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My Family's Immigration Story


Students learn the history of their family's immigration to the United States through research and interviews with family members; and they will communicate their family's story through Spanish writing and speaking. Students will also engage the stories of their classmates' stories. This project follows several lessons on immigration, refugee rights, and translation of international human rights documents. Prior to this project, students have learned how to conjugate the preterite and imperfect verb tenses.

Learning Objectives

The purpose of this project is to help students:

  • Develop an understanding of the causes of immigration from Latin America to the United States

  • Develop an understanding of the Dominican Order's beliefs about immigration policy

  • Discuss human rights abuses related to undocumented immigrants

  • Write and present their own family's immigration story in the target language

  • Listen to another person's story and be able to re-tell their story in the target language

  • Edit and provide meaningful feedback to one's own essay and a partner's essay

Materials & Technology
  • Handout 1: Speaking Assignment and Rubric

  • Handout 2: Writing Assignment and Rubric

  • Handout 3: Peer Editing Worksheet

  • Handout 4: Listening Assignment

  • Presentation software (e.g. Powerpoint, Google Slides)

  • Projector


Day 1 (Friday):

Handout 1 is distributed which provides an overview of the project and includes a rubric for the Speaking Assignment. Over the weekend, students must interview family members and research the story of how their families immigrated to the Unites States or migrated to Chicago. Students will complete the 1st draft of the Writing Assignment (Handout 2) and submit on Monday. The Writing Assignment includes the written story of each student's family immigration story; and it must be 10-12 sentences, written in Spanish, and answer the following questions using the preterit and imperfect tenses: 

  • Who immigrated and where did they come from? (Preterit and imperfect)

  • Who made the decision to move and why? (Describe the historical/social context of the move) (preterit and imperfect)

  • When did the move happen? (preterit)

  • What kind of work did they do when they arrived in the United States? (imperfect, unless duration is mentioned)

  • Did part of the family stay behind? If so, do you maintain contact with them?

  • What were some of the challenges your family faced when they first arrived in the United States? (imperfect)

  • Highlight all preterit verbs in red, highlight all imperfect verbs in blue

Day 2 (Monday):

Students are guided through a self-review of the 1st draft of their Writing Assignment (Handout 2). Then, each student must swap stories with a partner and complete Handout 3: the Peer Editing Worksheet. Students in Level 1 must also receive edits from the instructor.

Day 3:

Students begin work on the final draft of the Writing Assignment (Handout 2). Students also begin work on the Speaking Assignment (Handout 1). The Speaking Assignment includes an oral presentation of the written story and a slideshow or poster of at least 5 images and no words or captions. Students describe their written story during their oral presentation without reading from it​.

Days 4-6:

Students present the Speaking Assignment. During presentations, each student must complete the Listening Assignment on Handout 3.


The following activities are graded:

  1. Written Assignment 

  2. Speaking Assignment 

  3. Listening Assignment

Examples of Student Work

Click the icons below to view examples of Kelly Dinh's work for this assignment

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