Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

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Lesson Plan: ELA - WWII Internment


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9-10, College
English Language Arts
10 one-hour class periods
Recommended Time:
60 minutes

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings. Analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone.
“Academic Vocabulary Korematsu” handout (student/teacher versions)
“Unit Slide ELA WWII Internment”
“Reader’s Anticipation Guide - Korematsu” handout
ACTIVITY 1: Quick-write/journal prompt (20 minutes)
1. In order to connect to students’ prior knowledge and introduce some of the themes of the unit, have students complete a journal or “Quick-Write” for the following question (refer to Unit slides for the writing prompt):
  Think of an example from your life, history or current events when maintaining national security conflicted with preserving individual rights or civil liberties. In times of war, when this conflict is more apparent, how would you safeguard civil liberties while maintaining national security?
2. Students will write silently for 5-7 minutes, then have them share their ideas/writing with a partner. Make sure that students take turns sharing and listening.
3. After students share with a partner, have them create a “T-Chart” on their papers (see Unit slides):
How would you safeguard civil liberties? How would you maintain national security?
4. Then, call on students to share their writing with the class. Have students write ideas on the T-Chart in their notes, in order to start discussing the contrasting ideas. The teacher may write these on the board or type them into the slides for students.
ACTIVITY 2: Academic Vocabulary (20 minutes)
1. Pass out the “Academic Vocabulary Korematsu” student handout. Explain that these words are all academic vocabulary that students will use in this unit, but will also see in other subjects as well. Academic vocabulary is essential for improving as readers and writers. One of the goals of this unit is to encourage students to use these words appropriately in context.
2. Using the teacher version of the handout, present each word to the students. After you say the word aloud, have the students repeat after you, to have students practice pronouncing the words verbally. Read the definition/explanation. Then, read the word in the context and have students fill in the blanks. Read each sentence twice.
3. For a vocabulary practice activity, instruct the students to complete a new sentence for each word, using the example sentences on the handout as models. They must be “show-not-tell” sentences, meaning that they should show the meaning of the word, not just tell the meaning of the word.

Discourage “Telling Sentences”:

My best friend is eclectic.
I don’t understand what eclectic means.
Eclectic is a difficult word.

Encourage “Showing Sentences”:

Darin’s eclectic tastes in music range from hip hop and reggae to gospel and Broadway musicals.
ACTIVITY 3: “Reader’s Anticipation Guide – Korematsu” (15 minutes)
1. Pass out the “Reader’s Anticipation Guide” handout (refer to the slides for student instructions). Have the students complete the “before reading” side of the handout, marking whether they agree/disagree with the five statements. Note that the vocabulary words are underlined on the handout.
2. Model the first statement to the class; then have the students complete the rest silently.
3. After about 1-2 minutes, have class share whether they agreed/disagreed with the statements by raising hands.
Recommended Time:
60 minutes
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums, determining which details are emphasized in each account.

“Unit Slide ELA WWII Internment ”
“Korematsu Day Background” slides
“One Man Seeks Justice from a Nation: Korematsu v. United States Abridged Version” article “Reader’s Anticipation Guide - Korematsu” handout

Videos on Japanese American Internment:
“Japanese Internment in America” (History Channel) Run time: 3 minutes
“Japanese Relocation” (US Office of War Information) Run time: 9:26 minutes
“A Message from Karen Korematsu” (Korematsu Institute) Run time: 4:02 minutes
Korematsu and Civil Liberties (Annenberg Classroom) film Run time: 27 minutes
Pilgrimage (Tadashi Nakamura) Run time: 22 minutes

ACTIVITY 4: Frontloading historical context (30 minutes)
1. To introduce the history of the Japanese American internment camps and the story of Fred Korematsu, show the students the “Korematsu Day Background” slideshow. Students will take notes on the slides.
2. After sharing the slideshow, show 2-3 of the videos listed above, available online. Have students take notes on these resources.
3. After showing each video, ask students how this history matches their ideas before reading the article from the “Reader’s Anticipation Guide” handout.
ACTIVITY 5A: Read the article, “One Man Seeks Justice” (30 minutes).
Because the article is six pages long, it is recommended to split the reading over two class periods.
1. Before reading the article, have students preview the text. Ask them to identify and discuss text features for 1-2 minutes: photos, title, subtitles, numbered paragraphs, underlined vocabulary words.
2. Have students silently read the article, to familiarize students with the vocabulary, to get the “gist” of the story (5 minutes).
3. While reading, students will mark up/annotate the text (See Unit slides for student instructions)
Underline important lines, with interesting, shocking or intriguing ideas/facts.
Circle new words/vocabulary
Write a “?” (question mark) in the margins and list any questions you have about the text.
4. Read the paragraphs 1-13 as a class. This section discusses Korematsu’s family background, the beginning of World War II and the reasons for Japanese American internment. Either choose select students to read paragraphs, or the teacher should read aloud. Pause periodically to check for reading comprehension and to ask critical thinking questions about the article.
Recommended Time:
60 minutes
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.

