They Called Us Enemy: Reading and Teaching Guide - 7 Lessons!- | Ages 9 - 18

They Called Us Enemy: Reading and Teaching Guide - 7 Lessons!- | Ages 9 - 18




OVERVIEW

In response to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. This set into motion the forced removal of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast of the United States. Two-thirds of these individuals were American citizens by birth, such as George Takei. At the time, the United States government justified their actions as a military necessity, viewing those of Japanese ancestry as a threat to national security despite there being no evidence to suggest this. There are varied experiences of this injustice but, in the case of Takei’s family, they were forced from their home, sent to live in horse stalls at a temporary detention center, and then imprisoned behind barbed wire.

Many years later, as community members became more vocal about the injustice, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) was established to formally investigate the incarceration of Japanese Americans. An important part of this process was hearing testimonies from those individuals impacted. Takei was among those who spoke out to share first-person accounts. This process resulted in the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, a formal apology from the United States government, and recognition that the incarceration of Japanese Americans was not a result of military necessity but rather caused by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a lack of political leadership.

At a time when issues of citizenship, belonging, and national security are being discussed and debated, it is important that we do not forget the history of the incarceration of Japanese Americans. Firsthand witnesses who share their stories, like George Takei, are vital resources for learning and preserving the lessons of the incarceration. It is likewise important for all individuals to speak out on issues of social justice to ensure that the lessons learned from the past are shared, discussed, and applied. This education guide is designed to encourage students to think critically about the stories shared and issues raised in They Called Us Enemy and to consider the impact that this history has on their present-day lives. 


CONTENT STANDARDS

COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS

Lesson #1: CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, grades 6-12: 7 &  CCSS ELA CCR Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening, grades 6-12: 1, 4

Lesson #2: CCSS ELA CCR Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening, grades 6-12: 1, 4

Lesson #3: CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, grades 6-12: 1, 2, 7

Lesson #4: CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, grades 6-12: 1, 2, 7, CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Writing, grades 6-12: 3, 4, 9, & CCSS ELA CCR Anchor Standards for Language, grades 6-12: 3

Lesson #5: CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, grades 6-12: 1, 2, 7

Lesson #6: CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, grades 6-12: 1, 2, 7

Lesson #7: CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Writing, grades 6-12: 3, 4, 9 & CCSS ELA CCR Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening, grades 6-12: 1, 2



LESSONS 1 - 7


LESSON #1 - COVER ANNOTATION ACTIVITY


CURRICULUM STANDARDS

CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, grades 6-12: 7
CCSS ELA CCR Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening, grades 6-12: 1, 4

OBJECTIVE

Practice pre-reading skills by visually analyzing the cover of They Called Us Enemy.

ACTIVITY 

Before reading the book
Give students a printed copy of the cover and instruct them to annotate it by circling words or parts of the image that they have questions or observations about.
Make connections to classroom learning, personal experience, or outside knowledge. This will encourage close reading and help students to make connections while reading the text.

Prompt questions:
  1. Who might the “They” be referring to in the title?
  2. Who might the “Us” be referring to in the title?
  3. What is the setting?
  4. Do you know anything about the author?
  5. Where might these people be going?
  6. Who might be the protagonist?
  7. What might we expect to read about in this book?

After reading the book
Ask students to analyze and discuss their initial annotations.
  1. What questions have been answered?
  2. What new questions do you have?
  3. What do you notice now that you did not notice before?
  4. In what ways has your interpretation of what is depicted on the cover changed or evolved? 


LESSON #2 - CITIZENSHIP DISCUSSION


CURRICULUM STANDARDS

CCSS ELA CCR Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening, grades 6-12: 1, 4

OBJECTIVE

To explore the concept of citizenship as it relates to the rights of people living in the United States.

ACTIVITY 

Before reading the book
Citizenship, the rights associated with citizenship, and the having or not having of citizenship are all important issues in They Called Us Enemy. George’s father, like all immigrants from Japan at that time,* was, by law, classified as an alien ineligible for citizenship. George, his siblings, and his mother, however, were all U.S. citizens having been born in the United States.
Before reading, use the prompt questions below to guide your students in exploring the concept of citizenship as it relates to the rights people have in the United States, both as citizens and non-citizens.
This activity can be done as individual reflection, large or small group discussion, or using a think-pair-share protocol.

Prompt Questions:
  1. What rights, protections and guarantees do all persons in the United States have?
  2. What does it mean to be a citizen?
  3. What additional rights, protections, and/or privileges do United States citizens have?
Japanese immigrants were not eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship until the passing of the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952 (also known as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952). 

FOR FURTHER READING 

  1. The United State Constitution and its amendments–including amendments 1-10, known as the Bill of Rights–enumerate the rights of people living within the United States. You can access the entire Constitution online through the National Constitution Center (https://constitutioncenter. org/interactive-constitution) along with other useful resources for understanding the Constitution.
  2. The office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offers this guide: “What Are the Benefits and Responsibilities of Citizenship?” (https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/ files/files/article/chapter2.pdf).
  3. For a specific look at how the Constitution applies to non-citizens in the United States, check out this article from PBS NewsHour (https://www.pbs.org/ newshour/politics/what-constitutional-rights-do-undocumented-immigrants-have).


