America – West Side Story

This America – West Side Story lesson plan also includes:

Anita's iconic rooftop ode to American life in West Side Story is the focus of a instructional activity on immigration. As class members listen to "America," they follow along with printed lyrics, and discuss whether they agree with Anita's assessment of life in America.

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Instructional Ideas

  • Pair with a viewing of the film
  • Have drama students come in and act out the song for your class
  • Use the discussion questions as a writing prompt
Classroom Considerations

  • Prior knowledge of the show would be helpful but isn't required
  • Lyrics are based on the film version of West Side Story, which differ from the play version
  • Based on the demographics in your class, discussion of the quality of life in American may arouse emotions
Pros

  • Lesson is focused on the needs of English language learners
  • Adds an engaging element to a lesson on immigration
Cons

  • None