Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What does it mean to be an American?

Dear East Dragon Den Students,

I'm the Professor from the University of California, Irvine who visited your class a couple of months ago. Now I would like to read your blog comments. Please push your thinking.

I know that some of you come from other countries, or maybe your parents or grandparents do. Some of your families have lived in the United States a long time. Where did your family come from and why do you think they came here? And what does it mean to you to be an American, or to be living in America?

Thank you for your response. And please push your thinking!
Professor Mark Warschauer

40 comments:

  1. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    I really appreciate that you ask this question because, I have always wanted to answer it, but no one has ever asked. I was born in a small town in Mexico, and I've been living here ever since I was a year old. I'm thinking that my parents brought me and my family here because, they wanted what was best for us,they wanted a place where they worked and a place where we can remember later on as that one special spot where we grew up.That's my own personal opinion but if you asked my mom or dad, then they would say, that we came here to chase the American dream, and I can see how my siblings and I are headed that way. It's an honor to be living in America right now, and I don't think I'll ever be able to go back and live there because, in my thoughts, this is were I belong. I'm thankful that my parents brought me to America.
    Sincerely,
    Paola

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  2. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    I was glad to see you ask this question. Not many people ask this question often and I really wanted to answer it. Although I was born here I think it is great my grandparents moved here from Italy. They wanted to start a new life and maybe speak a new language. I am not positive if this is true or not but I think it might be a reason. another reason could be that they weren't treated right back in Italy and wanted freedom. I am proud to live here and be an American just like all my friends and family. We may all come from different countries but we all are here for one reason of our own. You may not have been born here but that doesn't mean you can't have a spot to stand out.
    Sincerely,
    Savannah

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  3. Dear Mr. Warschauer,

    In my opinion I think that me and my family moved from New Mexico to Colorado because we were super poor in New Mexico and when we lived there we lived a little far distance from a train track and when I would try to sleep at night I would always here the engines of the train and the whistle and I would always get out of bed and go see what my mom and dad were doing. When we moved to Colorado my family found a really nice house apartment and when we moved in there I was happy there because it had different weathers all year long. During the winter it was cold during the summer it was nice and warm. I was so happy to be in Colorado that I didn't even think about what was going on in New Mexico and how on the fourth of July they would have a firework show and every time they had it I would always be with my family in the front of the fireworks. In New Mexico I liked it more because I would be able to just park some where and watch the firework show there wasn't any special seatings or anything like that so that was what made me happy.

    In New Mexico if you wanted to see the fireworks you would have to go to the place super super early because if you went when the firework show started in an hour or so there would be at least fifty people there because they all have the same idea  and every one just goes outside and they jump in there cars and they get ready for the fire works but when you were going in about an hour or so then you would be super far from the fire works because the closer you are the better the fireworks are because when you are up close you can here the explosion in the air and it sounds like a gun was fired up in the air.

    If New Mexico wasn't always hot then my family would still be there because when we live there it was hot constantly we would have to use the fans and we would have to always push our blankets of the bed and we would always be nice and cool when we never had any blankets covering us. I used to be so happy when I would go to my grandpa's house and I would feed the chicken and the horses but when I would give the horses hay I saw a donkey that would try to eat the horses hay so I asked Grandpa what that donkey was doing on the other side of the gates and horses and cows? He told me that the donkey would always kick the horses when he joined them so he put him on the other side of the gate.

    My family wanted a better life and they got it and we are living happily and that is what matters is that we are all alive and we are all ok and happy with were we are living.