“Unit Slide ELA WWII Internment”
“One Man Seeks Justice from a Nation: Korematsu v. United States Abridged Version” article “Reader’s Anticipation Guide - Korematsu” handout

ACTIVITY 5B: Continued: Read the article, “One Man Seeks Justice from a Nation: Korematsu v. United States Abridged Version” (20 minutes)
5. Review the vocabulary, the videos, and the reading from the previous lesson. Have students share what they found surprising, important, or had questions about.
6. Have the students read the rest of the “One Man Seeks Justice” article (paragraphs 14-40). This section discusses the Supreme Court cases and Korematsu’s enduring civil rights legacy. Team students up in partners or small groups. Have them take turns reading the article aloud, switching each paragraph.
ACTIVITY 6: "Reader’s Anticipation Guide – Korematsu" (20 minutes)
After reading, have students complete the “Reader’s Anticipation Guide” handout (See Unit slides for student instructions), based on the article. In the “After reading” box, students write whether the author of the article agreed/disagreed with the statement. They must include textual evidence, showing proof of the author’s ideas. Students will provide quotations/paraphrases, and cite the paragraph number. Model this activity for the statement #1 and have the students complete the rest either silently or in pairs for statements #2-5.
ACTIVITY 7: Idea Wave (20 minutes)
Students will practice using their academic vocabulary to complete a reading comprehension activity, sharing their ideas about the article with the class. This activity, the “Idea Wave,” has four steps: Think-Write-Pair-Share (see Unit slides for student instructions):
1. Think (list/brainstorm): Why is Fred Korematsu worth remembering today?
2. Write: Choose one of the following sentence starters and complete it with your own ideas:
Fred Korematsu had a significant impact on the United States, because of…
Even though Fred Korematsu was once sent to an internment camp during World War II, he later…
3. Pair: Share your writing with a partner. Make sure their writing is complete with specific textual detail.
4. Share: Share your writing with the class. Listen carefully! Record details other students share on your own paper.
Recommended Time:
60 minutes
Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums, determining which details are emphasized in each account.

“Unit Slide ELA WWII Internment”
“Justice Scalia Interview Mass Internment Inevitable” article
“Remembering the No-No Boys” article
“Silence No More” Poem

ACTIVITY 8: Supplemental texts on Japanese American internment (35 minutes)
Have the students read and annotate the following texts, noting connections between them and the Korematsu article.
“Silence No More,” is a poem written by Kiku Funabiki, about her family’s experience in the Japanese American internment camps.
“Remembering the No-No Boys” is an article posted on by Race Relations guide Nadra Kareem Nittle. Nittle discusses the “No-No Boys,” Japanese Americans who refused to take the Loyalty Oath during World War II, another example of government resistance in the name of civil liberties.
In the article, “US Supreme Court Justice Declares Mass Internment Inevitable,” Tom Carter quotes Justice Scalia discussing the history of Japanese American internment during World War II. Scalia declares that the war justified the internment and that it could definitely happen again, “that in times of war the law is silent.”
ACTIVITY 9: Dialectical Journal (25 minutes)
1. Using the two texts, “Silence No More” and “Remembering the No-No Boys,” have students complete a “Dialectical Journal,” in the form of a T-Chart (See Unit slides for the graphic organizer).
Textual Evidence/Quotations
(Select Five)
Analysis (Why do I find this quote interesting or important?)
2. Have students select five important passages/quotes from the text and cite them in MLA Format on the left side of the chart. On the right side, have students analyze and respond to the quote. Similar to a “Say-Mean-Matter” chart, this activity allows students to interact with the text.
Suggested Time:
60 minutes
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively…

“After Words: September 11, 2001” poem
“Unit Slide ELA WWII Internment”
“Who Took the Rap? A Call to Action” article
“Why Children Did Not Knock at My Door on Halloween This Year” poem

