Luis Ramirez, oil on canvas, 36x36, by Holli Harmon

Luis Ramirez, oil on canvas, 36x36, by Holli Harmon

Respect the Immigrants


Grade: 11th Grade

Subjects: Immigration, Food Supply,

Class Sessions: 1

Lesson Summary: Immigration has been a part of United States history even before the 1950s. Through the story of Luis Ramirez, students will discuss the contemporary impacts of immigration and view the cultural tension in one immigrant’s story. They will also consider the current food model in california which relies heavily on immigrant labor. Ramirez’ story offers a human-centered window into what is often a highly polarizing, political-jargon filled topic. Consider your classroom’s needs and feel free to adapt this guidelines below.


Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will write a proposition paper proposing a way to give immigrants an easier transition.

  • Students will research and discuss America’s current immigration stance and policy.

  • Students will investigate the way labels can define our perception of others.


-Portrait, interview and Essay on Luis Ramirez by Holli Harmon

-Video interview with Luis Ramirez

- Current resources on America’s Immigration Policy.


Lesson Plan/Essay Question Ideas:


  1. What do you know about immigration? Write whatever they say on the board (make two columns)

  2. Talk about the associations with what they said. The goal is to explore their understanding and opinions toward labels.

  3. What is missing in our current opinion of immigrants? Write these responses on the other side of the board.

  4. Talk about why the ‘missing parts’ aren’t in conversation on immigrants.

  5. Hand out focus questions on a paper for students to take notes on as they watch the interview of Luis Ramirez by Holli Harmon.

  6. Split students into concept groups to read Ramirez’s essay and look for parts of his story that speak to the history they’ve been learning in class.

  7. Come back together to discuss. See. Think. Wonder at Ramirez’s portrait

  8. See possible essay questions for discussion or a paper/art project.

    1. Thinking about the labels we discussed in class, how does Luis’ story affirm or deny those labels? Give specific examples.

    2. What labels define you and your life? These could be about your ethnicity, family history, talents or locale. How do you fit or defy these labels?

    3. What was one new thing you learned about immigration thorugh Luis’ story? Why did it stand out to you?

    4. Think about Luis statement, “I don’t have a political agenda. I just paint farm laborers.” What do you think Luis means? What is Luis saying about art?

    5. Analyze the language of speeches, policy statements and legislation relating to immigration from 1956-the present (select a period) how does this language compare to Luis’ story

    6. How do personal stories help us understand history better? Can they detract from our understanding of history? Why or why not?


Assessment/Standards Addressed:


History and Changing World

11.11    Students analyze the major social problems and domestic policy issues in contemporary American society.

1. Discuss the reasons for the nation’s changing immigration policy, with emphasis on how the Immigration Act of 1965 and successor acts have transformed American society.


Created by: Katherine Kwong Intern F’16