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Farewell to Manzanar Introduction Activity; Racism and Point of View


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Keywords: internment, discrimination, English, Language Arts, Farewell To Manzanar, Technology, Internet, Web, racism, predjudice, executive order 9066, critical thinking
Subject(s): Journalism, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Reading, Writing, History
Grades 8 through 11
School: Ernest Righetti High School, Santa Maria, CA
Planned By: Geri Coats
Original Author: Geri Coats, Santa Maria
Step 1: Class discussion about what they remember from 9/11/2001.
*did they see the footage that day, or were they protected from it?
*how did the people around them react?
*did their reactions come from the events, or from the reactions of others?
*what do they remember most? events? people? feelings?
note: my students were about the same age at 9/11 as Jeanne from Farewell to Manzanar when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

Teacher projects the website Face to Face and plays the stories from the speakers. There are stories from Japanese Americans and Middle Eastern Americans on various topics (fear, bombing dates, identity, etc.) {The teacher should familiarize themselves with the stories ahead of time, to understand the emotional weight of the stories in relation to their students' maturity level, and for timing purposes.}
This may take 1 or 2 class periods depending on if the teacher wants to discuss the stories, or let the students absorb them without interruption.

do not show the topics Identity, Being American, or Never Again.

Step 2: In a computer lab, students sit either one to a computer or in pairs. Here they listen to the last 3 sections, Identity, Being American, and Never Again.

Students write a response to the stories they have heard and seen. I left the response as a very loose assignment, I ask students to include 3 specific details from the stories they remember and share their personal/emotional response to those details and to the website experience as a whole.

Step 3: In a computer lab students revisit the Face to Face Website and click on the Activities link to find the Fact Sheets. Students are to read Fact Sheets 1 and 2, media and politicians comments made immediately following each of the attacks (this could also be done with a class set of the Fact Sheets printed/copied and done in a classroom).

After digesting these quotations students are to write a newspaper article about one of the attacks from either the perspective of the 'white majority' or the 'racial enemy'. The student will assume the audience is of like mind; ie: white majority is writing to an audience of white majority readers, and racial enemy writer is writing to an audience of racial enemy readers. Articles will need to look authentic with titles and bi-lines. Students are to use Google Docs, the file must be shared with the instructor AND one other student (minimum) who will provide editing.

The writing should begin in class with detailed discussion of the topic, brainstorming/ prewriting, etc. Assignment of topic (either caucasion or Japanese/Middle Eastern) can be done in any way that works best for the teacher in that classroom. Myself, I assign randomly by drawing out of a hat.

Students should complete a first draft as homework. If they have an account that can log in to google they can type their draft into google docs to submit the first draft, otherwise they will do that in the next step.

Step 4: In a computer lab students create (or already have, preferably) a google account to use google docs. Students type their first draft into google docs and 'share' it with at least one other student who must edit the draft in a different color. The original writer then should make revision changes, and find an image online to copy/paste into their story that they feel supports their writing. The student will then 'share' the file with the teacher to submit it. (no printing required! paperless!)

**After all assignments have been submitted, the teacher will review the assignments and choose the best examples and 'publish' the newspapers, 4 in all. 1 for the white majority after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1 for the Japanese American community after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1 for the white majority following 9/11, and 1 for the Middle Eastern American community following 9/11. One option for putting this together is Issuu.com, which will create a professional looking publication for free.

OR students can be grouped according to their topic and put together their own publication.
Comments
This is a very flexible activity that can be adjusted to the needs of a particular teacher and/or class. It has been successful in my own classes at giving students that background information to help them understand point of view.

The actual reading level of Farewell to Manzanar is rather low for this level of student, so this is a critical thinking activity that allows them to think, understand, apply what they learn, and create something.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This assignment lends itself to working with a Social Studies or a US History teacher.
Follow-Up
This is an activity we complete BEFORE reading the novel Farewell to Manzanar, so the next activities are based on reading. The activities may include Dialectical Journals, Photo Essay, letter writing to politician or press.
Links: Face to Face
google documents
Issuu publishing
Materials: Keyboarding, Books, Social Studies, Writing, Literacy, Reading, English/Language Arts, Computer Accessories, Portable, Integrating Technology