Lessons

The Nanny's Child: Economic Factors in Migration

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Blanca works as a nanny. The two-year-old child she cares for is the same age her son Guido was when she left him with her mother in Paraguay 10 years ago so she could earn money in the United States. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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Blanca and her son, Guido, play in Corona, Queens. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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Blanca leaves her apartment building in Corona, Queens. Her commute is over an hour long. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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Blanca tries to convince Guido to go play outside during his third week in New York. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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Blanca holds the boy she cares for as a nanny. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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The view from Blanca's hallway. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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Blanca and Guido in the house where she works as a nanny, during his second week in the United States. Her parental role had been limited to frequent talking and texting while he lived abroad, so they needed to adjust to living together. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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Alone in his room, Guido plays a game on an iPhone Blanca's friend gave him. Without summer camp or friends, he spends most of his time at home alone while his mother works or commutes. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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Blanca hugs Guido. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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Blanca waits to pick up Guido during his first week at a 2,300 student middle school. She took the week off to help him settle in to school. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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Guido dribbles a basketball outside his home. A soccer fan, he is learning about basketball in an attempt to get comfortable with New York City culture. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2014.

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Guido in his living room five months after moving to New York City. He has become popular at school and attends an after-school program occasionally, but he spends most of his free time at home alone playing video games. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Guido in math class. He and his mother struggled to navigate New York City's complex high school application process and ended up having to re-apply after being matched with a school that was an hour and a half away. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Guido in the cafeteria at lunch time. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Guido plays basketball with friends during school recess. He has become popular, but his grades are low. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Blanca checks her phone as she begins the long walk home after work. She calls and texts Guido often during her commute. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Guido and his friend Dilan, a recent immigrant from Colombia, work together in science class. Guido's English has become strong enough that he translates for other students in class. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

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Blanca holds Beethoven, the Shih Tzu she got to assuage Guido's loneliness, at home. Image by Alice Proujansky. United States, 2015.

Use Visual Thinking Strategies to look at the photo essay From Paraguay to New York City: Class Struggles (Resource 1) as a group. (15 minutes)

Looking at photo number six, you’ll make observations about the photograph that will help you understand its meaning. You’ll be like a detective, collecting visual evidence. (Teacher, ask the class these open-ended questions. Follow up on student observations with further open-ended questions, but try to push the students to look more deeply and back up their ideas with visual evidence rather than offering your own opinion.) What do you see in the photo? What is happening? What do you see that makes you say that? What else do you see? What do you think this story is about? What else do you want to know?

Now choose another photograph from the series to discuss as a class. Answer the same open-ended questions: What do you see in the photo? What is happening? What do you see that makes you say that? What else do you see?

When a photographer takes a picture, she has thousands of moments and objects to choose from. She could photograph the sky, an embrace, a close-up, a wide shot, a smile, a frown. But she chose this one to tell this story. How does this photograph’s use of color communicate a feeling or idea? How about its shapes (composition)? Background? Movement? Does the photo remind you of anything in your own life, or things you’ve seen?

What do the photos tell you and what do you still want to know?

Listen to How an Immigrant From Paraguay Reunited with Her Son (Resource 2) with the whole class. (10 minutes)

Take notes while you listen. You will probably have more than one answer to each question:

  • Who are the characters in the story?
  • Where does the story take place?
  • When did it happen?
  • What happened to the characters?
  • Why did it happen?

Turn and talk to a partner: which of the Seven Economic Principles influenced this story the most? In which way? Share out. (10 minutes)

Write a paragraph explaining how the story was shaped by one of the Seven Economic Principles. Use evidence you saw and heard. (10 minutes)

Educator Notes: 

Materials

Computer

Internet access

Projector

Paper

Pens/pencils

The lesson guides students through closely observing photographs, making inferences about the images’ meanings defended by visual evidence. Teachers lead this activity by asking open-ended questions; Visual Thinking Strategies has sample videos that can help educators ask open-ended questions to build visual literacy, as does the Responsive Classroom.

This lesson is most effective with students who have a basic understanding of economic concepts.

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