This is a little different from my usual “The Best…” lists.
Inspired by the twentieth anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall this week, I’ve begun to think about developing some lessons related to walls — physical, mental, and emotional — and how they’re used by us and others to stay separate. I’m thinking it’s also an opportunity to help students learn about metaphors and similes.
This list is different, though, because usually I don’t post a list like this until I have some specific ideas on how to use the resources in a lesson.
I’m not there year, and, instead, am sharing these resources and asking for ideas on how best to use them. Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Absent a lesson plan, here are my choices for the The Best Sites To Learn About Walls That Separate Us (and are accessible to English Language Learners):
Here are two sites on the Great Wall of China: One is a site from the University of Washington called the Great Wall that has text accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners and some nice photos.
The Berlin Wall, 20 years gone is a series of images from the Big Picture. Both are about the Berlin Wall.
Of course, the United States is building a huge border fence between the U.S. and Mexico. The New York Times has a map showing it. Earlier this year, the U.S. built a fence in the middle of ‘Friendship Park,” which is near San Diego and a place where friends and relatives from both countries would gather. You can watch a slideshow about what happened and also hear and read an NPR report on the event.
Baghdad: City of Walls, Pt.1: Scars of war is from the British newspaper The Guardian and highlights giant walls that have been built to separate Shia and Sunni neighborhoods.
CNN Go beyond borders Tape Art Project – Case Film is a short video on YouTube documenting a CNN project to place tape along the original border of the Berlin Wall. Here’s a CNN video on the same project.
Walls that separate Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods in Belfast are called Peace Lines.
Here are some multimedia features about them:
Peace Walls of Belfast is another slideshow from The Guardian.
Here’s another slideshow.
Thanks to Ira Socol for writing about them. I had never heard of these walls before.
The Boston Globe has published an excellent piece titled “Building divisions:Political scientist Wendy Brown explains why the world is seeing a boom in wall building.” It’s not accessible to English Language Learners, but a teacher could certainly modify portions.
Walled World is a fascinating infographic showing how our world is divided by real walls, income walls, and political walls.
Remembering The Berlin Wall is a slideshow from The Boston Globe.
The border fence is a wall by any other name is from The San Francisco Chronicle.
US-Mexico immigration: Even oceans have borders is from The BBC.
Crossing Into Nogales, Mexico is a NY Times slideshow.
The Gated Community Mentality is from The New York Times.
The State of the Gate is a photo gallery and article from The Wall Street Journal.
Bethlehem nuns in West Bank barrier battle is from The BBC.
The Great Wall of China is a photo gallery from The Atlantic.
Same Southern Border, Varied Views is a photo gallery from The New York Times.
Readers Capture the Complexity of the U.S.-Mexican Border is a photo gallery from The New York Times.
On the Border is a photo gallery from The Atlantic.
Immigrants Reach Beyond a Legal Barrier for a Reunion is from The New York Times.
Walls is a photo gallery from The Boston Globe.
New York Times columnist Charles Blow sent this image on Twitter of the still segregated cemetery where his family is buried:
Satellite image of the segregated cemetery. Chain link fence runs next to horizontal paved walk. Whts abv, blks below pic.twitter.com/PwM2i83wxm
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) August 2, 2013
The Guardian has published an excellent, though sad, interactive titled Why are we building new walls to divide us?
The Berlin Wall in the cold war and now – interactive is from The Guardian.
Here’s a video of a project that placed balloons in the original location of the Berlin Wall:
Interactive Timeline: The Berlin Wall, Beginning to End is from TIME.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) November 7, 2014
Bulgaria Puts Up a New Wall, but This One Keeps People Out is from The New York Times.
Syrians Crash Through a Fence Between War and Refuge is a photo gallery from The Atlantic.
These 14 walls continue to separate the world is from The Washington Post.
10 Grim Separation Walls From Around The World is from List Verse.
From the Great Wall of China to the Southwest border: A guide to separation walls throughout history is from The Washington Post.
Can Tunisia Stop Terrorism With a Wall? is from The Atlantic.
The World’s Greatest Walled Cities is from The BBC.
Here’s a BBC video explaining what’s happening in Europe, including some countries building walls on their borders:
Map: The walls Europe is building to keep people out is from The Washington Post.
Al Jazeera has a ton of videos about border walls.
WALLS, BARRIERS and FENCES is from Michelle Henry.