    Sincerely,
    East Student: Brenden - 10

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  4. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    Thanks for asking this question. I do not hear this question from others. I believe that my parents had come from Vietnam. I think that they had brought me here to America because they wanted me to have a good education and learn new things by teachers. There are schools in Vietnam but probably you would only speak Vietnamese there. So maybe they wanted me to learn a new language or they would learn a new language which would be English. I also think that maybe my parents went to America because they wanted jobs here to have a good life. So that they can get money to buy food for the family so that we may not starve to death. Or even to meet new friends in America. They could want me to have English friends. Just knowing Vietnamese can be tough. You would have to get used to having to learn a new language if you are in America and had come from another country. This connects with the time I had went to school here in America and I spoke Vietnamese since I did not learn English yet but I had learned English words to say to people and students. I did not understand a word anyone was saying. I believe I learned the English words by teachers or my parents. To add on, when I had left Vietnam I had felt despairing to leave to come to America. Once I heard the news that I was leaving Vietnam to go to America I never at all under any conditions wanted to leave home. It would probably take a couple of days to get used to America. I could have gotten homesick. But I was okay when I had went to America for the first time. I am honored to be an American.
    What it means to me to be an American is that we have freedom and liberty. We can go to school for education and be taught by teachers. Anyone could even get a job here in America. All of the opportunitys that I have here in America are great. Such as going to school and using tools to learn things that we do not know. Such as using laptops in classrooms. In America you can be free and have fun. As a kid, you get to run around at playgrounds, play at amusment parks, or anything else. Being an American is so extravagant. If you ask me being an American is so fun for me. I am thrilled to be in America right now.
    I hope my comment answers your big post. Please try to answer back.
    Sincerely,
    Kathy

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  5. Thank you so much, Paola and Savannah. Very interesting!

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  6. Dear Mr. Warschauer,

    In my opinion I think that me and my family moved from New Mexico to Colorado because we were super poor in New Mexico and when we lived there we lived close to a train track and when I would try to sleep at night I would always here the engines of the train and the whistle and I would always get out of bed and go see what my mom and dad were doing. When we moved to Colorado my family found a really nice apartment and when we moved in there I was happy there because it had different weathers all year long. During the winter it was cold during the summer it was nice and warm. I was so happy to be in Colorado that I didn't even think about what was going on in New Mexico and how on the fourth of July they would have a firework show and every time they had it I would always be with my family in the front of the fireworks. In New Mexico I liked it more because I would be able to just park some where and watch the firework show there wasn't any special seatings or anything like that so that was what made me happy.

    In New Mexico if you wanted to see the fireworks you would have to go to the place super super early because if you went when the firework show started in an hour or so there would be at least fifty people there because they all have the same idea and every one just goes outside and they jump in there cars and they get ready for the fire works but when you were going in about an hour or so then you would be super far from the fire works because the closer you are the better the fireworks are because when you are up close you can here the explosion in the air and it sounds like a gun was fired up in the air.

    If New Mexico wasn't always hot then my family would still be there because when we live there it was hot constantly we would have to use the fans and we would have to always push our blankets of the bed and we would always be nice and cool when we never had any blankets covering us. I used to be so happy when I would go to my grandpa's house and I would feed the chicken and the horses but when I would give the horses hay I saw a donkey that would try to eat the horses hay so I asked Grandpa what that donkey was doing on the other side of the gates and horses and cows? He told me that the donkey would always kick the horses when he joined them so he put him on the other side of the gate.

    My family wanted a better life and they got it and we are living happily and that is what matters is that we are all alive and we are all ok and happy with were we are living.

    Sincerely,
    East Student: Brenden - 10

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  7. Dear Mr.Warschauer,

    I did not live in another countries and my Mom and my sister Madison and my Dad and me and my grandparents did not .We are living in America. I am not in another countries and i live in the America. I love to be in America and it is so fun to live fromAmerica and i love to go to school in America and it is very fun to go to school .I am 11 years old and i am a nice big boy.

    I love to be American boy in U.S.A. I love to be a America boy at America . The America is a fun place to be in America.I like to be in America and it is so fun .

    I like to live in America .I love to be in the U.S.A . I love to be in America to go to school. I love to be in America because it is so fun to be in America .

    America is fun because to meet new teacher's and to meet new friend's in the U.S.A . I like to learn in the America . I like to be a America student at East Elementary School in the U.S.A in the America. I like to be in America and it is so fun to live here.

    Your Friend ,Tyler

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  8. Dear Mr. Warschuaer,


    I was born in America but all of the time before I entered East Elementary I lived in Mexico. I have always been asking my parents why they had came to America. But all I got from them was because they wanted to. As I grew up I thought of things why my mom and dad came to America. One of the things I thought was to get out of the state where they were killing people. Another was for money and jobs. Then one day they did tell me why they came to America. One reason was for them that I would get a better education and for more freedom. I asked my parents if they also had came here for money and jobs. They told me yes. I think it means to be American if you respect and take are of the country. Now in Mexico where I live it has gotten noticed and it is getting a few cars and electricity. Before we didn't even have a car or fancy television. But now we do. Here in America we got a good house that is big. In my house In Mexico it was so small before but ever since it got noticed our house has gotten bigger. Also where I live it got noticed y a famous Mexican band that was from there.

