Immigration Education Madison Elementary School Fourth- Graders Re-Enact Arrivals at Ellis Island

By Edman, Catherine | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 18, 2006 | Go to article overview

Immigration Education Madison Elementary School Fourth- Graders Re-Enact Arrivals at Ellis Island


Edman, Catherine, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Catherine Edman Daily Herald Staff Writer

Transformations take place at the Gateway to America. Perhaps it's the long lines.

Laura Font thinks it's the nifty clothes: the men's driving caps, women's babushkas, long dresses and layers of clothes.

Once her students dress the part for an Ellis Island re- enactment, they're "immigrants" through and through.

"They become very serious about their parts," said the fourth- grade teacher at Madison Elementary School in Lombard.

Fifty students, dressed the part, spent the day weaving through a series of stations designed to teach them about what immigrants experienced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It's particularly poignant because a lot of the students are, themselves, immigrants.

That helps when it's time for personal histories.

"We interview their families about where they are from," Font said.

The students stop at a full range of stations:

- They meet with legal inspectors immediately after stepping off the "boat," check their names off the ship's manifest and declare both where they are coming from and where they are going.

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Immigration Education Madison Elementary School Fourth- Graders Re-Enact Arrivals at Ellis Island
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