Where I’m From: Using Haiku Deck to Visualize Place

Where-Im-fromHere’s a lesson I designed for use in my University of Alaska Southeast summer course – ALST 600. I’ll be working with nearly 40 preservice teachers in the secondary MAT program teaching Alaska Studies using a place-based approach that integrates good instructional practice and free ed tech tools across the curriculum. For more on this lesson click here

This lesson features a poem as a prompt for a creative reflection. It also integrates two tools for presentation of the reflection.

  1. After reading Where I’m From, students will use Haiku Deck to design a brief presentation that uses text and images to depict “where they are from.” The presentation should include a a title slide plus 6 slides which explore the place you’re from. Follow this link for ideas on Where to Go with “Where I’m From”
  2. After completing the Haiku Deck presentation, students will create a blog post that includes an embedded version of the presentation and a written response to the question:

What have I learned from this activity and how might I use the learning strategies and / or technology in my teaching placement?

Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments–
snapped before I budded —
leaf-fall from the family tree.



American Popular Music Responds to Pearl Harbor

Remember Pearl HarborMy Social Studies Methods class at the University of Portland recently published a free multi-touch iBook – Exploring History: Vol III (free iTunes). It features thirteen engaging questions and historic documents that empower students to be the historian in the classroom. For more info on our project and free download of multi-touch iBook and pdf versions click here. To better publicize student work, I’m featuring each chapter in it’s own blog post. (Seventh of 13)

A date of Infamy by Mollie Carter
Download lesson as 1.4MB pdf

It’s Dec 10, 1941 you are listening to the radio and hear a song about Pearl Harbor.

Imagine that you were in Hawaii at the time of the attack. Hawaii is not yet a state but America is dazzled by its island beauty; you might even think of it as part of America, your home.

Now picture that you are seeing these images in person, maybe you even saw and heard the planes flying overhead as the attack commenced.

What about the images sticks out to you that might leave a lasting impression? What are you feeling as you see the smoke billowing over the battleships? As the bomb explodes when it hits the ship? You know there is a war going on in Europe and in Asia, but now it’s come to you. What might your thoughts be about the people who attacked you? What ideas or values lead you to these thoughts?   

 

Reflection by Mollie Carter

I have rather enjoyed creating this lesson. The idea was something I became interested in while in college and have not had the space to develop since then. When this project was introduced to me I knew immediately what I would do.

It became more interesting, unfortunately, in the middle of November as Paris was attacked and hateful rhetoric began to come from the republican presidential candidates. It reminded me of some of the rhetoric after the attacks on the twin towers, which as a 12 year old then I clearly remember. As I started my venture into teaching, I realized that many of my students would be born near or after this day that so scarred my memory. I was reminded of my own age as well as my place in the greater timeline of history. It is this realization that directed me to think of another generations “day of infamy” and the ways we teach it to students who have little context for it.

I also find myself wanting to emphasize on historical empathy, or perspective taking. Often times when looking at history, we may look at it with our modern day perspectives and judge the people of the past without seeing things through their eyes. The purpose of this is not to justify their actions but realize that it could still happen to us; that if we forget the past or believe we are above it, we are bound to repeat it.

Creating this document based lesson allowed me to combine both of these ideas of mine into one, ideally powerful, lesson. I am not a Mac person so learning to use the book design software was a bit of a learning curve but in the end I found it worth it to create this easy to access lesson. I hope that whoever may find this will have some deep discussions both about our history and the nature of humans themselves.

Image credit: ”Remember Pearl Harbor
Words by Don Reid. Music by Don Reid and Sammy Kaye. Republic Music Corp., NYC, 1941.
From the Popular American Sheet Music Collection, Department of Special Collections, Miller Nichols Library.

Uprooted: Russell Lee FSA Photo Exhibit

Uprooted from Uprooted Exhibit on Vimeo.

During the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans, some 33,000 Nikkei left concentration camps to work as seasonal farm laborers, often in the sugar beet industry. UPROOTED introduces their story. This traveling exhibit features a selection of images from federal photographer Russell Lee’s documentation of farm labor camps in Oregon and Idaho. Through Lee’s photographs, new research, and firsthand accounts from farm laborers themselves, the exhibit uncovers the rarely told story of life in the camps.