    Sincerely,
    Juan

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  9. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    I was reading your post and I am very excited to answer this question, "What does it mean to be an American?" No one has never asked me this question before because normally you would not think about it. You just take advantage of this opportunity and think that it is how everybody lives. I think it is sad that we think that is how everybody lives but anyways, lets get to the big point of this post. I think that being an American means freedom and happiness. The reason I say this is because we are free in America, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and many others. We are not told where to live what church to go to or what to say. Being an American is great. There is no country I would rather live in, what about you?

    My classmates, I know some of them come from different countries and some of the countries are kind of like America but they are not Free like us. Some are free but places like Iraq, Burma, and Sudan usually are not. When I hear the stories of my classmates about their old country it makes me realize that being in America is a privilege.

    Two fifth grade students from Sudan had told me that when they were in school sometimes war had gotten really close to them, the teachers would lift up a carpet and send the children into an underground tunnel and they would sometimes hide there for days. A boy from Indonesia told me that it is a very dirty country and there is trash and crimes. I have heard many other stories to but I can not tell you all of them. I have not not ever thought about this question until you asked me about it... What does it mean to be an American?

    Sincerely,
    Anna
    fifth grade student at East

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  10. Thank you, Brenden, Kathy, Tyler, and Juan for your very interesting comments. You (and Savannah and Paola too) are all so thoughtful and are great writers! It's a pleasure to read your thoughts!

    Talk to you soon.

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  11. Dear Dr. Warschauer,

    I'm from Vietnam and my parent and I stay in America for 5 year and I got to America when I was 6 year old. When I got to America I don't know any things. Also I took a plane to go t America and the flight was long. I Vietnam I live near a graveyard and was near my uncle and aunt, so I went to there house a lot. I used to think that when I went to America to have fun and visit there, but now I realize that it for a good leaning place to be.

    Another reason is my parent got me to America because they want me to get a better learning. When I been an American it like a dream living here with all the stuff and technology and the custom here like how America got Halloween but Vietnam don't, but I think there a tradition that like Halloween, it like we have a lantern for kids in different shape and animal in the night and after that we get a bag of treat and talk to friend. Also my parent want me to grow up in America so I could be a better person while I grow up. There still more things that my parent want me to learn while I'm still in America like when I grow up I could learn to use resource to find things in our life.

    In Vietnam it is so hot in there that it don't even have snow like in America. America is a big place to explore and how it is fun to explore in many places. In addition being in America mean you could have new friend and go to school, also there would not be any danger like war. Also I could live freely and be in America where the land of the free is. In addition people in America got more colorful clothes then Vietnam. More people look white then tan like me and some African American. In Vietnam it never snow but Vietnam still got rain and it rain a lot back where I live.

    If I live my whole life in Vietnam then I might don't get to be what I want but I might be a cattle boy or live my father live as a paster in a church. When I live in America I could imagine that I could live freely and get my own job and get a family and I could have a job as an engineer and work with machine.

    Sincerely,
    Duc

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  12. What a great questions and what thoughtful answers!

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  13. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    I am so glad that you asked the question of what it means to be an American. I was born in a small town in Mexico. I came to America when I was four years old. I am so proud to be in the United States. I think that my parents brought me here because they wanted better jobs and they wanted me to have what I needed and they wanted the best for us. I think that my parents wanted to have a better house. To my family our first house here will have a very special place in our heart. This is my opinion about why my family came to the United States. If someone were to ask my mom or my dad this question I am sure their answer would be different than mine. I think that they would say that they came to America because they wanted to get more money so that they would live a better life. One good thing about America is that when you get a job you might make a lot of money. One bad thing about Mexico is that there are not many cars unless you have a lot of money to buy one. In the U.S we have 2 cars. I love being in America. I think that I don't ever want to go to Mexico again. I love to be here and so does everyone else in family.
    Sincerely,
    Karen

