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1 Hour
1 Day
8th - 11th
1929 - 1945
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Academic Standards (1)

CCSS English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.9: Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12: topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

NCSS C3 Framework

  • D2.His.2.9-12: Analyze change and continuity in historical eras.
  • D4.4.9-12: Critique the use of claims and evidence in arguments for credibility.
Illustration showing a woman working while a baby sleeps on her back
Work and Rest by artist Jean Charlot and printer Lynton Kistler

Key Terms and Concepts

  • Great Depression
  • repatriation
  • deportation
  • welfare
  • Latinx

Essential Questions

How have our changing beliefs and attitudes about belonging impacted immigration and migration throughout American history and today?
What impact do xenophobia, forced migration, and deportation have on individuals, families, and communities?
What does it take to reconcile the past and repair wrongdoing in order to establish a more inclusive and democratic sense of belonging?


Mexican Repatriation During the 1930s

Students will engage in close reading of diverse texts related to Mexican repatriation by taking Cornell Notes and will practice speaking and listening skills during a Socratic Seminar.


Warm Up (1)

  • Have students freewrite for three to five minutes in response to the following African proverb: “The true tale of the lion hunt will never be told as long as the hunter tells the story.”
  • Facilitate a brief discussion about their interpretations of the proverb and how they think it applies to the study of history.

Close Reading (1)

  • Provide students with a variety of texts about Mexican repatriation in the 1930s. The assortment below includes written, audio, and video content from a diversity of authors and sources (museum, government, journalist, historian, student). You can assign students to read them all, do a jigsaw reading within small groups, or differentiate the task by assigning different texts to different students. (It is recommended that students use at least three).
  • Pass out copies of the Cornell Notes worksheet and go over the directions as a class. Tell students to take notes as they read about Mexican repatriation, but to leave the “summary” section at the bottom blank for now. If this is their first time using the structure, spend some time modeling how to take Cornell Notes. Explain that this method for taking, organizing, and reviewing notes was developed by Walter Pauk, an education professor at Cornell University. Allow sufficient time for students to complete the readings and finish taking notes. Depending on your judgment, readings can be done in a single class period, as homework, or spaced out over a series of days.
  • Divide the class into groups of three to five students. With their group, have students review their notes and add any new things they learn from each other. Then, instruct groups to work together to write a summary at the bottom of the page.

Socratic Seminar (1)

  • Use the following prompts to facilitate a Socratic Seminar where students will critically engage with the topic of Mexican repatriation. Students will all read the same texts in preparation for a formal discussion where students answer open-ended questions and build on and respond to each other’s answers. 
    • What differences did you notice among the texts? Consider specific things, like differing estimates of how many people repatriated, as well as more subtle things like tone, point of view, and bias.
    • ii. Use these critical literacy questions to draw out differences between the accounts—Who wrote the story? Who benefits from the story? Who is missing from the story?
    • iii. Did you know about the period of Mexican repatriation before this lesson? If so, where did you learn about it? Why do you think this topic is left out of most American history textbooks and curricula?
    • iv. Misremembering means to inaccurately or imperfectly remember. How does historical misremembering perpetuate discrimination and oppression? Can historical misremembering be remedied by education? How does this apply to the experience and history of Mexican Americans?
  • Explain that, while both the state of California (Mass Eviction to Mexico in 1930s Spurs Apology) and Los Angeles County (“Los Angeles Apologizes for Role in Massive Deportations”) have issued formal apologies to the victims of Mexican repatriation, the federal government has yet to do so.
  • Listen to the story of the Los Angeles fifth graders who successfully fought to have Mexican repatriation taught in California schools (“The Kids Who Got ‘The Mexican Repatriation’ of the 1930s Into California Textbooks").

Exit Ticket (1)

Have students write for three to five minutes, relating what these student activists did to the proverb from the start of the lesson: “The true tale of the lion hunt will never be told as long as the hunter tells the story.”