Teacher's Guide for
Asian American History

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

America has been called both a melting pot and a tossed salad because of its history of immigration and assimilation. However, not all immigration groups were quickly or easily accepted into the American way of life. Asians were one of the groups that found it hard to come to the United States, and once they had immigrated, found their lives restricted in ways that other immigrant groups did not encounter. In spite of these obstacles, Asian Americans have contributed in many ways to our nation's history and continue to be one of the largest new immigrant groups today.

To learn more about the history and culture of these Asian Americans, Scholastic.com presents Asian American Heritage. This online activity introduces different stories and activities to students and reinforces that Asian Americans have diverse cultural backgrounds. This activity celebrates those differences especially during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May.

This project is suitable for students in grades K–8. See Lesson Planning Suggestions or a prescribed plan on using this project with your students.

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Scholastic's Online Activities are designed to support the teaching of standards-based skills. While participating in the Asian American Heritage project, students will:

[1] Use Web technology to access American history and the Asian-American experience.
[2] Relive the Asian-American experience through firsthand accounts and biographies.
[3] Evaluate journals as historical artifacts, especially the concept of firsthand account vs. history text.
[4] Study Asian culture by completing an arts and craft activity that connects students, hands-on to the culture of a different country.
[5] Investigate immigration date, numbers, and patterns of Asians coming to the United States.
[6] Discuss Asian American writing with author interviews.

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PROJECT COMPONENTS

Angel Island: Meet Li Keng Wong
Grades 4–8
Li Keng Wong was born in China and immigrated to the United States in 1933. She relives her journey — which she made with her mother and two sisters — from her small village, through Angel Island, to meet her father in Oakland, California.

World War II Remembered: Japanese Americans: The War at Home
Grades 4–8
This component is also part of the World War II Remembered online activity. In this component, Norman Mineta — U.S. Secretary of Transportation and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton — discusses his boyhood experience as a victim of the forced relocation of many Japanese Americans as well as foreign-born Japanese.

Notable Asian Americans: Meet these Asian Americans who have made a difference
Grades 3–6
Students read a short biography of ten notable Asian Americans who have contributed to American history in a variety of fields — whether as an individual or as a group. Students can continue their research of these Asian Americans through related grade-appropriate links.

Asian American Statistics: Discover the numbers of Asian Americans living in the United States
Grades 3—7
Clicking on a map of Asia, students can learn how many immigrants came to the United States from that country, in which states most of the immigrants settled, and what were the peak immigration years from that country. This is an ideal way to show students that there are distinctions between the terms "Asian American" and "Indian American" or "Korean American." It is also a good way to bring math and statistics into your social studies curriculum.

Research Starter: Confucianism
Grades 5–8
Start research papers right with the Confucianism Research Starter. Powered by Grolier Online, this research starter introduces students to a major Asian religion by giving new vocabulary, recommended research topics, and in-depth articles.

Author Biographies
Grades K–8
Students can read the biography of Soyung Pak, author of A Place to Grow, which is about a Korean father and daughter who work on a garden together. Students can also read about Janet Wong, who writes books honoring Asian-American Culture.

Printable Activities
Grades K–2
Younger students can learn about Asian cultures through these printable and online arts and crafts activities. For the zodiac activity, students can print out their zodiac sign to color and make into a necklace. Online, students can interact with a virtual calligraphy practice session. Or, students can print and color their very own sun kite to fly after school.

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LESSON PLANNING SUGGESTIONS
Class Management: As you plan your age-appropriate lesson, you may wish to print out any reading assignment pages and staple them into a book for individual students. If you have several computers in your classroom, assign computer time to small groups of same-reading level students.

For grades K–2

If you have one day:
If you use the zodiac printable activity, start the class by talking about the Chinese zodiac. Have the students compare the Chinese symbols with the western astrology signs. Do your students know what astrological sign they were born under? As a class, figure out what zodiac sign each student is born under. Since many students will be born in the same year, you can also have them pick their parents' zodiac sign. Have students print their zodiac sign (you may want to do this in advance), and have them follow the directions. If you have more time at the end of the class, have students read their Zodiac descriptions aloud.

