Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Student-Centered, Project-Based Approach to Teaching about Immigration

On Monday, October 26th, we invited more than 50 students and their teachers from selected Long Island schools to come together to discuss immigration law and policy at our Teach Immigration Student Forum, a full day event held at Nassau BOCES, Garden City, NY.

Their teachers, Dr. Steven Burby and Ms. April Francis, applied for our two-year program where we provide educators with free and current educational materials on immigration law and policy and pair them with volunteers who are immigration lawyers. Together the teacher and lawyer teams co-teach at least two classroom lessons and then help students find their point of view in the production of student-created materials that connect to what they have learned and to share with their school and communities.

At this student forum, seventh-grade students from Lawrence Road Middle School in Uniondale and ninth-graders from the Brentwood Freshman Center engaged in concurrent workshops about visas for immigrants and the President’s executive action regarding immigration. Students worked in groups to learn deliberative dialogue via a partnership with Street Law, Inc., a non-profit education organization, to help them examine immigration reform and issues in the upcoming presidential election using evidence and logic.

“The information the students are learning will effect change in their own community,” said Ms. Francis, Lawrence Road Middle School Social Studies teacher.

 “This is an opportunity for project-based service learning. These students are motivated” said Brentwood English teacher Dr. Steve Burby.


What follows are photos from the forum highlighting the work of participating students. We look forward to continue our work with them and their teachers as they develop service-learning projects. 


Students listening to a session on visas for immigrants and visitors. 

Students writing monologues to explore varied responses to the President’s executive action on immigration.

Students working together to complete the writing task.
A student group participating in a deliberative dialogue on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).



Additional Resources:

  • Teachers interested in the program attended free trainings in the summer of 2015 and the fall of 2014 and were supplied with teaching materials and recommended activities. To learn more about our previous training, please click here.


Stay Connected!

The American Immigration Council offers free lesson plans, resources, book/film reviews, and grants to teach immigration. We also welcome teacher and student book reviews and contributions to our blog. Email us at teacher@immcouncil.org and follow us on twitter @ThnkImmigration #teachimmigration.