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  14. Dear Mr. Warschauer,


    I do not really know why my family came here. I think that my family came here because the wanted a better life for our family. My parents came from Mexico. Also my brother was born in Washington and I was born in Wyoming. I think that my parents wanted to our family (my brother and I) to get a better education. Another reason why I think that my parents came to America is because my dad might have wanted a better job. I have not seen our home in Wyoming since I was a little girl. I have been living here since I was three or four. I actually have been living the US for a long time. The purpose of coming to America was because my dad had most of his brothers where here. One of the reasons why I like living here in Colorado is because there are a lot fun places to go when you are bored. Another reason why I like living in Colorado is because we can do so many different things here in Colorado. The last reason why I like living in Colorado is because I know many people and I do not feel shy when I want to try to talk to them. I think that we (our family) left Wyoming because they wanted to have a better job(my dad). I think that our house we lived in was to small.
    Sincerely,
    Larissa
    5th Grader at East Elementary

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  15. Dear Mr. W,
    I think that I came here to America for one reason and that reason is to be a successful student because in my extened family now one has ever gone to collage or has past 8th grade or 9th and me and my sister are planing to do it here in America. To add on, in Honduras it was hard to go to collage and there was little money there and that is why came here to work because in Honduras it was hard to earn money. I came to give a honor to my family and at least have a member of the family that went to collage and get a good jod. For me I am proud to be in America because it is a free country and a country that everyone is treated the same way. I think that it better of her than I would be bach there in Honduras.

    Sincerely,
    Jefferson

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  16. Dear Dr. Warschauer,
    To me being an American is a life time wish. I love being an American. I can be free and do what ever I want, to a degree. I have also wanted to know what the life is like out side of America. To be an American is a big honor because I can be free and not be under a king's or queen's order. I have dreams that I can do because I live in America. In the classroom most kids are from out of the country. I have heard their stories about Mexico, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Africa. They are amazing and the stories tell me a little bit about the outside of America. An American is a big responsibility because we do everything almost by ourselves and learn to live that way. An American is someone who is willing, brave, and courageous. I look up to the adults from and outside of America. An American is someone who can do somethings by themselves and get help from others if wanted. To be an American is the best thing that happened to me since I was born.
    Thank you for your time!
    East Elem. student,
    Triston 5th grade

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  17. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    Thank you for asking this question. I came to America when I was 7 years old. My dad wanted to go to college again so that's why I moved here. I am glad that I came to America because I like America better. The people that are here are nicer to me and the place is cleaner. I am from Indonesia. When I came here, it was so different. For example, most of the school here don't wear uniforms but in my country, the students wear uniforms. Also, the school is very different than in America because in my country, the school are more focused in math than in other subject. Going to America really changed my life because one thing that I like here is the people are nicer to me than in my country.

     For example, in America, most people would say hi or something when they meet someone they didn't know. In my country, they wouldn't do that. Also, in my country, parents can hit their children when they wanted. I am lucky that my parents don't do that. I am so glad that I came to America because I learned tons of lessons that I would never learn in my country. For example, in East Elementary, Mr. Moore and Ms. V taught me one lesson. Mr. Moore and Ms. V would say that we live and die as a team. I think about this and I realize that almost everybody in our class accomplished something because we worked as a team. In most cases, I like it. On the other hand, I don't really like it. The reason for this is because if one person got in trouble, the whole class would get in trouble. But don''t get me wrong, I like it when that happen because the whole class (Including me) probably learned a lesson. I can used this lesson later on in my life because I know that probably, when I grow up, I will still need to work as a team. I am really glad that I go to East Elementary because in other school,

    I may not learn the same lesson as here. For example, in my country, probably I won't learn this lesson. When my sister was in fourth grade, she was still in Indonesia. My sister told me that she didn't even learn a lesson that are as important as the lesson that I learned in fifth grade. I hope that you will ask more question that are related to this. I think that answering this question was really fun. Once again, thank you for asking this question.

