Analyzing Theme: The Invisibility of Captives during WWII | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M3A:U2:L13

Analyzing Theme: The Invisibility of Captives during WWII

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can determine the meaning of words and phrases in text (figurative, connotative, and technical meanings). (RI.8.4)
  • I can analyze the development of a theme or a central idea throughout the text (including its relationship to supporting ideas). (RI.8.2)
  • I can cite text-based evidence that provides the strongest support for an analysis of literary text. (RI.8.1)

Supporting Targets

  • I can use a Frayer model to deepen my understanding of words in Unbroken.
  • I can provide the strongest textual evidence as I analyze the development of the thematic concept "The Invisibility of Captives during WWII" in Unbroken and "The Life of Mine Okubo.".

Ongoing Assessment

  • Unbroken structured notes, pages 248-261 (from homework)
  • Gathering Textual Evidence note-catcher

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Reader: Frayer Model (13 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (3 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Discussing the Focus Question (15 minutes)

B. Written Conversation: Comparing Louie and Mine (13 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Preview Homework (1 minute)

4. Homework

A. Read the summaries provided on the structured notes and pages 291-293 and 301-308 in Unbroken. Complete the focus question and vocabulary on the structured notes.

  • In this lesson, students continue to address the question of how war affects individuals and societies by analyzing the theme concept of "invisibility" in a complex scene in Unbroken.
  • The work in this lesson builds toward Lesson 14, during which students will receive the prompt for the End of Unit 2 Assessment (Informational Essay and Commentary:  The Invisibility of Captives during WWII) and begin to select the strongest evidence from Unbroken and "The Life of Mine Okubo" to include in their essays. Since students have not worked with "The Life of Mine Okubo" in several lessons, today's Written Conversation will refamiliarize them with that text.
  • Review: Written Conversation protocol (see Appendix).
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

propaganda (from Lesson 12 homework), emaciated (291), liquidated (292), stricken (301), innocuous (303), inuring (305)

Materials

  • Unbroken (book; one per student)
  • Propaganda: Frayer Model (one per student; one to display)
  • Document camera
  • Gathering Textual Evidence note-catcher (from Lesson 3)
  • "The Life of Mine Okubo" (from Lesson 5)
  • Written Conversation note-catcher (one per student; one to display)
  • Unbroken structured notes, pages 261-329 (one per student)
  • Unbroken supported structured notes, pages 261-329 (optional; for students needing extra reading support)
  • Unbroken Structured Notes Teacher Guide, pages 261-329 (for teacher reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Reader: Frayer Model (13 minutes)

  • Invite students to sit with their Marshall Islands discussion partner. Then, have them turn to page 259 in Unbroken and quickly review the gist of the message the Japanese radio producers wanted Louie to record.
  • After a minute, cold call a student to share the gist of the radio message. Listen for him or her to explain that the message was about Louie being alive, even though he had been declared dead by the American government.
  • Explain to students that this radio message was an example of propaganda, and that students will use the Frayer model to better understand what this word means.
  • Distribute the Propaganda: Frayer Model and display using a document camera.
  • Draw students' attention to the Examples box in the lower left corner of the Frayer model. Explain that, since they already know that this radio message was an example of propaganda, this can be the first entry in this box. Write something like: "Louie's second radio address (pages 259-260)" and have students do the same on their own copy.
  • Next, draw students' attention to the Definition box in the upper left corner. Remind them that propaganda was a vocabulary word on last night's structured notes. Invite them to turn and talk with their partners about the definitions of propaganda that they wrote on their structured notes.
  • Cold call several pairs to share out a definition and write something like: "Propaganda is misleading information or media messages that are used to help or harm an individual, group, or country; usually used to gain power or control." Encourage students to write your definition in the Definition box on their Frayer model.
  • Ask students to turn and talk about this definition in the context of the radio message:

* "If propaganda is 'misleading information,' what was misleading about the radio message the Japanese wanted Louie to record?"

  • Call on a volunteer to answer. Listen for: "The message was misleading because it made it seem like Louie was declared dead because of American error, but it was actually because the Japanese had purposefully withheld information about his whereabouts."
  • Explain that the second half of the definition of propaganda ("used to harm an individual, group, or country") is a difficult concept, but Hillenbrand gives us some context clues to help us understand propaganda's purpose. Invite students to work with their partners to look back at their structured notes and at pages 260-261 to find some of these clues.
  • As students talk, circulate and listen for them to find context clues like: "A famous American Olympian ... would be especially valuable," "betray his country," or "hoped to embarrass America and undermine American soldiers' faith in their government." (If students are having trouble finding these clues, consider asking a probing question, like: "Why did the Japanese think Louie would be a good person to deliver this radio address?") Probe as needed.
  • After a few minutes, refocus students whole group. Ask for volunteers to share the context clues that helped them understand the purpose of propaganda.
  • Next, ask:

* "If propaganda is 'used to harm an individual, group, or country,' who was this radio message intended to harm?"

  • Cold call a student, and listen for: "The message was intended to harm America."
  • Ask:

* "How was this message intended to harm America? What effect did the Japanese hope this message would have?"

  • Call on a volunteer to answer, and listen for: "The message was supposed to make Americans feel embarrassed about what had happened to Louie and lose faith in the government."
  • Next, draw students' attention to the box labeled Characteristics/Explanation in the upper right corner of the Frayer model. Ask:

* "Given what you know about this radio address, what characteristics, or qualities, does propaganda have?"

