A Friend to All

A Friend to All: Students Explore the World War II Japanese American Incarceration in Arizona through Children’s Literature

Author: Jessica Medlin

Suggested Grade Level(s): 4

Suggested Subject Area(s): Social Studies / Reading

Number of Class Periods Required: 10–12 sessions / 50 minute blocks

Essential Question: What is our responsibility to make sure we respect all people?

Teacher Overview:
“A Friend to All” is a 4th grade Social Studies unit that focuses on American history during World War II. The initial class sessions, based upon teacher read-alouds of the picture books, Blue Jay in the Desert and The Bracelet, are spent in whole class instruction, introducing the theme of friendship and the historical events leading to the World War II incarceration of the Japanese Americans. The remaining class sessions place students in cooperative groups, engaging them in student-directed reading of selected chapters in the book, Weedflower. Reading selections are accompanied by vocabulary building and reading comprehension activities. The final class session culminates in a whole class discussion, coupled with written reflections of the unit’s essential question. Final assessment for this literature-based unit takes the form of a literary response poster, requiring written and illustrated components.

Download the entire “A Friend to All” unit (6.7 MB)


Resources and References