          Sincerely,
              Raymond

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  18. Dear Mr. Warschauer,

    I really appreciate that you ask us these question, other people don't even ask us what is it like to be an American. I was born in a small town in Mexico. My parents and I can to America when I was 11 months. My parents and I cam to American to have a better life. My parents wanted us to become a better family, we did our best to be here. We wanted to study and to talk English. Even though, it was expensive to come to America, but now we are here. I really like being in America. My parents say that living in Mexico was hard. I think it was also difficult because there was not that much help in school like in America. Now in America it is not that difficile like in Mexico. In Mexico it was a dusty place and there was not much things over there like here. In America there is work and great education. I think that there was not even phones and there was not laptops or nothing like that but I think that in Mexico there is those things right now. But now America rocks. You will alway remember the place were you grew up. I am thankful that my parents brought me to America. Being in America was my Dream.

    Sincerely,
    Lizbeth,
    A 5th Grade Student At East Elementary.

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  19. Dear Dr. Warschauer
    What it means to me about being an American is that it a life that I get made Fun of, no one listing to what I say, people think you are just a rock. My dad came to America just to find a better job and a better life and better education. But the economy is getting bad so My family is having a hard time. I Once was in Centennial I was in preschool and when I was about to go to kindergarten they kicked me out and said go find another school. They kicked me out just because how I looked. They thought I spoke Chinese As my First language but i really spoke English as my first language. So in the end I went to East Elementary and i was more happy there. But When was in 3rd Grade Centennial can let me back in. So I chose not to go to Centennial. Why I did not go back? Because 4 Years have past and now they have an second language program. Also I did not went back because I knew People would treat me badly. Like some teacher there. Before I went to East I saw a person from East and told me VanderVelde and Mr. Moore found out that it publish anything.that there was a lot of different language people. What it means to be an American is hard. Now I think that Being an American is still hard when having a Chinese Face. Lots of people laugh at you like you are just like a rock. People just have a idea that the Chinese Should be slave. One person on the bus said to me that Chinese Should Be slaves he even said that Mexicans should Rule America. That made me really mad. So when you ask this question it make me think about the time people made fun at me and never regretting that they done that to a person.

    Sometimes I just have to live with all of the thing people said to me. One time This neighbor and there kids called the police saying that " These yellow kids hurt my kids" Which We did not, I was just playing out side. So we have to pay there bills out of our own pockets and there living a life of no paying there bills and taking like 88% of the neighborhood and I can't play on that part of the land. All because Is that just 2 kids lied and told there mom that we hit them. The police even said that we have to give them more space for them to play and you get just a tiny area. So you see when I see this question it flashes back to this time and all of the times that I had people made fun of me. I know life is not fair but life is like this way. Have you ever Had a time that you got made fun of? Why would you let them make fun of you? These question ring in my head all the time like a bell that never stops ringing. If you had ever got made fun of you know what it feels like.

    Well I thin you understand right now but if you think being American is good. But for some people it bad. Just because of there looks, religion, culture, and ways of life. Does not mean that they are weird or dumb that people can just push that person around. Lets say theres a new kid in class and he has his own way of life and you see a lot of people pushing him around. What would you do? If you don't help the person that new kid is like me. One thing that I remember 6 years ago is that this person, reported me just because of my face. Do you think it Fair?
    From Jonathan

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  20. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    For me Being an American means to me that I'm free because a long time ago like in the 1500's there were people who were ruled by a queen and a king in England and they wanted freedom. My freedom is so good that I can yell from the top of my tung and scream, "I'm free!" For me nothing will stop from an America or Mexican which means I'm Hispanic, and thats what it means to me of being an American in the United States of America. My family wanted a better life and they got it and we are living happily and that is what matters is that we are all alive and we are all OK and happy with were we are living.

    Sincerely,
    Daniel
    5th grader at East

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  21. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    I think that I'm proud to be an American because you have all these opportunities like you can be what ever you want when you grow up. For example some countries have to go to a job that they are assigned to. I'm glad that our country is not like that because you would have to work at a job you don't even want to work at. Also I think it is awesome to be an American because it is a free country and you can have what ever job you want and go places any time you want to go somewhere. On the discovery channel it said that America's schools and technology is one of the best in the world.

