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My VC Lesson Plan - 1

The end of the month, and I feel I have only scratched the surface with regard to developing this unit plan! I wish I can just read forever before I have to write (and submit an essay to Francis Kai-Hwa Wang)! There aren't many lesson plans out there with regard to Vincent Chin and the Asian Pacific American movement he inspired, so here's what I have come up with.

Grade or Level: English, World Languages, and Cultures
Unit Plan Title: Vincent Chin Unit
Lesson Plan 1 Title: Exploring the Timeline before Vincent Chin
A. Planning of Unit Curriculum 
Unit Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand how this landmark case of injustice boosted Asian-American civil rights and activism.
  • Terms such as American identity, citizenship, fair trial, and civil rights activism became redefined and reshaped to fit the Asian-American communities needs.
  • Analyze and describe ways in which stereotyping and discrimination continue today.
  • Become familiar with basic online research and social service organizations.
Unit Objectives: (Students will be able to...)
  • Understand how historically Asian Americans have had to fight for representation and against unfair laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Retrace the impacts of the Exclusion Acts against Asians with regard to immigration, representation, citizenship, and equal opportunity in education and labor.
  • Understand why this created problems with regard to identity, alienation, and self-esteem among the older generation. Describe how the working class people of Detroit saw Asians. Explain concepts such as "model minority myth"; "dualism"; "marginalized";  "invisible."
  • Learn how to talk openly about Asian culture, and values.
  • Apply the rights of citizenship to all citizens regardless of race, color, ethnicity, or gender. Learn to identify and question stereotypes.
  • Learn how to communicate commonalities and differences in interpreting Asian pop literature.
Unit Relevant California English-Language Arts Content Standards:
-Vocabulary development (1.3) because students learn in-depth about concepts and analogies while broadening their framework of socio-cultural comparisons.
-Reading comprehension (2.1) because students will view and discuss oppositional perspectives with regard to race, class, and bullying.
-Literary Response and Analysis (3.2, 3.8) because students will write and discuss their reactions to video clips; they will critique and debate an issue; also they will draw connections between works of fiction and daily realities for transplanted immigrants.
-Listening and Speaking Strategies (1.2, 2.3) because the students will work in teams and present their findings.
B. Preparing for Lesson 1 
Texts and Materials:           
Downloadable documents in packets; PowerPoint; Internet connection (optional)
Content Outline: (I will teach...)
1. New vocabulary and concepts.
2. Comparison contrast of opportunities today as compared with historical conditions.
3. Viewing historical documents critically;
4. Descriptive writing;
5. Interpersonal communication and presentation skills.
C. Conducting Lesson 1 (what we will do...)
Introduction- How was life back in the 1970s? Have any of you ever watched That 70s Show?
Have you ever heard the term "All-American"? Can you picture Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz? No? How about Taylor Swift? Okay, so let's talk about what All-American has meant to the public...
Instructional Strategies:
Sequence of delivery (Step-By-Step):
1. Today's vocabulary: "All-American"; "mainstream media"; "minority"; "apartheid"
2. Can definitions change over time? Yes they can. In 1970, South Africa was identified as a nation with apartheid; there was strict racial segregation and it was legal, put in place by the ruling political parties. After the 1990s (before some of you were born), apartheid in South Africa slowly became illegal. Today South Africa is a free country shared by the African natives and whites. The word "All-American" is also slowly beginning to change; in the 1970s, very few blacks were ever shown on TV except as criminals. Today, there is Black Entertainment television and some of the favorite superstars are household names. Talented can be David Chappelle, and beautiful can be Halle Berry, for instance.  So mainstream media (TV and newspapers) are really beginning to include many more minorities within the definition of All-American as All-America.
3. Let's continue to step back into time and review some of the historical documents (literary form) about Asian Americans (they were not necessarily allowed to become citizens) between 1882 to 1945.
Planned Activities
1. We divide the class into groups of four or five. Each group will examine a copy set of artifacts in the manila envelope which I provide. [Various artifacts downloaded from the National Archives and Library of Congress including Timeline for the Chinese in California, Flickr Photos for May--Asian Pacific American Month, topical overview, document information].
