Lesson Plan

Immigration imovie Documentary

Students will research immigration from various countries, write scripts for a documentary, and create an imovie using relevant images and a voice-over.
Christine F.
Classroom teacher
Van Wyck Junior High School
Wappingers Falls, United States
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My Grades 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to...

  • gather relevant information from multiple print and digital resources regarding immigration
  • cite textual evidence of what the text says explicity
  • write an informative text about immigration from an assigned country
  • write a narrative text about an experience of an imagined immigrant
  • develop a script that is clear, organized, coherent, and developed with sufficient details
  • use technology to create the scripts, gather images, and produce an imovie documentary
  • collaborate with a partner to set goals, track progress, and assign roles
  • read with adequate volume and clear pronunciation
English Language Arts
Social Studies
cultural understanding
global awareness
Grades 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Overview of Project

Activity: Conversing

This projects connects well with the 8th grade social studies curriculum, which covers the wave of immigration through Ellis Island during the early part of the 20th century. It is an excellent interdisciplinary project whereby the social studies teacher can be responsible for the fact checking of the content of the students' writing, and the ELA teacher can work with the students on the organization, style, and grammar.

Students will be told that their ultimate task will be to create a documentary about immigration from a country they will be assigned. They will create them using imovie on macs. The work will be done with a partner, with one partner being a third person narrator who imparts factual information about immigration in general from a particular country, and the other partner will assume the role of a fictional immigrant who will recount his or her experiences coming to America. The students will write scripts, then gather images to coincide with their scripts, then finally record their voices into imovie to create the documentary.

The teacher can assign partners or have the students choose. I assign the countries rather than let the students choose because I want the students to use print sources, and there are only so many books to go around in the library's collection. I also want to have the class exposed to a wide variety of countries during presentation time.

2 Research

Activity: Investigating

Class will be held in the library where students will research their assiged country using the folliowing note-taking guide:

Immigration Project

Note-Taking Organizer

Directions:  As you find information from the sources that will be useful to your project, copy the information into the box. Then, put the source number you used. BE SURE TO FILL OUT A SOURCE CARD FOR EACH SOURCE YOU TAKE INFORMATION FROM.








Push/Pull Factors




























Challenges with Assimilation


























Education/Learning the Language


























Place of Residence/Housing












Other Relevant Information












3 Digital Research

Activity: Investigating

In preparation for this assignment, the librarian has created a pathfinder for this project, which directs students to databases. These are available by subscription and will vary by school. The students are told that simply using a Google search to find information may result in inaccurate information, so they are limited to the databses for their research.

4 Writing the Script

Activity: Creating

Students will use the information they have gathered to write a script for their documentary.

This script will employ two different kinds of writing: narrative and informational. The directions students are given are outlined on the following sheet:

Immigration iMovie Project

Writing the Script


Getting started:

  • Determine who will assume the role of the narrator and the role of the immigrant.
  • Review your research and highlight important information that will be useful for your script.
  • Your information will be presented in a logical order and in complete sentences.
  • Narrator’s part will include historical facts about your country (think about the who, what, when, where, why, and how).
  • Immigrant’s part will include specific experiences and opinions (think about the tone you want to portray).
  • Narrator and immigrant will present their information in a relatable and logical order.


Note: The narrator and immigrant should have equal amounts of speaking time.






            Upon arrival as citizens to the United States, Italian Americans, as they were now called, faced financial problems through in large to job discrimination. During the mid 1800s, The “Know Nothing Party,” which was an anti immigrant organization, de-promoted the citizenship rights of Italian Americans. Italian Americans worked, for the most part, unskilled jobs.


            They called America “The Land of Opportunity.”  When I arrived, there were opportunities for work, however, because of job discrimination among immigrants, the opportunities were limited to jobs involving manual labor.  I spent grueling hours digging tunnels, laying railroad tracks, and constructing bridges.  We were paid poorly, but I made just enough money to feed my family.  We lived an inexpensive lifestyle.

5 Typing the Script

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Student will use Google docs to type each section of the script simultaneously on the same document. This way, they will both be able to see the other's writing. Each student should have input in both roles of the script.

The script will be able to be shared with the teacher(s), who can correct it and give feedback before the recording takes place.

6 Gathering Images

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Once students' scripts have been approved, they will begin to gather relevant and appropriate images that correspond to the text of their scripts. This will be an opportunity for students to assess the accuracy and relevancy of an abundance of resources.

Images can be saved in a shared folder on google drive.

7 Making the Movie

Students will first arrange their images into imovie according to where they fit chronologically with their scripts.

Then they will record their voices, adjusting the length of the clips as necessary.

Finally, they will add transitions, titles, and sound or music to enhance the production.

Final movie will be shared on Google drive so that they may be shown to the entire class.

8 Assessment

Activity: Assessing

An abundance of Common Core State Standards are aligned with this lesson, including writing standards for both informational and narrative writing. The language of the following rubric was written using the language of those standards:

Rubric for Immigration iMovie

Partner:_______________________________ Country__________________________

Information on Factual Background: Common Core Learning Standard 8.W.2

                a. Organization: narration, headings and/or graphics are used to

present information logically                                                                                                      1  2  3  4

                b. Development: A sufficient number of relevant facts and details

                is used to give a complete history of the topic                                                                    1  2  3  4

                c. Transitions: Words (spoken or graphically displayed) are used to clarify

relationships among ideas and concepts                                                                                               1  2  3  4

                d. Precise Language: vocabulary that is specific to the topic is used to

inform about or explain the topic                                                                                             1  2  3  4


                e. Language: graded in 8.SL.6

                f. Concluding Statement: follows from and supports the information provided  1  2  3  4

 Narrative Story of Fictional Immigrant: Common Core Learning Standard 8.W.3

                a. Organization: Narrator is described/Introduced ;                                                         1  2  3  4

event sequence unfolds logically

                b. Development: character describes events and reflects upon them                     1  2  3  4

                c. Transitions: uses words to shift from one time frame or setting  to another     1  2  3  4

                d. Language: graded in 8.SL.6

                e. Conclusion: follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences                    1  2  3  4

Research: Common Core Learning Standard 8.W.8

Gathered relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assessed the

credibility and accuracy of each source; and quoted or paraphrased the data and

conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following the MLA format for

citation for works cited page.                                                                                                                     1  2  3  4                                                                                                          




8.SL.4 Adequate volume and clear pronunciation                                                                              1  2  3  4

8.SL.5 Presentation: graphics and/or music strengthen claims

and add interest                                                                                                                                               1  2  3  4



8.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks,

demonstrates command of formal English when indicated or appropriate,

or description and sensory language is used                                                                                        1  2  3  4