    I think that there are other countries with good technology like China. I think that it means a lot to me to live in America because I'm glad that I was born In Colorado. My grandpa's grandpa was fully Mexican and that means that I have a bit of Mexican in me. I'm kind of glad because I have some Mexican in me but still an American. That is what I think being an American means to me.

    5th grade student at East Elementary,

    From,
    Brandon

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  22. Dear Dr. Warschauer,


    My mom and my dad each come from a different country. My mom comes from a small place called Honduras. Since my mom had about thirteen brothers and sisters, Mom came to the United States of America to help her family. On the other hand, my dad came to the America to have a better life. Because both his mom and dad died when he was very young. His brother and sister were still in Mexico, and probably Dad also came here to help his brother and sister survive. Although my parents might have come here for different reasons, they both have one reason why they came here... To live the American dream, have freedom, a job, money. Though the American dream was not easy at all for my parents. When they came to California, at first it was tough, but year after year life got better. Also I think that my parents were happy to be in America after awhile of being here, in Colorado.


    On the other hand, Dad always tells me, twenty-four seven, that I am very fortunate to be born in the United States of America. The reason why he says that I am so lucky to be born here is because, I have so many opportunities to be whatever I want. For example, my dream is to become a teacher and say, I taught that person so and so and that person became the president of America. That would be the most wonderful feeling. My dad would have loved to be a hospital doctor. “Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to be born and taught here,” says my dad with a gasp, “but you do have everything you need here. And should take advantage of it every single day. So you become a teacher,” After awhile that I think about what my dad says, I am so proud to be an American.


    “Wow, Marylou your real lucky to go to school, and get amazing grades,” Mom says. As a teenager, my mom worked in the day and at ten at night school would start for her. My mom had worked to help her family survive, even though she wasn't the oldest. When I look at her, I realize that it is such a privilege to live in America and have the teachers that came from the heavens, to live under a strong roof, and have food to eat. As you can see, it is like luxury to live in the United States of America.


    Sincerely,

    Marylou a student at East Elementary

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  23. Hello Mr. Warschauer,
    I am a 9th grader at Littleton High School. My Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Koepke, told us about this blog and I thought this was very interesting. I think that to be American means that you feel like you belong here. I don't think your background matters to qualify as American. (Afterall this is the "melting pot") You could come from any background and still be American. Anyways, nobody really originated in America so no one can claim to be the only true Americans. Everyone here is an immigrant, so anyone who lives here and feels they belong here is an American.

    Thank You,
    Ryan McCracken

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  24. Dear East Dragon Den,

    I am a student at Littleton High School, and I must say that your blog is very impressive. We are currently studying a book that discusses the issues revolving around illegal immigration, the American dream, and what it means to be an American. Our teacher pointed out your blog, and I decided to check it out. Your comments are very interesting and bring about a fresh perspective to what we have discussed in class.

    I particularly like Paola's comment (the first one), about how "we came here to chase the American dream." I found that statement very powerful because it reminds us that the American dream is timeless. Everyone who chases the American dream seems to want a house, a yard, a car (or two), to raise a family, and to provide a promising future for their children. I believe that we, as a country, should be *proud* that we can portray ourselves as a promising country that people can hope to achieve their personal "American dream."

    In that perspective, Americans can be seen as dream chasers. We are a nation composed of multiple cultures, races, beliefs, and backgrounds, but we all have dreams that we want to achieve. Americans are opportunity seekers - we strive to find an opportunity to achieve our dreams, and when we find a glimmer of hope, we chase after it. I believe that to be an American means to be able to know who you are and where you want to go, and then taking the steps to chase your dreams.

    I hope your family has achieved the American dream, Paola.

    Hannah Poe
    Mrs. Koepke LA9H p.6
    Littleton High School

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  25. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    I think to be an American is to be whatever you want. To be an American is to have that dream of being a fireman, doctor, police man, construction worker, maybe a government worker or the next hip-hop artist. And feeling confident enough to follow through. It is a clean slate for all immigrants, everyone has access to schooling and work. America is the land of free, letting people make desicions (good or bad) on their own. All of my family lives up in South Dakota, and they have struggled to stay afloat financialy by farming. I feel that they represent America at its finnest, hard working devoted people doing what they want.

