Living the Legacy


Identity, Independence, and Becoming American Jews

Unit 1 , Lesson 3

Jewish Women's Archive - Living the Legacy

Identity, Independence, and Becoming American Jews

Notes to teacher: 

Parts 1 and 3 of the lesson can be done as art projects or as creative writing projects. The directions for doing them as art projects precede the directions for doing them as writing projects. It’s important to note that teachers need not be trained art teachers to direct students in these art projects. When you are ready to have students make their collages, you can invite in the art teacher, a community member, or a particularly artistically skilled and articulate student to talk about the basics of composition in five minutes, if that would give you and your students more confidence in taking on the art projects. You may want to display the students' art work in your classroom afterwards. If you choose to do the large body outlines and don't have sufficient room to display them, you can photograph them and post the photos instead of the originals.

Part 2 of the lesson can be done as a homework assignment in between classes or as a 30 to 45 minute discussion during class time.

It’s also important for teachers to consider that including art both as a way for students to figure out what they think and as a way for students to demonstrate their learning can increase some learners’ enthusiasm for and understanding of the work. Moreover, a lesson on workers’ identification as “Americans” and how that developed through their work and peer group experiences, lends itself to a multi-media assessment as a way of getting at layers of nuanced feelings and attitudes. The lesson will serve this purpose just as well if Parts 1 and 3 are done through expository and creative writing.

Of equal importance when conducting this lesson is sensitivity to and appreciation for students’ diverse backgrounds that may or may not be apparent from looking at the students. Such diversity may include being adoptees, children with same sex parents or more than one set of parents, of mixed or non-white race, and ethnicities and/or religions other than Ashkenazic or Sephardic Judaism, etc. These qualities, which may seldom be revealed in the classroom, will likely become quite pronounced in this lesson.

The following biographies can be used in connection to this lesson:

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Living the Legacy - Lesson: Identity, Independence, and Becoming American Jews." (Viewed on April 24, 2014) <>.