Art & Sculpture



Academic Essays


Unit Plan Utilizing the Lithuanian Cultural Garden of Cleveland, Ohio

Joseph Houser & Shane Dennison


** Shaker Heights High School & Warrensville Heights High School

**Course: American History (1877-Present), Grade: 10th grade

The following are questions and statements which should be researched and discuss in class in order to have an understanding of this subject – “Immigration in The United States”.

1. What is an immigrant?

a. Why do people leave their home countries to make a new home in America?

b. What is it like to be a newcomer in America?

c. What hardships have immigrants faced?

d. What joys and opportunities have they experienced?

2. America perceived as “land of opportunity.”

3. Ellis Island/Angel Island and the significance of the Statue of Liberty.

4. Millions of newcomers to America: waves of new immigrants from 1830 onward.

5. Large populations of immigrants settle in major cities: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Boston, and San Francisco.

6. From 1880 on, immigrants arrive from southern and eastern Europe.

7. The forces that pushed immigrants from their country and those that pulled the immigrants to America.

8. The metaphor of America as a “melting pot.”

The sample activities suggested are for a 10th grade class.

To begin, we need a sample project that will allow the usage of primary sources while providing for the context in relation to the cultural gardens. The assignment to students, who will be divided into groups of five, will be two-fold. First, they will be given a specific ethnic group to track. During this phase of the assignment several primary resources will be introduced to them that they must utilize. One such source will be the census. The teacher will show the students how to search for each decade by pulling out specific information and numbers that directly apply to their assignment. They will be informed they are to find the overall population of their group in Cleveland between the years 1880-2000. Also, in relation to the ethnic history portion of the unit, they are to use the census as much as possible to track the neighborhoods and overall means of employment for their groups in Cleveland. These activities will extensively expose students to the "People in Societies" strand that is required within the Ohio Social Studies Content standards.  Furthermore, members of each group will be provided with an opportunity to go through past letters and minutes of the garden federation past files to unearth possible links to their cause.

Students must also perform at least one interview per group member. These interviews will be with older persons of their assigned heritage to find out what effect immigration and ethnic history has had on their lives or families lives. The group will be expected to put their findings from these primary sources into a logical and understanding paper. The interviews these tenth grade U.S. History students will perform, directly applies to the 'History' strand included within the OH Social Studies content standards. The State of Ohio 'History' strand states "using materials drawn from the diversity of human experience, students analyze and interpret significant events, patterns and themes in the history of Ohio, the United States and the world."" The aforementioned interview assignment fits like a glove with the states suggested 'History' strand learning objectives.

The second phase of their assignment will involve each group becoming a mini-federation themselves, responsible for creating their own gardens. Primary source uses for this phase will include close observation of the Constitution of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Foundation, which is still in existence today. The Articles of Incorporation would serve as an excellent primary source for the group to study to get a basis for what they might want their individual gardens to represent.  While role-playing (acting as actual federation members) and using their own creativeness, the students will be encouraged to promote peace and ethnic tolerance at all times when incorporating their gardens specifics. By using primary sources and their own innovations, these particular assignments can be rewarding and an excellent addition to any schools social studies curriculum. Finally, this group project encompasses the 'Social Studies Skills and Methods Standard' Strand emphasized by the State of Ohio. By becoming a mini-federation, tenth grade students will be demonstrating the ability of collect, organize, evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources and draw conclusions from this information about social studies issues, as this state strand encourages.