Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Google Earth -- Japanese Internment Camp Locations

This week in my library I've been introducing my sixth graders to our annual Japanese Internment novel study.  This is a lesson that is central to the heart of my school: my school is named after a man who's family of eight had to go to Manzanar during World War II.   We call our novel study "Leaving Our Island" and the entire unit culminates in the students having an opportunity to visit with some of our neighbors who went "to Camp." The oldest lady who comes back every year to visit is 101 this year.   Her name is Fumiko Hayashida and this is a historic photo of her carrying her youngest daughter:

This is the second year that I've introduced the students to their book choices by giving them a book talk guided by Google Earth.  I put placemarks on the locations of former Japanese internment camps like Manzanar, Minidoka, and Topaz.  This year, I decided to make it a student centered assignment. 

Instead of listening to me talk for the thirty minutes that it took for me to explain all of the books, I put an "in-flight" magazine for them to read as their Google Earth globe spins.  This is the in-flight magazine that is layered above Topaz in the Utah desert.  From above, you can easily see how the blocks and the barracks were structured around a central field.  While some of the sites have been turned into farms again, Topaz certainly has not.

I provided students with this two-page note-taking sheet so that they could stay on task and check their understanding, as well as give stars to the books that they were most interested in reading. 

This lesson integrates well into any novel study on Japanese Internment and is available for purchase on my Teachers Pay Teachers site.

1 comment:

  1. Kathleen - Again thank you for nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award. I just got the thank you posted on my blog with your blog's URL. I passed it on to five new bloggers that you might want to check out at:

    Have you ever seen the Hallmark movie entitled: The Magic of Ordinary Days?" It deals with this topic of internment camps. It is one of my favorite movies!