This Tuesday was Immigration Day in fourth grade, a day-long simulation of early-1900s immigrant voyages to the United States through Ellis Island. Each student prepared for Immigration Day by journaling from the perspective of a specific immigrant for a week beforehand. On Tuesday, students arrived with carefully chosen outfits, luggage, and food to reflect the time period. Throughout the day, each student shared his or her story of why coming to the United States was worth the cost and hardship.
In the classroom, fourth grade immigrants purchased tickets for a steamer, traveled in first class or steerage, viewed photos, and listened to audio and video recordings of actual immigrants who entered through Ellis Island. When the steamer arrived in New York Harbor, fourth grade immigrants left the classroom to view the Statue of Liberty and progress through our school to the Ellis Island Baggage Room. They were tagged (and in some cases, re-named) before moving on to the Great Hall for medical and legal inspections. The day ended with each immigrant being granted entry to the United States, and an Ellis-Island-style meal in the gym, served family-style.
Check out the photos below to get a better sense of their experiences!