"This project has helped me connect with my classmates and the world around me. I feel like a spiderweb of connection." -Piera
We are Mrs. Bessias's 9th Grade World Literature classes at Durham Academy in Durham, NC. and we created this project as a way to acknowledge and learn from the immigrants living around us. c_period_collage.jpg The project was started by two classes in 2011 and resumed by two more in 2012. Each year, the classes collaborated on the project while meeting at different times during the school day. Using Moodle, Wikispaces, and Google docs, we created and edited this web site and planned an exhibition to which the immigrants, our families, and the whole school community were invited. We discovered that immigrants' stories are incredibly diverse. Some left their homes as successful students to pursue further education. Some fled from dangerous circumstances into even more dangerous ones before they arrived in the US. Some feel totally at home in North Carolina, while others feel the loss of home and family quite strongly, even after decades away.

“I feel like I bonded with a lot of people over the course of this project, it’s been moving, motivating, and inspirational. As a class I feel like we have grown. I feel like we can walk away from this with better knowledge of the experiences that people went through to get here, when we were just luckily born into it.” -Emma

This project was a big experiment; neither teacher nor students had done anything quite like it before. In each year, we spent about three months developing it. The experience was exciting and sometimes frustrating as we designed it on the fly. We hope that it was also a positive experience for the immigrants who participated. We are very grateful to them.

Please share your comments or questions; we'd love to hear them. Every page in WikiSpaces has a discussion forum that you can use if you create a profile (just click "Join"). If you'd rather use email, our teacher will pass along messages: tina.bessias@da.org.
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"I learned a lot about my interviewee’s country... Also, I think learning to coordinate with someone who isn’t always on the same page as you is a very important skill we learned." - Nash