Immigration Project Page
Basic Description of the Project
- It is October, 1895, and you and your family are leaving your
home country in Europe for the U.S.
- Your job is to prepare the character of your immigrant (life
story, clothes and other possessions, etc.) and establish relationships
between your family members
- Your family must create a 6-8 minute documentary video
chronicling this journey
- you will be assigned certain information you cannot change (age,
wealth, education, health, etc.)
- Using this information, and your historical research, you will
create a complete autobiography (or life story) for your character
- This needs to fit with the other stories of your group, or
Key Questions to Cover in Your Documentary
- 6-8 minutes in length
- Must maintain the seriousness of this journey
- Dialogue & interviews should reflect character description
and help to convey the problems, realities and dreams of your family
- Stay true to time period (dress, activities, language, etc.)
What you will turn in:
- Why are you leaving?
- What are the economic and religious conditions in your homeland?
- What are your hopes and dreams for what will happen in the
- What possessions are most important / irreplaceable? Why?
- What elements of your life & character will help/hinder your
success? What strengths/skills do you bring to America?
- What was your journey across the ocean like?
- Detail your experiences being porcessed at Ellis Island.
- What were the realities of your first 2-3 years in the
U.S.? Did they match up with your hopes and dreams?
- Evidence of your research (notes, highlighted article printouts,
- Your autobiography (rough and final drafts)
- A list of all the items in your costume and the posessions you
are bringing with you
- Your Family Tree (one per group)
- A typed copy of your script (one per group)
- Your final documentary on DVD - see me if you need help
converting your project to DVD (one per group)
autobiography is where you flesh out the basic identity you were given
on your identity slip into the full identity of your immigrant.
Doing a complete, quality job on your autobiography is absolutely
critical to your success in this activity You need to do 2
drafts of your autobiography. The first draft is simply the
written answers to each of the items below. The second draft is
written out completely, telling the whole story of your life. No
one will read your autobiography except your teacher. Include the
following information in your autobiography. (Number all
information 1 to 12 in your autobiography next to where it appears in
your final draft).
7. Health and Education
- full name, fatherís
full name, motherís full name
- sex, height, weight,
build, hair and eye color, complexion, scars and any other important
- Birth place and date
- Previous address
(nation plus specific rural or urban address)
- Marital Status (married, divorced, single)
- Name of husband or
wife and any significant information about him/her.
a. Have you had any physical diseases?
b. Have you ever been in poor mental health? (If yes, where, when, why,
c. How many years of education have you completed? Mention where you
wen to grade and High schools and college, if you went to any of these
a. List your previous jobs and lengths of time you held each job.
b. How many jobs have you held in the past year? Why did you leave each
c. Were you ever apprenticed to learn a trade?
d. Have you any training in a particular skill?
e. What are your future career hopes?
a. If you have been in trouble with the law, tell when, where, and why,
b. How much timehave you spent in jail? If any, explain in full why you
were incarcerated, where, for how long, and with what consequences.
a. Indicate whether you are wealthy or poor.
b. If you are wealthy, what exactly is your wealth? (cash? objects?)
c. What is the source of your wealth? (inheritance? your effort?)
a. Did you belong to any political party in the country that you are
b. Are you apathetic (donít care), moderate, or extreme in your
political convictions? Explain thoroughly.
a. What religious faith do you follow, if any?
b. Do others in your family follow the same or a different religious
Links for Research:
Experience at EllisIsland.org
Ellis Island (at the National Park Service site)
A good site that
lists names by ethnic background
Where are you
from? Check Google Maps Europe