A Teacher’s Journey to Increasing Student Knowledge and Comprehension About the Japanese American World War II Experience
Author: Diane L. Ball
Suggested Grade Level(s): 11
Suggested Subject Area(s): U.S. History, Advanced Placement U.S. History, or can be adapted for a Special Education Core class
Number of Class Periods Required: 6 to 7 class periods for full project (60 minutes per period); can also be used as 5 one-day units of instruction depending on the focus of the teacher
- Content-Related: How did the U.S. government treat Japanese Americans during World War II? Why were American citizens seen as the enemy?
- Pedagogical: How do my students respond when they encounter material about which they have no previous knowledge?
[Note: This unit, unlike the others created for the Enduring Communities project, is written as a journal, capturing one teacher’s journey as she creates and teaches curriculum about a little-known topic: the Japanese American World War II experience. The emphasis of this unit is on the reflections of the teacher and her students as they explore this content; the instructional strategies have been de-emphasized.]
While there are comprehensive curriculum units on the Japanese American experience during World War II, the New Mexico experience is vastly different from those states with War Relocation Authority camps. The focus of this unit is for an eleventh-grade U.S. History class and is connected to the belief in using primary source documents. This was a natural fit given that there are only four sentences about the Japanese American World War II experience in the textbooks used in the Gallup-McKinley County School District.
Resources and References
- Terminology and the Japanese American Experience (48 KB)
- Map of Japanese American Confinement Sites in the United States During World War II (1 MB)
- Media related to the Project’s Curricular Units
- “Japanese Americans in the Interior West: A Regional Perspective on the Enduring Nikkei Historical Experience in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah (and Beyond)” Essay and Timeline (968 KB)
- “Japanese Americans in Arizona: An Overview” Essay and Timeline (108 KB)
- “Japanese Americans in Colorado: An Overview” Essay and Timeline (80 KB)
- “Japanese Americans in New Mexico: An Overview” Essay and Timeline (84 KB)
- “Japanese Americans in Texas: An Overview” Essay and Timeline (84 KB)
- “Japanese Americans in Utah: An Overview” Essay and Timeline (88 KB)
- Selected Bibliography (124 KB)
- Acknowledgements (84 KB)