  • Invite students to turn and talk with their partner. Listen for them to say characteristics like: misleading or not fully truthful information, embarrassing, hurtful, public, etc.
  • Cold call several pairs to share and record on the displayed model.
  • Finally, draw students' attention to the box labeled Non-Examples in the lower right corner. Ask:

* "What are other ways that people communicated during World War II that are non-examples of propaganda?"

  • Encourage students to think about the definition and the characteristics listed on the handout and remind them that they are thinking about the opposite of this or what messages that are not propaganda might look like. Listen for them to talk about non-examples like: private letters from one person to another, phone calls, truthful newspaper articles from a free press, etc.
  • Cold call pairs and record the non-examples on the displayed model.
  • Explain that propaganda can be a confusing term, but understanding what it is can help students understand why Louie refused to record the second radio message.
  • Students who received supported structured notes for the homework already had a definition provided for them. They should focus on sharing context clues that supported that definition with their partner.

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (3 minutes)

  • Read the learning targets aloud as students read along silently:

* "I can use a Frayer model to deepen my understanding of words in Unbroken."

* "I can provide the strongest textual evidence as I analyze the development of the thematic concept 'The Invisibility of Captives during WWII' in Unbroken and 'The Life of Mine Okubo.'"

  • Point out that they have already been working toward the first target. Tell students that they will continue tracing the "invisibility" thematic concept in Unbroken, as well as reacquaint themselves with "The Life of Mine Okubo," so they are ready to work on their essays in tomorrow's class.
  • Ask students to turn and talk to paraphrase the second target in their own words.
  • Invite a volunteer to share out a paraphrase. Clarify as needed. Help students see how all their careful work analyzing the text is building their background knowledge so they will write their essay well. Reading, thinking, and talking about the text all support their writing with evidence from the text. 

Work Time

Work Time

A. Discussing the Focus Question (15 minutes)

  • Explain that now that students have a basic understanding of why the message the Japanese radio producers wanted Louie to record was propaganda, they can connect that to the "invisibility" thematic concept the class has been tracking throughout the book.
  • Ask a volunteer to remind the class of the two different definitions of "invisibility" they will use for this unit. Listen for students to explain that invisibility could be literal (being cut off from the outside world) or figurative (being dehumanized).
  • Invite students to turn and talk with their partner about their answer to the focus question on last night's structured notes.
  • After a few minutes, cold call students to share their ideas about the focus question.
  • Next, ask students to think, turn, and talk with their partner: 

* "When Louie refused to record this propaganda message, did he become more or less 'invisible'?"

  • Tell students that they may disagree with their partners about the answer to this question, and they should find the strongest evidence from pages 259-261 to support their answers.
  • As students talk, circulate and listen for some to say that Louie became more invisible, because his family wouldn't know that he was alive unless he recorded the message, and others to argue that he became less invisible by refusing to do something that would make him feel ashamed or dehumanized (like the "propaganda prisoners" on page 261). Note which students found strong evidence and plan to call on them to share back in the next step.
  • After a few minutes, cold call the students you made note of while circulating. Invite them to explain to the class whether they think Louie became more or less "invisible" in this example.
  • Request that students take out their Gathering Textual Evidence note-catcher and add this example.
  • Remind students that one of the great things about reading a complex text like Unbroken is that there can be different ways to understand events, depending on how one interprets the evidence, and this is a good example of one of those cases. Interpreting evidence from the text will be important for writing their essay at the end of this unit, which they will formally begin in the next lesson. In order to tackle that writing, they must be comfortable working with both Unbroken and "The Life of Mine Okubo."

B. Written Conversation: Comparing Louie and Mine (13 minutes)

  • Have students take out their copy of "The Life of Mine Okubo." Ask for volunteers to remind the class of the gist of Okubo's story.
  • Distribute the Written Conversation note-catcher and display a copy on thedocument camera. Remind students that in a written conversation, they write simultaneous notes to their partner about the prompts, swapping them every 2 minutes for a total of two silent exchanges back and forth. They must write for the whole time allotted for each note, putting down words, phrases, questions, connections, ideas--anything related to the passage or responding to what their partner has said, just as they would in an out-loud conversation. Spelling and grammar do not count; these are just notes. However, these notes do need to be focused and text-based.
  • Draw students' attention to the first Written Conversation prompt: * "During World War II, what did Louie Zamperini and Mine Okubo have in common?"
  • Give students 2 minutes for each box on the note-catcher.
  • Once the exchanges are done, cold call pairs to share an important observation or idea from their written conversation.
  • Encourage other students to build off of those ideas in a classroom discussion. Listen for students to recognize that both Louie and Mine were captives because of the war, both faced people trying to make them "invisible," both were American citizens, both resisted and succumbed to attempts to make them "invisible," etc.
  • With 2 minutes remaining, ask:

* "Do you think Louie or Mine became 'invisible' (through isolation or dehumanization) during the war?"

  • Call on volunteers to share their opinions. Encourage students to support their answers with evidence from the texts.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Preview Homework (1 minute)

  • Distribute the Unbroken structured notes, pages 261-329 as well as the Unbroken supported structured notes, pages 261-329, keeping a copy of the Unbroken Structured Notes Teacher Guide, pages 261-329 (for teacher reference).
  • Preview which parts of the text they will read versus which parts they will read summaries of. Read the focus question aloud:

* "Why do the men doubt that the war is over?"

Homework

Homework
  • Read the summaries provided on the structured notes and pages 291-293 and 301-308 in Unbroken. Complete the focus question and vocabulary on the structured notes.

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