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Opening Doors to Social Studies with Children's Literature

 

 

Book Title: The Bracelet

Author: Yoshiko Uchida

Publisher and Date: Putnam and Grosset Groups, 1996

Curriculum Developer: Amy Dent

 

Summary: The Bracelet tells about the sadness a young girl named Emi feels when she learns her family is being sent to a prison camp for Japanese-Americans. Emi's friend Laurie brings her a going away present. It is a gold bracelet with a heart charm. She loves it instantly and vows to never take it off. Emi's family arrives at the camp and is assigned to a filthy barrack that used to be a horse stable. Emi later realizes she has lost her bracelet. She felt it was the only way to remember her friend Laurie. Later, as she unpacks her clothes she remembers how Laurie and she had both worn their red sweaters the first day of school. She realizes she doesn't need the bracelet to remember Laurie.

 

Social Studies Relevance: This book fits well into a unit that deals with World War II. It also would work nicely when discussing past experiences and learning from them to improve the present. It could be used to develop listening, speaking, reading, writing, citizenship and character skills.

 

Grade Level: 5th

 

Relationship to Social Studies State Core:

* Write a conclusion about an historical event in order to formulate and idea for present and future events.

* Create individually or in a group, one or more of the following: newspapers, posters, poetry, bumper stickers, interviews, surveys, bulletin boards, stories, letter writing, diaries, dialogues, or songs.

* Outline the major historical events, wars, and documents that played a significant role inthe United States history from 1492 to the present.

* Evaluate with class members right and wrong actions, according to universal standards, as being morally acceptable or unacceptable.

 

 

Grade Level:

5th

Topic:

Overview of World War II

Objective:

Identify and categorize the major historical events of World War II.

Materials:

Activities:

1. After reading and discussing information from the textbook on World War II, The students and teacher will identify the major countries involved in the war and list these on the board. The teacher will ask students to discuss ways to group these countries. The teacher will guide students to the conclusion that three main areas were involved: the Pacific, Europe, and the United States.

2. Give each student art paper. The students will divide, by folding, the art paper into three columns vertically and label the three columns with the following: War in the Pacific, War in Europe, and the Events at home.

3. Students will scan and skim information from the text for important events, people, locations, battles, and developments associated with each column title. They will list and label these events on their chart. For example under the War in the Pacific they might have: Sept 1940, Japan gains Indochina from Vichy France, US, Britain and Netherlands freeze Japanese assets preventing Japan from purchasing oil, Dec 7 1941, Japan struck Pearl Harbor, Battle of the Coral Sea, Admirlal Chester W Nimitz is commander of the US Pacfic Fleet , Battle of Midway. Under the the War in Europe they could list: Soviet Union attacks Finland on Nov 30, Hitler was the ruler of Germany during the war, the war began in 1939 as a European conflict between Germany and an Anglo-French coalition, Sept 3 Britian and France declare war on Germany, Aug 23 1939, Nazi Soviet Pact signed, Italy declared war on France and Britian on May 10. Under Events at Home they could list: The US newpapers in the first months of the war called the war a phony war, US shocked by the fall of France increased its military budget, March 1941, Congress passes the Lend Lease Act, in 1941 the US was in a state of undeclared war, Franklin D Roosevelt was president, Japanese-Americans are sent to internment camps. Then they will illustrate their chart.

4. By posting these charts students will make a war wall in the room to use as a resource for future research on topics dealing with World War II.

Evaluation:

Examine students war wall to assess their identification and categorization of the main events in World War II.

 

Grade Level:

5th

Topic:

Internment

Objective:

Given the story The Bracelet, students will evaluate the right and wrong actions of the United States government, according to universal standards as being morally acceptable or unacceptable.

 

Materials:

Activities:

1. Introduce and define the idea of internment as it applies to Japanese American citizens living in the United States during WWII.

