Immigration Day is a school wide learning experience at John Read

Eighth grade students display their group suitcase which represents values, traditions, religious beliefs, skills and trades that are important to the family in the book they read as a group. From left are, Arielle Landau, Emma Thomas, Mari Rooney, Sam Gaspar, Isaac Losacco, and Christina Cottrell.

The annual John Read Middle School Immigration Museum took place on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. It was the culmination of the eighth-grade interdisciplinary unit, which explores the movement of various ethnic groups from their homelands to the United States. Students approached the study of immigration from a variety of disciplines.

In social studies, students researched their personal ethnic heritage, and discovered why many came to the U.S., where they settled, their typical first jobs, problems they faced, important people from their immigrant group and their contributions to the U.S. Additionally, students researched their family backgrounds and ancestry.

In language arts, students read novels and memoirs about the immigrant experience both past and present, and created suitcase exhibits, which visually represent the important values, traditions, skills, and trades that immigrants bring with them when they leave their homeland behind.

Passport documents and found poems explained the experiences of the immigrants in their book and required students to extend their understanding of the novels beyond their pages.

In math, students produced informative charts and three dimensional graphs which demonstrated student understanding of immigration statistics.

A science lab centered on the Statue of Liberty provided students with the opportunity to explore the history and science of the statue including engineering practices, use of materials, and the effect of physical and chemical processes and the effects of corrosion on materials.

World Language classes produced a variety of children’s books, videos, and other creative projects which afforded students the chance to explore their chosen language of study in a new and authentic manner.

Along with academic classes, the John Read Middle School chorus and orchestra took part in the day’s activities, treating guests to two short concerts, including songs which reflect pride in our heritage and the immigration experience.

Eighth grade students created a Heritage Quilt that is hung in town hall. Each student created a quilt piece which reflected each students connections to their ethnic background and to an ancestor who migrated to the United States. — Kaitlin Bradshaw photo

With the help and guidance of Kyle Evans, the Science Technology Integration Coordinator, students created timelines, books, comic strips games, and videos using iPads and a variety of software and Internet applications.

Parents and other family members, town and education officials, and John Read Middle School staff and students enjoyed all aspects of this museum, including the baked goods prepared by students and served by the John Read Middle School Parent Teacher Association. Copies of these recipes are available in a cookbook on the main web page of John Read Middle School.

Students’ heritage quilts and other art work will be on display in Town Hall and the Mark Twain Library this month.


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