Inside Out and Back Again: Immigration

Connections to Literature: Inside out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Immigration)

Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai is a reflection of the authors early years as a refugee from Vietnam to the United States. Lai's verse novel highlights the powerful themes of immigration and the struggle to find acceptance in diversity. Students will develop their understanding of issues in immigration that are prevalent in American society today. To view and edit the full lesson open the PDF or .docx below. 

Curriculum Connections: 

  • History: World History, US History, Government, Civics, Immigration  
  • English: Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai 

Newsela Article

Learning Objective and Essential Questions

By answering the Essential Questions and in their discussions, students will develop their understanding of issues that are prevalent in American society today. For this lesson students will explore the following issue in writing and through class discussion:

  • Immigration.
  • This lesson can also be used for English to make connections to Thanhha Lai’s Inside Out and Back Again or it can be used solely as a Civics Lesson.
  • Students in a Social Studies class can also read excerpts from the novel, as the chapters are written in poem form and can be read as stand alone pieces.

Essential Questions:

  1. What responsibility does a nation have to those who are vulnerable in society? (children, disabled, etc.)
  2. Should the United States make exceptions for children who come into its borders illegally?

English Connection: How might Ha’s experience as an immigrant be similar to those that children still experience today? What can we learn about what it means to be an immigrant from both the articles and the novel?

Learning Standard

Common Core Standards for Social Studies:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.6
Evaluate authors' differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors' claims, reasoning, and evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.8
Evaluate an author's premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.

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