat is the story of a Jewish family leaving Russia for America. It describes their life in Russia and how they almost didn't make it past Ellis Island into America.

To round out a study of immigration, this book Shutting out the Sky: Life in the Tenement of New York 1880-1924 is a good resource, especially for the upper grades. It tells the story of five immigrant families and the struggles of acclimating to America. There are a number of photographs which brings in the use of primary source documents.

After reading these (or other books about immigrants), your students can write a point of view narrative. After gathering factual information, they start by creating a profile of an immigrant by filling in this prewriting form. Students can then use this information to write an historical fiction narrative.
Click HERE to download a copy.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Thanks for stopping by today! Enjoy your week!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm sad I don't teach this time period! Maybe I can still work in some of these great books! :)
    ideas by jivey
    Follow me on Facebook!

  3. I love Grandfather's Journey-I always use it for Reading but I've never thought to use it for Social Studies. thank you for the other suggestions. These look fantastic!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  4. Perfect and I'm ordering them this afternoon! Wow! I loved this post. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  5. Found your blog through the linky. We studied immigration this year, and I think we delve even deeper next year (as I am moving from 2nd to 3rd) I am glad to have found this. We are lucky enough to be near Ellis Island, so the kids know a little bit about it. I am still pushing for field trip funding for a trip there! My students are almost all from immigrant families from Jamaica or West Africa, so I am thrilled to find this!

    I am your newest follower!!
    Diary of a First Year Teacher

  6. I love Grandfather's Journey. That used to be in our 3rd grade anthology. I have not heard of the others. This grant sounds like it was an awesome opportunity. Too bad they aren't continuing it. That's sad. Thank you for the freebie!! :O)

    Thank for linking up! You are a book guru and I'm going to be blog stalking you soon for all of your poetry ideas since that's what I want to start with this year!
    Collaboration Cuties

  7. Gina, this is a wonderful lesson plan and a fantastic experience for the students. Immigration can be the strangest concept or the most direct concept for many of our children. Sharing important, and beautiful, literature such as these two books creates a sense of wonder and gives permission for all to dream of better lives with effort. (I cannot remember where I was, in the past two years, but part of a presentation was a fabulous study of Angel Island. A teacher in our county had the privilege of attending an NEH or Lehrman workshop and broke our hearts with the stories.) If you have not yet been trained in DBQ, you are a perfect person to share this type of sharing in the classroom.

  8. The Memory Coat sounds fantastic-adding ANOTHER book to my wish list! Thanks for sharing Gina! Sounds like you were involved in a great project and now we get to lots of ideas from you!!!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  9. What a fabulous list of books! I am excited to incorporate these this year!
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack

  10. Thank you for sharing. I am always on the look out for books and ideas for expanding on them.
    Grade School Giggles

  11. Thank you for the idea. Now i can try my own.


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