Pacific Link: The KQED Asian Education Initiative
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Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

These lesson plan units were developed to work with the video-short Discovering Angel Island: The Story Behind the Poems and the Pacific Link website. There are three elementary level lesson units and one for 8th-12th grade students studying U.S. history or area studies. The elementary Poetry Lesson Plan can also be used for older students, as it is largely a close-text reading of a few of the poems.

A list of additional classroom resources have also been posted here. You may also find more useful resources on the Community Resources page.

Note: The lesson plans on this site require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Additional Classroom Resources

Books for Children

Currier, Katrina Saltonstall. Kai's Journey to Gold Mountain. Angel Island Association, 2005. This story is based on former detainee and San Francisco resident Albert Wong's experience on Angel Island as a twelve-year old leaving for China who journeys alone to America to live with his father. A soft cover of this book can be purchased at Angel Island Association's online gift shop for $14, including tax and shipping.

Harvey, Miles. Look What Came From China. Franklin Watts, Incorporated, 1999. For Grades 2-5, this title focusing on China present a variety of inventions, sports, food, holidays, and customs. A recipe, a pronunciation guide to some foreign words, lists of further reading, and organizations and informative on-line sites are also included.

Hoobler, Dorothy & Thomas. The Chinese American Family Album. London: Oxford University Press, 1994. This resource accessible for upper-elementary/middle school students traces the experience of Chinese Americans using historic photographs, diary selections, letters, oral histories, and newspaper articles combined with general background. The section on Angel Island includes a selection of poems and excerpts of oral histories from former detainees.

Levine, Ellen. I Hate English. Cartwheel Books, 1995. When her family moves to New York from Hong Kong, Mei Mei finds it difficult to adjust to school and learn the alien sounds of English.

Yin, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet. Coolies. Puffin Books, 2003. This books tells the story of a Chinese labor who works on the Transcontinental Railroad.

Yang, Belle. Hannah is My Name. Candlewick Press, 2004. A book for younger children K-Grades 3, author Yang draws on her own experience of coming to America from Taiwan at age seven in the late 1960s to tell an upbeat immigration story.

Educator Resources

Chan, Adrian and Ingrid Seyer. Asian-Pacific Americans: Perspectives in History and Cultures. Proud Heritage Series, 1994. A book/resource for middle/upper grade teachers to plan class activities.

Gravois, Michael. Hands on History: Immigration, Scholastic Teaching Resources, 2004. This book has a great skit on the Chinese Immigration Experience around the gold rush period.

Lai, Him Mark, Genny Lim, Judy Yung. Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940. University of Washington Press, 1980. This book is an excellent source on information on the experience on Angel Island. It contains an overview of the history of the Immigration Station, provides oral histories excerpts from former detainees, and documents the poetry written on the walls in Chinese with English translations. This book can be purchased for $20 plus tax through AIISF at (415) 561-2160 or

Skoy, Jenie. Fifth Grade Reading Connection, Rainbow Bridge Publishing, 2003. This book has 2 articles and reading worksheets that go with it within the workbook.

* All books are available at except for Kai's Journey & Asian-Pacific Americans: Perspectives in History and Cultures.


Carved in Silence Carved in Silence, a 45-minute documentary about the Chinese experience of detention at Angel Island Immigration Station. This video can be purchased for $20 plus tax through AIISF at (415) 561-2160 or The full-length 45 minute version as well as a specially edited 20-minute version is available.

Chinatown Explore the history and contemporary life of San Francisco's oldest neighborhood in this hour-long documentary, Chinatown. Available in English and Cantonese. KQED, (800) 358-3000.

Island of Secret Memories Loni Ding's 20-minute film Island of Secret Memories tells the story about a Chinese American schoolboy who visits Angel Island Immigration Station and learns about the experience of his grandfather's stay there. This is a good resource for introducing elementary students to this material. KQED Instructional Television, 2601 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110. (415) 553-2140. Fax (415) 553-2380.

Other Web Sites

Angel Island: Immigrant Journeys of Chinese Immigrants
An oral history project by journalist Lydia Lum documenting Chinese immigrants and former detainees living in the Houston area . The site is based on a photography exhibit which premiered in May 1998, and includes excerpts of interviews and photographs of the former detainees.

Angel Island Immigrant Station Foundation
The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) is a non-profit organization founded over twenty years ago by concerned citizens and descendants of detainees who were committed to preserving the deteriorating immigration station barracks. AIISF's primary goals are to lead the effort to preserve, restore, and interpret Angel Island Immigration Station, a National Historic Landmark, as the Pacific gateway for U.S. immigration; and to promote educational activities that further the understanding of Pacific Rim immigration in American history.

Li Keng Wong's Angel Island experience on
Former Angel Island detainee Li Keng Wong's story is featured on the Scholastic site, as part of a special feature highlighting Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May 2003.

National Archives and Record Administration 1000 Commodore Drive, San Bruno, California 94066-2350, 650-238-3501. The National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), an independent Federal agency, is America's national record keeper, to ensure ready access to the essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of Federal officials, and the national experience. The Pacific Region San Bruno facility holds hundreds of thousands of records for Angel Island Immigration Station including case files for those immigrating to the United States between 1910-1940. For those interested in retracing family immigration history, it is a good place to start.

Separate Lives, Broken Dreams, by Jennie Lew, NAATA

A companion to Jennie Lew's film Separate Lives, Broken Dreams, this site explores the deep and broad impact that Chinese Exclusion had on individual lives, families, and entire communities in America and China. This detailed and comprehensive site includes a glossary and examples of case files from the National Archives.

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