Title of Lesson: Japanese-American Internment/Relocation Camps


Objective: * Students will create poetry and verse, using all 5 senses to paint a visual image of life in a Japanese-American internment camp.

Materials Needed:

copy of the book, Baseball Saved Us, Ken Mochizuki

copy of the book, The Children of Topaz, Michael O. Tunnel and George W. Chilcoat

8 x 10 parchment paper for poem

information books about Japanese-American internment camps (WWII)

Corners activity signs (Japanese, American, Citizen, Enemy)


1. Direct instruction. Have all the students with green eyes go to a specific corner of the classroom. Have all the other students remain in their seats. Ask the green-eyed students why I selected them to go to the corner of the room. Explain to them that I selected them because of their eye color. It was easy for me to see their eye color and like the Japanese Americans, I could easily find them in a crowd and put them into a specific category. Ask students what would of happened had I tried to put them into categories by sock color. Would I be able to tell so easily? Explain that it was easy for the Japanese Americans to be gathered and relocated because of physical characteristics like their eye fold. * Note: It was not as easy to select a person with German or Italian descent.

2. Corners. Instruct students to gather to the corner that displays the adjective they most agree with concerning Japanese-Americans. Use the following adjectives: Japanese, American, U.S. Citizen, and Enemy. With students at their selected corners, ask each group to defend their selection. Come to conclusion that the Japanese-Americans were citizens, American born, Japanese descent, and viewed by other citizens as the enemy because of the Pearl Harbor bombing disaster.

3. Orally read several journal entries from The Children of Topaz, then orally read, Baseball Saved Us. Have the students web ideas leading to their poetry writing activity by recalling entries from The Children of Topaz, and Baseball Saved Us. List the following webbing information on the board to stimulate the creative juices.


Instruct students to write their poems focusing on the five senses previously listed on the board. Display the student's poetry after having a sharing activity wherein the students read their poems to the class.