— Al Jazeera America (@ajam) August 27, 2015
— Soccer Gods (@soccergods) August 20, 2015
More neighbours make more fences is an interactive from The Economist.
Here’s the description of this next video:
A short documentary about a family divided by the US/Mexico border.
Abril and her 2 year old boy Julián are living undocumented in America. Julián’s father Uriel was stopped by police for a minor traffic ticket and was deported back to Mexico, where he now lives. In order to see each other, Uriel, Abril and Julián must cross difficult terrain to reach the border fence where they spend time together through the wall.
A World of Walls is from The Atlantic.
What History Teaches Us About Walls is a good New York Times photo gallery. However, it doesn’t quite deliver what its headline promises. The photo selection is excellent, but the commentary is far more limited than I would liked to have seen.
UK immigration minister confirms work to start on £1.9m Calais wall is from The Guardian.
Trump Wants Border Wall, but Britain Is Building One in France is from NBC News.
Raising Barriers is a three-part interactive video series from the Washington Post. It examines the rise of border fences and walls throughout the world.
‘The Wall Is a Fantasy’ is from The New York Times.
The Walls In Our Heads is from The New York Times.
24 striking photos of international borders from around the world is from Business Insider.
Crossing The Border is a photo gallery from The BBC.
Before the Wall: Life Along the U.S.-Mexico Border is a NY Times interactive.
Here’s What the U.S.-Mexico Border Actually Looks Like is from Food and Wine.
10 Days Along the Border is a photo gallery from The Atlantic.
Erasing The Border is another photo gallery from The Atlantic.
As Trump calls for wall, a look at the world’s barriers is from The Associated Press. Here’s a photo collection that goes with the story.
What Walls Mean From Hadrian to Trump is from The BBC.
What border walls look like around the world is from The L.A. Times.
7 Famous Border Walls is from The History Channel.
World of walls: How 65 countries have erected fences on their borders is from The Daily Mail.
— Vox (@voxdotcom) May 28, 2017
‘Trump-style’ border wall between Ecuador and Peru causes fierce dispute is from The Guardian.
Here’s a new TED-Ed lesson and video:
A 2,000-mile journey in the shadow of the border wall is from USA Today.
The Borderland Project is from The Dallas News.
Eight Ways to Build a Border Wall is from The New York Times.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee plan to construct a wall — a physical partition — separating Republican and Democratic staff members in the committee’s secure spaces https://t.co/PFhQTKEixR
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) February 9, 2018
Borderline is a new and impressive Washington Post interactive that is about:
Navigating the invisible boundary and physical barriers that define the U.S.-Mexico border
The US-Mexico border wall is as much about ideas, emotions and people as it is about a physical structure. And as these photo essays show, it is, above all, complex. https://t.co/KqRfUSehI2
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 22, 2018
President Trump wants a border wall. We mapped what’s in place already. https://t.co/WB9BJaT7n7
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 26, 2018
Borders and Walls: Do Barriers Deter Unauthorized Migration? is from the Migration Policy Institute.
Built to Separate: Border Barriers Around the World is a photo gallery from The Atlantic.
When Is a Border Just a Border? Almost Never is from The NY Times.
Embattled Borderlands is an Esri Map interactive.
The Times reporter @azamsahmed and the photojournalist @MeridithKohut are driving the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border. Here’s what they saw on the first part of their journey. https://t.co/kpNLcDkrEV
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 14, 2019
N.Y. Today: A Wall That Honors Immigrants is from The NY Times.
Fact Check: Trump’s Tweet on Border Walls in Europe is from The NY Times.
Talking and Teaching about Walls and Borders is from Re-Imagining Migration.
A Wall in Peru is from The Atlantic.
Built to keep Black from white is from NBC News.
What It Looks Like to Reconnect Black Communities Torn Apart by Highways is from Bloomberg.
Detroit is receiving $104.6 million to dismantle Interstate 375, a highway for which two Black neighborhoods were destroyed in the 1950s, displacing an estimated 100,000 residents and creating a barrier between downtown and the city's eastern portion.https://t.co/CvBrpBWEoC
— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) September 22, 2022
“Once you wreck a community, putting it back together is much more work than just removing an interstate.”
The Biden administration is funding projects aimed at reconnecting communities that have been divided by transportation infrastructure. https://t.co/1KFQBmCjfQ
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 25, 2023
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) November 9, 2023
Again, lesson ideas are welcome, along with suggestions of additional resources.