After you have discussed immigrant situations and information, use this expressive writing activity, activating prior knowledge.

Make one or two copies of the questions on this page. Cut out the cards and place them in a paper bag. Have each student draw a card from the bag and read it silently. Then have him write an answer to the question. Ask each child to read his question and answer aloud. Invite other students to add their thoughts.

- adapted from The Education Center, Inc.
THE MAILBOX — Feb/Mar 2002

How would you feel if you had to say good-bye to all of your family and friends, knowing you’d never see them again?

How would you feel if you weren’t able to bathe or shower for two whole months while you were on the ship?

How would you feel if you only owned one or two outfits to wear?

How would you feel if you spent more time doing chores than you did being with friend, going to school, or playing?

How would you feel about working for someone for five to seven years without being paid?

How would you feel about living with your entire family in a one- room apartment or house?

How would your feel if your family had run out of food?

How would you feel if you spoke a different language than the other students in your school?

How would you feel being in the crowded section of an immigrant ship crossing the ocean?

How would you feel going through the examinations on Ellis Island?


Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society