    Sincerely,
    Riley

    Littleton High School freshman

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  26. I go to LHS and I've got to glance over all your posts. These are very deep and well thought out. I really enjoyed reading all of these wonderful posts. In my LA class we are reading a book on immigration and your comments tie right in. Thanks so much for these great ideas!

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  27. Leslie S. Freshman at LHSMay 9, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    Dear East Students,

    I think your blog is perfect for questions such as this. Your diversity allows you to all add different perspectives and views in discussions. I noticed that many of you responded by noting your degree of happiness while in America. Most of you agree that you are more happy in America than in anywhere else.

    My question to you then is do you define being an American as being able to do what makes you most content?

    Good luck,
    Leslie S.
    Freshman, Littleton High School

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  28. Dear East students and Mr. Warschauer,
    I go to LHS and I have lived in America all of my life. However my grandmother came to America from Japan. I think it means more to her to be an American than it does to me, because I have never experienced anything other than American life. To my grandmother, I think that it means that the country has accepted her and she has accepted them, even after all the conflicts she has experienced between them. To be an American from another country means that you have come across all kinds of boundaries to make a different and hopefully better life.
    Sincerely,
    Jana (Littleton High School)

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  29. Dear East Dragon Den,

    I am a student at LHS and absolutely loved reading your blog! I'm extremely impressed with the amount of thought put into your comments. I especially liked the way lots of students used their family heritage to explain what being American means to them.

    As for my family heritage, it really could be anything. I've ruled out Spanish, Indian and African because of my light skin tone and features, but seriously it's anybody's guess from there. So because I can't describe what being American means to me based on my heritage, I'm going off of
    what people are driven by. By this I mean what motivates them to do well in life. I would classify an illegal immigrant struggling to speak English, living in a dump, and working as long as he/she can for as long as they can, American. In the book our class read, The Tortilla Curtain, we gained insight on a few characters who live like this. I consider these illegals truly American because they're working hard to assimilate, and such a worthy effort deserves that title, green card or not.

    Hope to hear more opinions on this blog,
    Caroline

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  30. Dear Mr. Warschaur and students,
    I attend LHS and I was privilaged enough to have the time to read over a few of your comments about what it means to be an american. After reading them I was amazed at how well written they were and how good of word choice you used. The articles i read provided everything the question asked and more. Some of these stories that you tell tie closely to to the book we am reading in my LA class about immigration. Good job

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  31. Dear Mr. Warschauer and Students from the East Dragon Den,

    I am currently a freshman in high school and my teacher told us to look at your blog, seeing as we just read a book about immigration. This blog is so interesting!

    I liked how Savannah said, "We all come from different countries but we are all here for a reason of our own." This stood out to me because in the end, everyone from American originated from somewhere else and we are all here for different reasons.

    For example, my mom immigrated here from Scotland as a young child. Her parents saught a better life for her, much like everyone else who immigrated here. While she still is a citizen of Scotland, America is her home. This is because it is the land that has presented her with all of the great opportunities she has today.

    And because everyone in America is an immigrant or is related to someone who immigrated, you know that in America they have earned what they have. We may live in a land of opportunities and dreams, but America is what we create for ourselves.

    Sincerely,
    Amanda Christensen

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  32. Hi, I'm a 9th grader at Littleton High School and in our language arts class we just read the book Tortilla Curtain. My teacher is a fan of your blog and came across this question. Our book is very relavent to your question and might give some new insights to this discussion. For extra credit in my class we could respond to this blog and you bloggers since we just read that book. I agree with Savannah, I like how she says that we are all here for our own reasons. Although the reasons may be more similar than we like to think. In the book we read, two illegal immigrants come to America in search of a better life but soon discover that life is pretty tough in America too. Paola mentions how she is chasing the American dream which plays a big role in my classes book. She is fortunate enough to have experienced the dream, but many people are not. This does not make them unamerican it just is hard to acheive what is so out of many people's reach. Thank you for letting me post.

    Sincerely,
    Stephanie (9th grader at Littleton High school)

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  33. I really like Anna's idea about how we are lucky to live in America. Anna said that she had never thought about the question, " What does it mean to be an American?" before. I'm sure that many people who live here never think of this either, but when you do, you realize how lucky we are to live in America. Right now, my class is reading a book about a family who is desperate to move to America from Mexico. All of your ideas remind me of this book because they show why people are willing to struggle to get here, and that we should be proud of our country. Great job!

