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Japanese American Internment: Fear Itself (curricula)

Creators: Gail Desler, Library of Congress


Published on the Library of Congress (LOC) website, this lesson plan incorporates primary source materials about the World War II Japanese American incarceration in five classroom activities projected to take 1-2 weeks. The primary sources used are largely historic photographs from the LOC American Memory collection featuring the removal of Japanese Americans, and President Roosevelt signing the declaration of war. In addition, there are profiles of two Japanese American veterans from the LOC American Folklife Center - Veterans History Project which includes oral history interviews and transcripts, historic photos, and related documents. An online tool allows teachers to search by grade level and subject to see how this lesson addresses standards (Common Core, State Content, Organization).

The lesson learning objectives are listed as:

• evaluate documents and photographs from the American Memory collections.

• explain how major events are related to each other in time.

• recognize point of view in print and visual materials.

• draw upon primary sources to create a presentation reflective of the Japanese American internment experience.

The classroom activities engage students in various learning modalities including visual (photo analysis), auditory (oral history interviews), and kinesthetic (dramatic tableau). It should be noted that the directions in the Lesson Preparation and Evaluation sections are scant. The classroom activities are more clearly delineated; however if one is unfamiliar with a dramatic tableau or two voice poems, it may require more research. The Newspaper Article activity is not specific as to the type of article to be written—letter to the editor, news, op-ed, feature, etc.—each of these will have different parameters. Links to the LOC worksheet and specified primary sources are provided in the activity directions.

Activity One – Evacuation Day (photo analysis using LOC worksheet)

Activity Two – "A Date That Will Live in Infamy" (photo analysis and identify connections among three items - link to the speech is listed below)

Extension One – Picture Day (photo analysis using LOC worksheet, dramatic tableau based on one of the photos)

Extension Two – Two Sides to Every Story: Poetry for Two Voices (transcript analysis of two contrasting perspectives, create and illustrate a poem using the poetry for two voices format)

Extension Three – Newspaper Article (photo analysis, write a newspaper article)

Authored by Janet Hayakawa , Densho
For More Information

For More Information

Lesson Plan: www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/lessons/fear/.

President Roosevelt's "A Date Which Will Live in Infamy" speech - video and transcript: http://time.com/4593483/pearl-harbor-franklin-roosevelt-infamy-speech-attack/ .