2. Groups will catalog the artifacts; be able to identify and describe at least one artifact in depth in front of the class; each student must also try to provide as much desciption and context as possible in a quick write paragraph on an item. Describe what you see. What is the thematic message? How effective is the presentation? Or, how does it affect the viewer or audience? What do you see that is different from today? Do you think these children or adults lived "normal American lives"? Why or why not? How do you think race or culture might have held them back from leading "all-American" lifestyles? How much of a role did national heritage influence public perceptions? How might this have caused internal divisions and strife within the family?
3. Provide an example for the class. Emphasize that not all the questions need to be answered, but instead, the purpose is to allow yourself to slip back in time, to become aware of those values or fears that were reflected by laws and actions such as exclusion, detention, and internment.
Summary or Closure for Daily Lesson
Recap that historically, there was apartheid and discrimination against minorities in the United States, and these were supported by law, by actions, by negative or unfavorable portrayals.
Build anticipation for the next lesson. Next we will talk about popular literary monuments in the Asian American landscape and how these attempt to bridge the differences between Asian and American identities, cultural values versus stereotypes, fiction versus a life of invisibility.           
ELL/ELD: Expand your Quickwrite to a page with a take-home document.
...The most recurrent theme in our writing is what I call claiming America for Asian Americans. That does not mean disappearing like raindrops in the ocean of white America, fighting to become "normal," losing ourselves in the process. It means inventing a new identity, defining ourselves against a racial fantasy, so that we can be reconciled with one another....
Quote by Elaine Kim in "Defining Asian American Realities through Literature."
What are your thoughts and reactions to this quotation? Should Asian-Americans work hard at assimilating (being All-American), or should they retain their own culture as much as they can? What is the price of trying to do one or the other? Can there be compromise? What can a new identity consist of? Would that be enough to counter ongoing (covert) actions of discrimination?
Lesson Plan Works Cited:
Kim, Elaine. "Defining Asian American Realities through Literature." A Companion to Asian American Studies. Ed. Kent Ono. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005. 196-214.
U.S. Library of Congress, UC Berkeley, and California Historical Society. The Chinese in California 1850-1925. < http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award99/cubhtml/cichome.html>
U.S. National Archives. May- Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Heritage Month and Holidays Collections. < http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnationalarchives/sets/72157626380020833/>
U. S. National Archives, Freedom Corps, and National History Day. "Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)." 100 Milestone Documents. < http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=47>
Unit - Suggested Seminal Readings (audio, visual, performance media not excluded):
Chickencoop Chinaman. By Frank Chin. Dir. by Jack Gelber. American Place Theatre, New York. 27 May 1972. Performance.
Chin, Frank, Jeffrey Chan, Lawson Inada, and Shawn Wong, eds. The Big Aiiieeeee! Washington, DC: Howard UP, 1974.
Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1975.
Kingston, Maxine Hong. China Men. New York, NY: Knopf, 1980.
Vincent Who? Prod. Curtis Chin. Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, 2009. DVD.
Who Killed Vincent Chin? Prods. Juanita Anderson, Christine Choy, and Renee Tajima-Pena. 1987. Film.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1989.
Wong, Shawn. Homebase. Berkeley, CA: Bookpeople, 1979.
Zia, Helen. Asian-American Dreams. London, UK: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.

Above Photo Credit U.S. National Archives  - Farmer of Japanese ancestry showing identification card 05-08-42

-Lesson plan researched and prepared by Chriswong (columbiapress.org), copyright May 2012.



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Frances Kai-Hwa Wang (not verified) on Thu, 06/07/2012 - 19:15

thanks for the shoutout! Then have your students answer the questions: "What does the Vincent Chin case mean to you? How does the Vincent Chin case inspire you?" then email to me at rememberingvincentchin AT gmail DOT com or use twitter (tag @fkwang and hashtag #vchin). I will post responses at http://www.rememberingvincentchin.com. THANKS!

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