The issues of immigration, the causes of mass migration, the detention of women and children and unaccompanied minors seeking asylum are complex. FIESTA: Focus on Immigration Education and Stories Through the Arts provides resources for educators to counter the fear spread by myths and misunderstandings by empowering students to gain insights into conflicts, and creatively seek positive solutions. The arts are our portal.

We have compiled curriculum and artwork for the book Borders to Bridges: Creativity-Based Immigration Curriculum Guidebook and invite you to share your ideas, and pilot the lesson plans (see Summaries of Lesson Plans in the Borders to Bridges tab). If interested please contact Lynn for details: e-mail:; Focus on Immigration Education and Stories Through the Arts (FIESTA)


Statement of Purpose

School is, of course, about skill attainment and filling the jobs our country needs, but school must also be about learning to get along with and listen to one another – across a wide range of differences… [O]ne of the most powerful ways of helping young people (and adults) understand and value differences is through the arts.
— Nathan, Linda A. (2017) When Grit Isn't Enough: A High School Principal Examines How Poverty and Inequality Thwart the College-for-All Promise. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. (pp. 165-166)

Borders to Bridges: Creativity-Based Immigration Curriculum Guidebook

Statement of Purpose

Our world is experiencing mass migration. An estimated 68.5 million people have left their homelands. War, violence, hunger, poverty, intolerance, unemployment, employment, climate changes, search for freedom, determination, longing, and hope for a better future have driven this exodus. Rather than seeing this solely as a problem, let us instead envision the dynamic fusion of energy in the world as potential enrichment of our communities, broadening of our perspectives, and deepening of our understanding of ourselves and humanity. 

Currently in the U.S., we are experiencing a period when messages of hatred, violence, bullying, and ethnic/racial prejudice, even state-sanctioned child abuse are pervasive. There is an atmosphere of fear around immigration that engenders myths, mistrust, and false rumors: fear of the other, fear of losing identity, fear of being stereotyped and clumped into a group, fear of deportation, fear of being associated with the “wrong” side, fear of persecution, fear of retaliation, fear of isolation, fear of losing our status, our job, our family, etc. As educators, we witness the crippling effects: students riddled with anxiety; others, not normally disrespectful, suddenly spouting racial and ethnic slurs; while others simply withdraw, resulting in an inability to engage in the learning process. 

The need to respond is critical. It is essential to build awareness and resilience and empower all students to reach their potential and embrace new perspectives. The issues of immigration, the causes of mass migration, forced family separations, and detention of children seeking asylum, are complex. Yet, delving into these subjects can counter ignorance and help all students gain insights into problems they face daily, and transfer new awareness to creatively seek positive solutions.

It is through the creative interactions in the classroom that the arts provide to all students – from the most vulnerable to the most privileged – that attitudes transform to overcome fear and bring compassion, empathy, and hope for the future. 

Borders to Bridges: Creativity-Based Immigration Curriculum Guidebook will promote dialogue in schools and community. Presenting more than 50 practical K-12 lesson plans for interdisciplinary connections, this guidebook contains a section on poetry, prose and short fiction, and a section on inspirational personal narratives to be used with lesson plans. The lessons engage students with project ideas and activities using interview techniques, role-play, creative writing, economic analysis, scientific exploration, historical and political research, mural painting, service learning, music, dance, and graphic arts; ideas for sharing information in community performances, exhibitions, art displays, and also, on public access television and social media. They include up-to-date resource lists of news articles, teacher guides, arts resources (books, films, videos, music, photography, media interviews), and service organizations working to further immigrant and human rights. The intention is to advance democratic values, to discover our individual and collective resources, and to foster understanding and more unity in our communities through the arts and education.