We Were Strangers Too: Learning About Refugees Through Art

Did you know that "in the largest refugee crisis since World War II, more the 64 million people have been forced from their homes"? The Anti-Defamation League presents an activity that asks class members to examine a series of artworks that tell the stories of these refugees. The exercise is designed to encourage individuals to reflect on the crisis, to promote empathy for these refugees, and to develop "support for refugee resettlement."

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Have individuals investigate when their family members first arrived in the US and the kind of reception they received
  • Have groups research the rationale for the turning away of the St. Louis in May, 1939
Classroom Considerations

  • The resource presumes that a protocol has been established for a safe, respectful discussion of controversial issues designed to raise awareness of the world refugee crisis
Pros

  • The 27-page packet includes background information about the refugee crisis, some of the art, links to other images of the artworks, discussion questions, extension activities, and research topics
Cons

  • The activity presumes class members have experience analyzing works of art; therefore, no scaffolding is provided