Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Virtual "Visit" With Victoria!

Over the past few weeks, there have been several sightings of a fourteen year-old resident of 97 Orchard Street, Victoria Confino, in Greenville County, South Carolina. She’s been transported via video conference into the classrooms of the entire 5th grade at Greenville County Schools—eight classes in total.

If you live more than a stone’s throw outside New York City, but know a student who you would like to Meet Victoria Confino, check out our Virtual Visit with Victoria program. From their home classroom, students take on the role of new immigrants in 1916 and virtually “visit” a costumed interpreter portraying 14-year-old Victoria Confino in her tenement apartment through a real-time video conference.

Educator Jess Varma as Victoria Confino

Visitors ask Victoria questions about adjusting to life on the Lower East Side. Students’ questions, interest, and level guide the Costumed Interpreter’s story through topics such as why people immigrate, cultural adaptation, the immigrant communities of Manhattan’s lower east side, and the definition of “American.” This program may be adapted for all levels of American History.

Here’s how it works:

1. Teacher prepares students for Confino Program using Distance Learning Teacher Preparation Materials, a step-by-step introduction to the experience of immigrating in 1916, the lower east side, and tenement life using the power point and activities provided as well as the Tenement Museum website,

2. Teacher works with students to brainstorm questions to ask Victoria Confino.

3. Students virtually “visit” with a Costumed Interpreter portraying Victoria Confino in her restored tenement apartment and interact with the costumed interpreter to ask questions about her apartment, jobs, clothes, food, culture, language, school, fun, etc. to learn her immigration story, and discover what their new lives will be like at 97 Orchard Street.

4. (Optional) Teacher leads students in a follow-up discussion of whether or not they would want to live at 97 Orchard Street in 1916 and engage in an age-appropriate activity that bridges the experience of immigrating in the past with the experience of immigration in the present.

The Museum uses a Polycom EX ViewStation unit for this program. Organizations that are setup with a similar unit, Polycom or other brands, should be able to participate. For more information, or to schedule a visit, email or call (212) 431-0233 ext. 255

--Posted by Education Associate Sarah Litvin

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