Family Migration Study
"Where does my family come from? Where do traditions get started? Am I the first traveler in my family or were there others before me?"
As I began digging into my past, I found out that my excitement and desire to travel and explore is deep rooted within my family history. I found a common thread between them and myself that I would not have noticed before. My ancestors came to the new world in 1629 and were some of the first settlers, founding the town of Keeneyville in Pennsylvania. This made me wonder how much my students actually know about their family history and traditions, and which ones they might still practice today, even hundreds of years later, and they never knew.
I am hesitant to embark on a "Family Tree" project with my students because families are so different and diverse nowadays that many families don't fit into the traditional "tree" (Delacruz, 2012). Some of my students live with relatives, and naming names of historical or current family members might cause controversy within the Muslim world. Some of my students are refugees of Libya who need their families to remain anonymous, while others have family members within the Gaddafi regime. Also, some students might come from different Muslim backgrounds (Sunni vs Shiite). Instead, I think I can approach "family trees" and migration studies in the form of traditions.
My students could perform their own research of a family tradition or occurrence (i.e. traveling in my case) that dates back many generations. Students who dont currently live with their families can think of a tradition that they relate to, take part in or like (most likely religiously affiliated), and find out where it comes from or originates and if it has changed over time. This tradition could be a simple ritual that happens during a holiday (ie- its tradition for my parents to give kids new pajamas on christmas eve) or a tradition that is purely family related (i.e.- game night). Through the research of traditions, my students who are from different countries can explore how one another celebrate culture, religion, and their families. My 9th graders would then create a mixed media revealing traditional symbols and meaning behind their traditions as well as their contemporary twist on how the tradition has changed from when it started until now.
Finding similarities between my ancestors and my decisions really made me feel connected about the world of today and the world of yesterday. It really opened my eyes to how cause and effect impacts the world. Perhaps my students will find out something about themselves they never knew was there.
Delacruz, E. M. (2012). What Asian American artists teach us about the complicated nature of 21st century Americans’ multilayered, transcultural, and
hybridized identities and art practices: Implications for an intercultural and social justice oriented approach to teaching art. In S. K. Chung (Ed.),
Teaching Asian art (pp. 234-240). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.