Approaching Internment in the Classroom

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Here are a few existing resources to help students deal with the period of Japanese internment in the United States during World War II.

Resource“Amendment Violation: Japanese American Internment and the United States Constitution”

From the National World War II Museum, this is a 9-12 grade curriculum that includes readings on the Bill of Rights and Japanese internment camps in order to help students analyze how and why internment was a violation of multiple Constitutional Amendments. The curriculum also contains some detailed enrichment activities as possible extensions.

The curriculum is available as a PDF.

Resource ♣ “Japanese American Internment: Fear Itself”

The Library of Congress created this 5-8th grade curriculum. It is spread across multiple links and includes primary sources, such as photographs and online exhibits. Some of the student primary source framing material is basic, but it can be applied to a variety of documents. The writing that students are asked to do is varied, including creating a two-voice poem and newspaper article.

The curriculum is available via a series of links. Notable is the tool that allows teachers to search Common Core and other state education standards to check alignment.

Resource ♣  Allegiance, the musical: Educational Resources

While the educators’ material isn’t ready yet, I’m posting this in hopes that it will be soon! This is actor George Takei’s passion project, a musical based on his family’s experience in internment camps during World War II.

small stones Lesson Plan: Contacting Your Representatives

Contacting Your Representatives

A sample lesson plan for middle school through community college students

Goals:

  • Students will work together to communicate their opinion on an important issue with their senators and congressperson.
  • Students will think and talk about congressional districts and how they come to exist.

Important Vocabulary:

  • Senator
  • Congressperson
  • Senate
  • House of Representatives
  • Districts
  • Redistricting
  • Gerrymandering

 Preparation:

  • If students will not have access to research tools, ID local and state representatives and have their contact information ready to share.
  • Using the US Census site, prepare to display your state or regions’ map of congressional districting lines.
  • Decide how best to group students—preselected groups, self-chosen groups, etc. You might also choose to group students whom you know live in the same area (i.e., will have the same representatives).
  • ID the roles that you’ll use with your students. Be mindful that students’ citizenship or immigration statuses could impact how comfortable they are taking certain roles or giving their names to representatives.
  • Decide whether students will be contacting their representatives about issues of their own or whether the class will focus on one or two issues in particular.
  • Come up with a method for calling or writing representatives that will work with your students. You might have them make calls during class time using a school phone, for example, or they may be responsible for emailing representatives out of class.

Continue reading “small stones Lesson Plan: Contacting Your Representatives”

Calling Representatives: Handy Instructions

Good news! There’s something really easy that you can do, that we can all do: call your two Senators and your Representative’s offices and tell them to publicly and vigorously oppose the appointment. Don’t email. Don’t tweet. Don’t fill out the online form. Call. Calling works best. Especially if a lot of us do it.

Gabriel Stein has written a quick, easy guide to calling your representatives. Students can do it too! Congresspeople and senators are constitutionally mandated to represent the people in their district, not just eligible voters.

Next post, an example lesson plan for one way to integrate this kind of outreach into a classroom.

#iamnotafraid

This is not something to take lightly. This is not a moment to be complacent and go back to the lives we were living yesterday, this is a time when we have to begin looking at these issues at hand and understand more than ever how we as individuals and a community can stand up, and join the fight to stop them from worsening following the lead of a president who is openly and relentlessly racist-white supremacist, misogynist, homophobic, islamaphobic and ready to destroy any natural resource for capitalistic gain. We need to ready ourselves for the projected 4 years that our communities will have to fight for our rights, for our liberties and what already feels like for our LIVES.

Go visit Pa Nag Biag Iti Kayumanggi Nga Pilipina right now, if you haven’t already. She is putting up content designed specifically for dealing with the election, and the issues it raises, in the classroom. At this point there’s material for helping students process their feelings, regain their confidence, analyze voting results by generation, and talk about what’s happening in a politically-mixed classroom. Cannot recommend enough.

“One Survivor Remembers”

The number one question I get is, “ What can I do?” In that question already lies the answer. Follow your instincts to do some- thing you believe in or care about. When you get to the end of your day or your life, you must answer to yourself, to be able to say, “If I saw something wrong, I spoke up.” When you make a decision based on instincts, you won’t regret things later.

–Gerda Weissman Klein

From the Southern Poverty Law Center, in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is the middle school curriculum, “One Survivor Remembers.” The title’s survivor, Gerda Weissman Klein, was a prisoner for six years in a Nazi concentration camp.

The curriculum includes free online access to a 1995 documentary on Klein’s life, a contemporary interview with Klein, a detailed teacher’s guide, digital handouts and primary documents, and lesson plans.

Notably, these lesson plans include activities asking students to respond to both WWII-era and 21st century antisemitic political cartoons and propaganda. The prompts are easily transferrable to material gathered today.

 

The Day After

Wednesday, 11/9, was most definitely a school day. Below is an initial roundup of pieces talking about how educators and their students began to face the future together.

Dan Stone, a social studies teacher in Oakland, CA, wrote his students a letter. Then, they wrote back. He tells the story, including excerpts from these letters, in The Washington Post.

“I want you to know that your teachers love and care about each and every one of you and that the fact that we cannot protect you from these things and this election makes me feel devastated and weak.”

Jezebel posted a great survey of teachers’ stories about addressing election results, from kindergarten through grad programs.

“When my students came into the classroom, some said they didn’t want to talk about the election; some said they just wanted to hang out and talk; some asked if the class could play exquisite corpse, a surrealist writing game (which felt somehow appropriate at such a surreal moment in time); others looked like they wanted to crawl under the table. I suggested that we tell stories about fierce women in our lives as a way of honoring the historic nature of the campaign and Hillary Clinton’s place in it.”

And The Los Angeles Times has a quick piece about local students and teachers coping, with an emphasis on Latinx and trans students.

“He could have taken the conciliatory road that many Trump opponents were traveling Wednesday morning. But he said he wanted his students to voice their feelings and understand they had a role to play in the nation’s democracy.”

The article can be viewed in Spanish here.

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