Immigration into the United States
Lesson 3--Comparison of Urban and Rural Life in the U.S. and Dominican Republic

Submitted by Kathy Walcott


Students will...

  • demonstrate an understanding of the major climatic differences among Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the U.S.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the differences and similarities among life in rural Mexico and the Dominican Republic and urban United States
  • show an understanding of what it means to belong


Students will...

  • develop an initial understanding of what it means to adapt to a new culture
  • identify perceptions and feelings of recent immigrants from Mexico, the Dominican Republic into the United States

Language: Content Obligatory
Students will...

  • use adjectives such as mal, triste, alegre, feliz, solo, diferente, extraño, to describe feelings of main characters.
  • use descriptive adjectives such as frío, caliente, soleado, nublado, to compare and contrast the climates of the Dominican Republic, Mexíco, and the United States.
  • use comparatives such as, màs, menor, menos, and mejor in order to compare and contrast life in the Dominican Republic and the United States.


Language: Content Compatible
Students will...

  • use phrases such as, a mi me parece que, es posible que, dudo que, yo creo que, mi opiniòn es, in order to compare and contrast life in the Dominican Republic and the United States.

Learning Strategies / Social and Skills Development:
Students will...

  • use imagery to evaluate the main differences among climate in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the United States.
  • summarize the feelings of a main character in one of the books in order to write a paragraph.
  • work cooperatively and complete a Venn Diagram which demonstrates the differences and similarities of rural life and urban life

Time Frame:

This lesson will require about 8 30-45 minute sessions.

Materials Needed:

These are recommended texts for this lesson.  The texts have been selected based on the reading level of students in this program. Some of the listed titles are excellent resources to use as read alouds. 

An additional list of books is listed in the reference section. 

Argueta,  Jorge.  A Movie in My Pillow / Una película en mi almohada. Children's Book Press, SanFrancisco, CA, 2001

Jimenez, Francisco.  La Mariposa.  Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1998.

Miller, Elizabeth I.  Just Like Home Como en Mi Tierra.  Albert Whitman & Co., Morton Grove, IL, 1999.

Mohr, Nicholasa.  El Regalo Mágico.  Scholastic, New York, 1995.  (Use this title as a class read aloud).

Montes,Marisa.  Get Ready for Gabí--A Crazy Mixed-up Spanglish Day.  Scholastic, New York, 2003.

Mora, Pat.  Tomás y La Señora de La Biblioteca.  Drangonfly Books, New York, 1997 

Pérez, Amada Irma.  My Diary from Here to There Mi diario de aquí hasta allá. Children's Book Press, CA, 2002.

Description of Assessment (Performance Project):

Throughout this lesson, students will read a number of books that will help them develop an understanding of what it means to belong to a country. The students will also use the books to compare and contrast countries with The United States. 

Each day after students read they will have time to reflect in a journal and share in small groups.

As a Pre-task for each reading day select a book listed in the resource section and read aloud one of the picture books or a portion from a longer book.This will excit students about their own reading and also serve as another avenue to connect with  the theme of immigration.

Conclude each read aloud session with a time of discussion which focuses on vocabulary that describes how the main characters feel about their immigration. The vocabulary from lesson #2 could be used as a starting point.

Create a list of vocabulary throughout the reading sessions.  Make additions to the list each time new feelings are brought up.  These can be new vocabulary or vocabulary that has previously been introduced to the students.


  1. Read aloud one of the picture books listed in the Suggested Reading List  in order to excite students about this next series of lessons. 
  2. Wrap up the Read Aloud with a short discussion focusing on the feelings related to immigration. 
  3. The first day of this lesson, briefly introduce students to books that they may chose to read independently.   Hold a short Book Talk about each book.  These book talks should entice the students to read the books and become more excited about the topic.
    •  Questions such as the following could be used: What does it feel like to move? How do you think you would feel if you had to leave the country where you were born?  What might be some feelings that you would have if you had to move? The teacher may feel comfortable encouraging students to share their own immigration story or feelings involved with immigration.  This could be done in a formal manner, by asking the students to prepare something prior to this discussion or on a more informal  level in which the students answer questions. 
    • The vocabulary used in this discussion should come from students prior knowledge.  Look for ways to develop new vocabulary and a variety of  adjectives.
    • As the students are involved in the discussion, the teacher will list responses on chart paper.  The teacher will highlight or underline adjectives that are gleaned from the discussion.  This list should be saved for the wrap up of these reading times. 

