Lesson #11
Home Up Reading #5 Vocabulary #5


Urban America

Background and Rationale: 

This lesson begins the third week of a unit which examines coerced Irish migration to Iowa for a grade 10-12 advanced placement, American Studies class. Having concluded discussions the previous week on Famine Ships, individual migration, settlement of Iowa , and the nature of farming, the focus of this lesson is on the Famine Irish as the precursors of urban America .

Why study urban Famine Irish? Lawrence J. McCaffrey cites Famine Irish as the precursors of the American ethnic urban experience, setting precedents and patterns of urban life (1991, p.1). Therefore, their history is the history of the urbanization of American.

Objectives and Procedures: 

(50 minute class period)

Given the following activities, the students will:

Identify characteristics of urban life
Examine urban networks

Teaching strategies:

Vocabulary building (vocabulary terms are defined during the lecture)
Guided reading


Sequence of Events:

Minutes 1 through 5:
Administrative functions (attendance)

Minutes 5 through 10:
Topic introduction/hand out materials

Minutes 10 through 15:
Lecture: Irish as the precursors of urban America / Review Irish immigrant networks

Minutes 15 through 20:
Reading #5: Immigrant Irish in urban Davenport

Minutes 20 through 25:
Preparation for presentations

Minutes 25 through 30:
Individual project presentations

Minutes 30 through 35:
Individual project presentations

Minutes 35 to 40:
Individual project presentations

Minutes 40 through 45:
Individual project presentations

Minutes 45 through 50:


Reciprocal Teaching: Individual project presentations
Note: As students have created both knowledge and meaning through their project, presentations allow students to teach the class what they have come to understand, fulfilling the intention of the reciprocal teaching technique.

How will I know this is working?

            a) Questions and response on urban America
            b) Enthusiastic presentations

Associated projects: Presentation of individual projects

Readings : Reading #5