Our school system is a small rural Wisconsin setting with an unusually high poverty level. Despite the obstacles that this creates, many of our students successfully continue on to post high school education at either the technical college or the traditional four-year college. But for our graduates to be successful, it is important for them to understand and accept diverse cultures and traditions as part of a larger picture.
Because we are so rural and have such a limited budget, (this year's 9-12 English budget was $704), we are limited to what we can do; however,it is my goal that students completing their sophomore year will be introduced to as many diverse cultures as possible. The easiest way for students to do this is through literature about people in their age group and historical events that shaped their lives. One such event is the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. In addition, it is our plan to teach this book in my English 10 class while the U.S. history class is studying this time period as well; the end result seeing that bias and prejudice isn't just abroad but can exist within our own boundaries.
The book FAREWELL TO MANZANAR by Jeanne and James Houston is a non-fiction writing that depicts Jeanne's experiences as a Japanese-American and how those events of her family's internment eventually destroyed the pride and integrity of many of her family members.
With 32 copies of this book, I can provide this experience in a shared environment with the history and special education department. It is our intention that all students, despite any learning disability, will be provided the opportunity to understand the events of this time and then look at today's version of prejudice and resulting unfair treatment. In order to break the cycle of prejudice based on fear, they must first recognize it for what it is. Only then will they look at the world as a place for exploration and not something to avoid and judge.
|Farewell to Manzanar Jeanne W. Houston, James D. Houston, Foreword by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston • Barnes and Noble||$6.29||32||$201.28|
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This classroom project was brought to life by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and 2 other donors.