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Moving Stories in Still Images: Teaching Lewis Hine's Ellis Island Photographs


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About This Lesson

Moving Histories in Still Images: Teaching Lewis Hine's Ellis Island Photographs invites educators to use Lewis Hine's classic images to begin an exploration of what we know, what we think we know, and what questions we might have about immigration to the United States. At first glance, the images might seem like symbols of a familiar narrative of American history, however, the guide asks all of us to look deeper and see the human story, one that is both particular to a moment in time, and one that is universal that bridges 1905 to timeless stories of human movement and migration.

The guide asks learners to consider:

What do people bring with them as they migrate from one place to another?  What do people experience as they move from one place to another? And, In what ways are people’s migration journeys similar and different from one another?

While not limited by lesson plan format, the teaching ideas in the guide focus on: perspective-taking, inquiry about migration and making purposeful comparisons, communication across difference, and, recognizing power and inequities

Students will learn and know: about the experience of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island between 1892-1926, about continuities and changes in the experiences and treatment of immigrants arriving in the U.S., and about the many reasons why people migrated to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century.


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