LESSON #3 - TIMELINE ACTIVITY


CURRICULUM STANDARDS 

CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, grades 6-12: 1, 2, 7

OBJECTIVE 

In They Called Us Enemy, the book does not always follow a linear timeline - jumping between past and present - it is important to understand the complicated sequential history that led to the unjust treatment of Japanese and Japanese American families during World War II. This activity will help students gain a deeper understanding of the book’s historical context by aligning the experiences of the Takei family within a framework of historical events that are covered in the book. This will enhance students’ understanding of how government actions and larger historical events impact individual families.

ACTIVITY

During reading
On the bottom of the timeline are the dates and short description of some historical events included in They Called Us Enemy. Instruct students to add moments, stories and events from the book (with or without hard dates), that they feel shaped the life of the Takei family. These events should be filled in above the line. If students come across a historical event that they feel is significant that is not included in the lower portion of the timeline, encourage them to make note of it as well. 

NOTE: SEE RESOURCES SECTION BELOW FOR TIMELINE PRINTOUTS


LESSON #4 - EXPLORING MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES


CURRICULUM STANDARDS

CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, grades 6-12: 1, 2, 7
CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Writing, grades 6-12: 3, 4, 9
CCSS ELA CCR Anchor Standards for Language, grades 6-12: 3

OBJECTIVE

To explore and understand the experience of Japanese American forced removal during WWII from the perspective of a child and of an adult.

ACTIVITY 

During and after reading
On pages 35-55, we follow George and his family on the train ride from the Santa Anita Racetrack in California to Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas. Throughout this section, George describes his experience, and speculates how his experience may have differed greatly from that of his parents.

As a means to explore these varying perspectives:
  1. Have students first write a short poem, postcard, or letter about the train experience from the perspective of a child, like George.
  2. Next, have students write another short poem, postcard, or letter about the same train experience, this time from the perspective of an adult, like George’s father.
  3. Finally, have students compare and contrast their pieces and reflect on the following questions:
    1. What types of words did you choose to use in each piece and why?
    2. How do your pieces differ, both in content and in tone? Are there any similarities between your two pieces?
    3. How does writing these pieces help us empathize with and understand the perspectives of those who lived this history?


LESSON #5 - LOYALTY DISCUSSION


CURRICULUM STANDARDS 

CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, grades 6-12: 1, 2, 7

OBJECTIVE 

To explore the concept of loyalty and the varying ways Japanese Americans showed loyalty during WWII.

ACTIVITY 

During and after reading
In pages 109-123, George describes the Loyalty Questionnaire distributed to all Japanese Americans over the age of 17 incarcerated in the camps. He additionally describes the various ways Japanese Americans demonstrated their loyalty and patriotism during this time, from those who served in the armed forces (once allowed) to those who were imprisoned for being principled objectors.

Use the prompt questions below to guide your students in a discussion about the concept of loyalty and the ways Japanese Americans showed loyalty during this time.
This activity can be done as individual reflection, large or small group discussion, or using a think-pair-share protocol.

Prompt Questions:
  1. What does it mean to be loyal to something?
  2. In what ways did Japanese Americans demonstrate their loyalty during WWII?
  3. How is standing up for what you believe in a way of showing loyalty?

Students may also look for other passages in the book about loyalty, patriotism, and civic duty.



LESSON #6 - REFLECTION ON “A PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY”


CURRICULUM STANDARDS

CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Reading, grades 6-12: 1, 2, 7

OBJECTIVE

Students will consider the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and answer questions around issues of American democracy. Students will reflect upon their own thoughts, opinions and experiences as well as current events while taking the historical events from They Called Us Enemy into consideration.

ACTIVITY 

After reading
Using the worksheet titled "WORKSHEET: THEY CALLED US ENEMY AND PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY" provided in the RESOURCES section below, have students answer the question prompts.

NOTE: SEE RESOURCES SECTION BELOW FOR - WORKSHEET: THEY CALLED US ENEMY AND PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY


LESSON #7 – SHARE YOUR STORY: GRAPHIC MEMOIRS


CURRICULUM STANDARDS

CCSS ELA-Literacy CCR Anchor Standards for Writing, grades 6-12: 3, 4, 9
CCSS ELA CCR Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening, grades 6-12: 1, 2

OBJECTIVE 

To understand and explore the graphic memoir format used for They Called Us Enemy and apply that understanding to create and share personal graphic memoirs. 

ACTIVITY

After reading or extension activity
They Called Us Enemy is presented as a graphic memoir, sharing the author’s account of a personal experience in the format of comics.
Have each student create a 1-page graphic memoir about an important story from his/her life. This graphic memoir can be formatted in any way (one large image or multiple, sequential panels), but must include both imagery and text. Work with students to help them select an impactful life story to share and determine the best words and images to express their ideas. Assure students that drawing skill is not required. Images can be created in any way: on paper, digitally, or as a collage of repurposed images from multiple sources (magazines, online, etc.). The final product should be something the student feels conveys something about who they are, their life, and what they care about. Have students share their graphic memoirs in a gallery walk, and collect them into a class anthology (either in print or PDF format). 

The teacher’s guide was developed by the Education Department at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). With a mission to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience, JANM is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to sharing the experience of Americans of Japanese ancestry.


RESOURCES


Lesson 3 - TIMELINE PRINTOUTS


See PDF of Printout Below


Lesson 6 - WORKSHEET: THEY CALLED US ENEMY AND PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY


See PDF of Worksheet Below

 

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