Students will be directed to choose one of the books that seems interesting and at their reading level. If a student finishes one of the books, then another book can be chosen.

During Task:
Each day give students  time to read.

After the students have read for a 15 - 20 minute period, direct students to respond in journals. Focus the writing session on one of the following topics:

  • comparisons and contrasting urban/rural life
  • adjectives that describe the main characters
  • feelings of main characters
  • comparison and contrasting of climates in the two countries

Post Task:
After students have had a chance to respond to reading, have students share their entries with classmates. 

Journals can be shared in a variety of ways: 

  • Pair-Share
  • Round Table (3 - 5 students)
  • whole class sharing with teacher facilitating and listing comments on an overhead or chart paper

Pre-task for 2nd reading session:
Open the session by reading aloud to the students.  Select a poem from the book,  A Movie in My Pillow, a good choice here would be Cuando Salimos de El Salvador. This poem really shows feelings about leaving a home land. 

Another poem from the same book that would help develop the understanding of comparison and contrast between two countries is Barrio lleno del sol. Read this poem prior to silent reading.  

After you have read aloud the book, create a Venn Diagram with the students.  Encourage students to use vocabulary that describes the climate and lifestyles. After students have given a few examples to be placed in the Venn Diagram explain to the students that today they will write statements that compare and contrast the different climates and lifestyles of  the books that they are reading. 

Post the desired vocabulary on chart paper for future reference.

After students have had a number of days to read and share with classmates their comparisons of the different countries and also adjectives that they feel relate to immigration, have them write a short paragraph one of the following topcis: 

1) climatic differences between life in the Dominican Republic and the United States

2) feelings of immigration

3) similarities and differences between rural and urban life. 

These paragraphs will be read aloud to the class on the final day.  

After students have written paragraphs, have a time of sharing, where students read aloud what they have written. 

Then as a class, complete a Venn Diagram which compares and contrasts rural life to urban life. 

Post Session--after El Regalo Mágico is read aloud to the class

Have students individually,  complete a Venn Diagram in which climatic differences between the Dominican Republic and the United States are compared. 



Journal entries for During Activity and paragraphs written for Post-Activity will be evaluated on a check-plus, check, or check-minus system.  Check-plus being given for a journal entry that is complete and demonestrates correct use of required vocabulary, check given for partial completion of entry and contains few errors, and check-minus given for little work completed and entry contains many errors.

Venn-Diagrams will be evaluated on student's ability to write sentences that use specified vocabulary and explain similarities and differences of the two countries. 

The work will be assessed using a check-plus, check, or check-minus.

References and Resources:

CoBaLTT website for making the Venn Diagram:

Literature Resources:

Ada, Alma Flor.  Me Llamo Maria Isabel. Scholastic, New York, 1993.

Dorros, Arthur.  Don Radio, Un Cuento en Inglés y Español.  Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1997.

Cameron, Ann. The Most Beautiful Place in the World, drawings by Thomas B. Allen.  Dell Yearling, New York, 1988.

Campos, Tito. Muffler Man / El Hombre Mofle.  Piñata Books, Houston, TX, 2001.

Garay, Luis.  The Long Road.  Tundra Books, Toronto, Canada, 1997.

Jiménez, Francisco.  Cajas de Cartón.   Houghton Mifflin Company, Boton.  2000.

Knight, Margy Burns.  Quién es de aquí? Una historia americana.  Tilbury House, Publishers, Gardiner, ME.  1993.

Mohr, Nicholasa.  All For the Better,  A story of El Barrio.  Steck-Vaughn Company, 1993.

Muñoz Ryan, Pam.  Esperanza renace.   Scholastic, New York, 2000. (this book is also available in English)

Temple, Frances. Tonight, by Sea. Harper Trophy, New York, 1995.

Temple, Frances. Grab Hands and Run.   Harper Trophy, New York, 1993.


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