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center
February 11th to June 19th. 
121 NW 2nd Ave. Portland, OR 97209

Uprooted Exhibit 07

The Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission is proud to present Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps During World War II. The exhibit features a selection of photographs from Russell Lee’s documentation of Japanese American farm labor camps near the towns of Nyssa, Oregon and Rupert, Shelley, and Twin Falls, Idaho. This is the first time many of these images have been exhibited. As a photographer for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), Lee captured nearly six hundred images of the Nikkei wartime experience. From 1935 to 1944, the FSA’s documentary photography program produced approximately 175,000 black-and-white film negatives and 1,600 color images.

Visitors will learn about Japanese American farm labor camps through Lee’s photographs, interpretative text panels, and a short documentary film featuring firsthand accounts about life in the camps. The exhibit’s website includes additional photographs, historic documents, video clips and transcripts from oral history interviews, and two lesson plans - How to Read Documentary Films and How to Read Documentary Photographs (Note: I developed both lessons).

Uprooted Exhibit 05

This exhibit was supported by grants from the National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Preservation Program; the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Fred W. Fields Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation; the Malheur County Cultural Trust; and the Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust.

Farm Labor ad from the Minidoka Irrigator (camp newspaper)For more information on this project please contact the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission. For questions regarding the JACS grant program, please contact Kara Miyagishima, Program Manager, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, NPS, at 303-969-2885.

Click ad on left to enlarge  For more photos see Uprooted Photo Gallery 

Men on truck: Many of the single men and families came to the Rupert, Idaho camp from Minidoka, Heart Mountain, Manzanar, and Poston. The seasonal leave program drew a mix of people, some with previous agricultural experience and others without. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, LC-USF34-073890-D.

The Ouchida family at the Nyssa, Oregon farm labor camp, pictured clockwise from the lower left: Jack, Shizuko, Henry, Thomas, Kiuda, Shizuyo, Mary, and Rosie. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection, LC-USF34-073354-D.

Newspaper Ad “You don’t need to wait any longer to get out.” From the Minidoka Irrigator.
Sugar companies posted recruitment notices and advertisements in public spaces throughout the camps, as well as in camp newspapers. Such advertisements emphasized seasonal labor as an opportunity to leave confines of camp, but also marketed the work as the patriotic duty of Japanese Americans, ignoring that they had been incarcerated and denied their civil liberties.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., Record Group 210, War Relocation Authority.
 

Photo Exhibit Locates Subjects of WWII Images

Pledge of Allegiance: Hideno Nakamoto and Yoko Itashiki at age 7 and at 72 Pledge of Allegiance: Hideno Nakamoto and Yoko Itashiki at age 7 and at 72

There is a powerful new exhibit at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center Museum in Old Town Portland Ore. (121 NW 2nd Ave Portland, OR 97209)

“Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit” Open through January 17, 2016.

In this all new traveling exhibit, historic images shot in 1942 by War Relocation Authority staff photographers Dorothea Lange, Tom Parker, and others are juxtaposed with contemporary images of the same individuals taken by Sacramento Bee photojournalist Paul Kitagaki, Jr.

The Story Behind the Exhibit by Paul Kitagaki Jr. on Vimeo.

Kitagaki writes:
In the late 1970s, as I started on my path as a photographer, my uncle, Nobuo Kitagaki, an artist in San Francisco, told me that Dorothea Lange had photographed my grandparents, father and aunt in 1942 as they awaited a bus in Oakland, Calif., to begin their journey into detention. Several years later, while looking through hundreds of Lange’s photographs at the National Archives in Washington D.C., I found her original images of my family.

As I examined Lange’s work I realized that every photograph represented an untold story that was quietly buried in the past. I had many questions and few answers. Most importantly, I wanted to know how Executive Order 9066 forever changed the lives of these internees who unjustly lost their homes, businesses and, sometimes, their families.