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  34. Dear East Elementary 5th Graders and Students from LHS,

    I loved reading your many thought provoking comments. East has a wonderful "melting pot" of its own, which many of you so accurately spoke about. When my book club read "Tortilla Curtain", we had a lively discussion about the perils some immigrants are so willing to make in order to live in America. It sounds like many of your families have struggled for that same privilege. You should be proud of your parents for the sacrifices they have made so that you can be American. Keep up the good work and make them proud of you as well.

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  35. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    I think that the question "What does it mean to be an American?" is such a good question to ask us Americans because what we think it means to be an American is so much different then what non-American think it means. I think that being an American means that you have everything that you want and not only your necesities. Americans live in houses with kids, pets, and many materialistic items. In the book "Tortilla Curtain" T.C. Boyle descriptively describes and explains what it means to be an American.
    Sincerely,
    Jordan
    Mrs. Koepke LA9H p.6
    Littleton High School

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  36. Dear bloggers,

    I am a freshman at LHS and today in our L.A. class while discussing our novel Tortilla Curtain in this discussion we came to the conclusion that the american dream isn't one specific dream such as two floor house, dog, job,and yard. Instead we said that the american dream is the dream for a better life. In the constitution it even states that we as americans have the right to love, life, and the pursuit of happiness. After all who in America in the end doesn't just want to be happy?

    In my own opinion I believe being American means you have or do live in America for a portion of your life. But in a bigger sense I believe it involves having pride in being American being able to represent and respect the Country. Being American should involve you feeling that America is a piece of your life, past, or future.

    This blog is great. I love everyones new perspectives keep it up!

    Erin E.
    Littleton High School Freshman
    Mrs. Keopke 6th

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  37. Dear Mr. Warschauer and the east elementary fifth grade students. I am a 9th grade student that goes to Littleton High school and when i go to school, probably just like you, I see the many didn't ethnicities of the world in my classes or just around school.

    We have just finished a book about a couple from mexico that are striving for what is the "American dream". For them the american dream was to be able to have a better life then they had before, but as shown throughout the story this dream does not come without hard work. America does allow everyone a chance but only with hard work can you get somewhere.

    Unlike most other nations, America is not defined by a single race or ethnicity or ancestry or religion. Being an American is not "simply" defined by anything it seems. But more than that, to be American is to believe that everyone is entitled to certain rights, namely life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that everyone is created equal.

    I thought it was interesting what Ana said about the connection she has with kid s from Sudan and Indonesia and that they have a lot of issues in their country that we don't have. I agree that we have so much more then them and i am glad to be in America.

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  38. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    I really like your question. I am from India and I moved here with my parents and I have liked it here since then. Better jobs was their reason to come here. Technicaly American Dream is a national ethos of the United States of America in which democratic ideals are perceived as a promise of prosperity for its people but I think of it as more freedom. I am really glad that I am here.

    Sincerely,
    Bhavya

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  39. I agree with Paola. My parents are both from Ethiopia and they always thell me how they moved here for my sister and I. So we could achieve our American dream. But they alos moved here for themselves they came here to have a house, and education, their own american dream.
    For me being the first generation, i have more oppurtunities than my parents and with this i have a bigger american dream. The american dream i feel can't be defined because it is always different depending on where the person is if you live in a small apartment you want house if you live in a mansion you want two mansions. But as much as the American dream can be associated with materialism and selfishness. It is a beautiful dream because it only is of improvement and defying gravity. the american dream is not impossible as long as you learn not to define it.
    Paola's comment made me glad to see because I feel as if she understands what is like to be here first and to culturally assimilate and adjust. She also sees the splendor throughout America and says she doesn't think if they went back to Mexico,she could live there. Well if we decided back to Ethiopia i dont know if i could either.

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  40. Dear Mr. Warschauer,
    I really liked your question. I am from India and I just moved here with my parents. The reason for my parents to move here was better jobs. So far I have enjoyed living here and to some people the American Dream is just an ethos but for me it is a lot of freedom which will help me to follow my dreams.

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