ACTIVITY 10: Connection to September 11, 2001 (20 minutes)
1. Have students consider/discuss the following (see Unit slides):
After 9/11, Americans were very scared about another possible terrorist attack. There were many negative messages about Arab-Americans and Muslims living in the United States. The government detained and increased surveillance of Arab-Americans and Muslims, because they were considered a national security threat.
Reflection Question: What lessons did we learn as a nation from the internment of Japanese Americans that we need to remember today after 9/11?
2. After discussing the connection to September 11th, 2001, choose 1-2 of the following supplemental texts for students to read and discuss. How do these poems connect with Korematsu’s story after World War II?
“After Words: September 11, 2001,” Russell Leong (poem)
“Who Took the Rap? A Call to Action,” Russell Leong (article)
“Why Children Did Not Knock at My Door on Halloween This Year,” Ifti Nasim (poem)
9/11 - 102 Minutes That Changed America (video) Runtime: 2 minutes
ACTIVITY 11: Socratic Seminar (40 minutes)
In preparation for their final culminating task, students will take part in a “Socratic Seminar.” A Socratic Seminar is a student-led discussion, designed to lead towards deeper meaning about a topic/text. This differs from a debate, in that a debate ends with a winner and loser. After a successful Socratic Seminar, all are winners, including the instructor, because all have an opportunity to engage one another as well as the texts in a new and meaningful way.
1. In order to prepare for the Socratic Seminar, have students complete the following pre-discussion exercise (See Unit slides for student instructions).
Evidence: Write at least one quote or paraphrase from one of the texts that stands out to you.
Question: Write at least one question you have about one of the texts or the history of Japanese American internment
Synthesis: Write at least one connection you see between the text, the history and current events (9/11).
2. Have the students bring their texts/notes and use their chairs to form a large circle in the room. The following guidelines/expectations will assist you in facilitating a successful Socratic Seminar. Encourage students to listen carefully and take notes.
Speak so that all can hear you
Listen closely
Speak without raising hands.
Refer to the text
Talk to each other, not just to teacher.
Ask questions. Don’t stay confused
Invite and allow others to speak.
Respect other peoples’ viewpoints and ideas.
Know that you are responsible for the quality of the conversation.
Suggested Time:
4 hours
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence…
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

“Unit Slide ELA WWII Internment”
“RAFT Essay Rubric – Korematsu” handout
“RAFT Essay Writing Prompt” – Korematsu” handout
“Tree Map Graphic Organizer - Korematsu” handout

ACTIVITY 12: Culminating Task – Argumentative Essay
1. Students will now write an original argumentative essay, bringing together their ideas from the texts, historical context and classroom discussion. Pass out the “RAFT Essay Writing Prompt - Korematsu” and “RAFT Essay Rubric – Korematsu” handouts and read/discuss them with students. Students are to choose one of the three persuasive essay options.
Role Audience Format Topic
A. Defense Attorney U.S. Supreme Court Speech Closing arguments in Korematsu v. United States
B. Student School District Superintendent Letter or Speech Why and how should schools recognize Fred Korematsu Day?
C. Fred Korematsu U.S. Congress Speech After 9/11, how should the U.S. protect both national security and civil rights?
2. This essay is designed to be a more creative, first person speech or letter, from the point of view of a defense attorney, a student or Fred Korematsu. Students must have a thesis/main argument, specific textual/historical details as evidence, and strong organization. The following steps are recommended for the writing process (see Unit slides for student instructions.
Write an outline of the essay using the “Tree Map Graphic Organizer - Korematsu” handout (40 minutes)
Write a rough draft (1 – 1½ class period, 80 minutes)
Assess the draft using “RAFT Essay Rubric – Korematsu” handout (30 minutes)
Peer-edit the draft (30 minutes)
Type final draft (1 class period, 60 minutes)
Essay Presentations, Unit Reflection
Suggested Time:
60 minutes
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically (using appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation) such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose (e.g., argument, narrative, informative, response to literature presentations), audience, and task.

“Unit Slide ELA WWII Internment”
“RAFT Essay Rubric – Korematsu” handout
“RAFT Essay Writing Prompt” – Korematsu” handout

ACTIVITY 13: Presentations (40 minutes)
1. Students will staple their essay final drafts with their “RAFT Essay Rubric – Korematsu” handout for grading. Instruct students to self-assess their essays, using the “RAFT Essay Rubric – Korematsu”.
2. Students will present a basic summary of their essays to the class. For the sake of time, teachers may allow students to read excerpts from their essays.
ACTIVITY 14: Unit Reflection (20 minutes)
Have students reflect through writing and discuss their learning from the unit
(See Unit slides for student directions). Have them write and then share with the class.
What have you learned from this unit? How have your reading/writing skills improved?
How have your ideas changed about the history of Japanese American internment during World War II? How should the government protect both civil liberties and national security during wartime?
Curriculum Developer:
Anthony Nittle
Unit Plan: WWII, Japanese American Internment, Post 9/11 >
Curriculum Editor:
Russell Leong
Untold Civil Rights Stories Main Page >



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