In 2005 I began searching for the identities of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans whose images of forced relocation were captured by Lange and the other War Relocation Authority photographers, including Clem Albers, Tom Parker and Francis Stewart. It’s a complicated and difficult task, as most of the photographs did not identify incarcerated subjects. During the past eight years I’ve photographed 25 of the original subjects, or their direct descendants, living in California, Oregon and Washington. Recently I’ve located 10 more subjects who need to be photographed. As each year passes we are losing the last Nisei generation along with their untold stories. More

Incarcerated at Heart Mountain: Three Boy Scouts Honor the American Flag (1943 and today) Incarcerated at Heart Mountain: Three Boy Scouts Honor the American Flag (1943 and today)

A Q&A with Paul Kitagaki, Jr. “Photography, Family History, and the Search for Missing Incarcerees” from Densho Blog

Kitagaki’s “Help Find Missing Internees” photo gallery.

Combat Troops in Context: A Visual Literacy DBQ

Howard_Chandler_Christy_-_Gee_I_wish_I_were_a_Man,_I'd_Join_the_Navy_-_Google_Art_Project

My Social Studies Methods class at the University of Portland recently published a free multi-touch iBook – Exploring History: Vol II. It features ten engaging questions and historic documents that empower students to be the historian in the classroom. For more info on our project and free download of multi-touch iBook version click here.

To better publicize student work, I’m featuring each chapter in it’s own blog post. More in series here.

Combat Soldiers in Context by Kristi Anne McKenzie Download as PDF (6.9MB)

This DBQ project will explore documents that contribute to the popular image of the soldier in the minds of the American people. As you examine the following documents, remember to keep in mind both the source of the document and the point of view that is being expressed.

  • Who created the document?
  • What was the goal in creating this document?
  • How does the document reflect the period in time?
  • How do the documents support or contradict one another?

Reflection by Kristi Anne McKenzie ~ AboutMe

Advice to Future Self on Undertaking a DBQ Project

1. Start with the document(s) first. Learn about it (or them), and place that document in a time period and look at everything that surrounds it. Follow the rabbit trail from MLK’s “Beyond Vietnam” to Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again” and see where it takes you. The themes will show themselves sooner or later. Humans are programmed to seek out patterns and find the stories. But starting with a theme and hoping to find documents to undergird that theme is risky. It could work, but it could also lead you on a search for something that doesn’t exist.

2. Be careful about trusting your crazy brain. Sometimes it does magic tricks when you least expect it. Sometimes it lets you think it can do the impossible. This is when you need to reach out to, and listen to, the friends who will be bluntly honest with you and tell you when you’re headed out onto unfruitful waters.

3. Don’t try to answer philosophical questions with a DBQ project. Yes, there is an inherent discrepancy between perception and reality. Great. But a DBQ is probably not the correct avenue to explore such an idea. However, don’t be afraid to present the unanswerable questions. Part of life is learning that not all questions have answers.

4. If you know how your brain works best, go with it. I tried to learn how to design a DBQ while simultaneously trying to figure out how to use Learnist and Evernote with my brain balking at me all the way. When I finally relented to how I learn best (paper and Pilot G-2 pen), my brain finally began to kick into gear. If I had accepted the truth of how my brain works sooner, I could have just gotten the work done and copied and pasted my work into these new programs afterwards. Trying to learn a design process while attempting to learn a new computer program was too taxing and, ultimately, unproductive.

5. Don’t let your heart get broken, don’t lose anyone you love, and don’t get ill. These will all interfere with your work.

6. Don’t be afraid to suck at something the first time you try it. Scarred knees are simply reminders that you now know how to ride a bicycle. Embrace the suck. Listen to Samuel Beckett: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

*** Now that the project has been completed, I might add that, in the end, everything came together fairly easily. My training as a historian turned out to be my secret sidekick. I will do this again, and next time I will do it better.

Image credit: Gee I wish I were a Man, I’d Join the Navy by Howard Chandler Christy (after 1917)
Cooper Hewitt Museum Accession Number 1980-32-1170

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