2. Read The Bracelet.

3. Reread the following excerpt:

"Emi and her family weren't moving because they wanted to.The government was sending them to a prison camp because they were Japanese- Americans. And America was at war with Japan. They hadn't done anything wrong. They were being treated like the enemy just because they looked like the enemy. The FBI had sent Papa to a prisoner-of-war camp in Montana just because he worked for a Japanese company."

4. Talk about universal standards. Discuss with students actions that they feel are morally acceptable and actions they feel are morally unacceptable. Discuss the fact that different cultures have different ideas of what is morally acceptable and what is not and list examples such as the Eskimos who feel suicide is okay if it will benefit the group.

5. Using this selected excerpt from The Bracelet, have students respond in journal form on whether the government's actions were morally acceptable or unacceptable and the reasons why the government might have taken the action it did.

6. In a small group, students will discuss, brainstorm, and propose another solution the government could have developed. Show the proposal on a chart.

Evaluation:

Examine students' evaluations of the actions taken by the government written in their individual response journals and on their group charts.

 

 

Grade Level:

5th

Topic:

Topaz, Utah

Objective:

Through study of a Utah map, students will write a conclusion about the location of the internment camp in Topaz and formulate an idea of why Utah was the location of the camp.

Materials:

Activities:

1. Re-read The Bracelet and review the concept of interment.

2. Have students find Abraham, Utah on the map and explain that this was one edge of the camp's border and that the camp no longer exists and thus is not on the Utah state map.

3. Have students formulate, through brainstorming, reasons why Utah might have been chosen as the location for the interment camp. Guide this process by asking students to describe the location of the camp, to evaluate the former use of the land if any, to determine if there was any monetary compensation given to the state, etc.

4. Have students write in paragraph form, their conclusions about why the internment camp was located in Topaz, Utah. For example: Topaz, Utah was the location of a Japanese internment camp because of its secluded loation. It was also located on land that was not currently in use and was not of any value.

Evaluation:

Examine the paragraphs written by students to determine if logical reasons, such as location, value of land, monetary compensation,etc. were chosen and supported.

 

Appendix:

 

 

Grade Level:

5th

Topic:

Historical Prejudice

Objective:

Given the story The Bracelet, students will write a recipe about historical prejudice in order to formulate an idea for present and future tolerance.

Materials:

Activities:

1. Re-read The Bracelet and review the concept of the prejudice that led to internment camps.

2. Have students analyze, using a Venn Diagram, the similarities and differences of the actions taken by the government and the individual white citizens.

An example of what students might list would be:

  1. Differences of Government
  2. The government sent the Japanese-Americans to internment camps.
  3. The FBI sent Emi's dad to a prisoner of war camp.
  4. The Japanese-Americans are locked in the camp. Their freedom is taken away by the government.
  5. Without trial the Japanese-Americans are imprisoned by the government.
  6. The causes of imprisonment were prejudice, war hysteria, and poor political leadership.  

 

  1. Differences of White Citizens
  2. Laurie brings Emi a gold bracelet.
  3. Mr. Norman helps them get settled at the camp.
  4. Mr. Norman put shelves up for them once at the camp.
  5. Mrs. Simpson will make curtains for them to hang at the camp.

    Alike

  6. The government apologizes for the way it treated the Japanese-Americans.
  7. The government makes a symbolic restitution to the ancestors of the interned Japanese-Americans.
  8. In 1976 Gerald R Ford stated the Japanese-Americans were loyal and the evacuation was wrong.
  9. Many whites did nothing to stop the internment.

3. From the Venn diagram students will write about the historical prejudice shown in this situation. In a small group, students will generate ingredients and quantities for a "recipe" for a tolerant society. Attributes like: patience,knowledge, compassion, and empathy should be considered and a discussion of how much of each attribute is needed to make a true tolerant society should be decided. Students should include mixing instructions and tools needed for preparation. For example: education, information, experience, humor, etc.

4. Students will then individually compose a "recipe" for becoming a more tolerant person themselves following the pattern set above.

Evaluation:

Examine students "recipes" to determine if they address historical prejudice and have formulated an idea for present and future tolerance.

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