To use the calligraphy activity, start the lesson by talking about handwriting. Do they remember learning to write? Turn the discussion to calligraphy. Set up each student or small groups of students in front of a computer and have them read the paragraph on the importance of calligraphy in Asian cultures. Have the students practice their own calligraphy in the virtual calligraphy activity.

To extend the calligraphy project:
If you have more time, you can extend the calligraphy activity by having the students practice calligraphy in the classroom. Using paintbrushes, paper, and black paint. Have students copy the symbol from the virtual calligraphy activity they complete online.

To use the kite project, have students read the paragraph on kites in Asia. Discuss the different ways that kites can be used. Ask students how they use kites. Then print out the kite (you may want to do this in advance), and have students follow the directions.

As a class, you can join the live interview of author Soyung Pak and the bulletin board with author Janet Wong where they can ask their questions about these authors' books, which deal with different aspects of Asian-American cultures. If you cannot attend either live event or have missed them, you can have students come up with a list of questions and then read the interview transcripts to see if any of those questions were answered.

For grades 3–5
If you have one day:

Introduce Asian American heritage through a class discussion. Ask students what groups belong under the umbrella term "Asian Americans." Prompt students to talk about the differences between these groups. Is being Indian American the same as being Korean American? Have them explain.

Have students explore the Asian-American Statistics map. As a class or in smaller groups, have the students identify all the countries within Asia. After they have identified the countries, have them explore the pop-up map and take notes on the number of immigrants from Asian countries, the states that they immigrated to, and the peak years of immigration. After they have completed their notes, continue the class discussion on what this information means to them and to the United States.

If you have one to five days:

Extend the lesson above by discussing Asian Americans and their contributions to American history, culture, sports, science, etc. Make a list of famous Asian Americans and write it on the board. Have students read the Notable Asian Americans article either online or printed in advance. Were any of the people on your list in the article? Assign or have students choose one of the people on the class list and write a one-paragraph biography for that person. Gather all the biographies and create a Notable Asian American booklet.

As a class, you can join the live interview of author Soyung Pak and the bulletin board with author Janet Wong where they can ask their questions about these authors' books, which deal with different aspects of Asian Americans and their different cultures. If you cannot attend either live event or have missed them, you can have students come up with a list of questions and then read the interview transcripts to see if any of those questions were answered.

For grades 6–8
If you have one day:

Introduce Asian American heritage through a class discussion. Ask students what groups belong under the umbrella term "Asian Americans." Prompt students to talk about the differences between these groups. Is being Indian American the same as being Korean American? Have them explain.

Have students explore the Asian American Statistics map and make notes on the number of immigrants from Asian countries, the states that they immigrated to, and the peak years of immigration. After they have completed their notes, continue the class discussion on what this information means to them and to the United States.

If you have one to five days:
Extend the lesson above by continuing the discussion of Asian immigration to the United States. Have students read Li Keng Wong's story of immigration to the United States through Angel Island. As they read the story, each chapter has a Think About It question and a related Web site for further information. Assign different students or groups of students a different question, and have them research and write a response. Each student should share his or her opinion on their Think About It question.

Once students have read Li Keng Wong's story, come back as a class and discuss different Asian Americans and the impact they have had on American history. Make a list of famous Asian Americans and write it on the board. Have students read the Notable Asian Americans article either online or printed in advance. Were any of the people on your list in the article? Have students write biographies of some of the people who are not in the article and create a Notable Asian American booklet.

As a class, you can join the live interview of author Soyung Pak and the bulletin board with author Janet Wong where they can ask their questions about these authors' books, which deal with different aspects of Asian-American cultures. If you cannot attend either live event or have missed them, you can have students come up with a list of questions and then read the interview transcripts to see if any of those questions were answered.

If you have longer:
Following the lesson plan for Li Keng Wong's story of Angel Island, students should read Norman Mineta's story of living in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Compare Li Keng Wong's story of racism with Norman Mineta's story. Discuss the issues that Asian immigrants had coming to the United States. Were they worse than other immigrant groups? Why do students think Asian Americans had a harder time than Europeans coming to the United States?

For older students, you can extend the discussion to different Asian religions. Can students think of different Asian religions? Direct students to the Confucianism Research Starter. Have them read the vocabulary and make note of any new words. As individuals or as a group, students should read through the articles. Once they have come up with a research topic, students should use the articles provided, the Web resources listed, and the library to complete their research paper.

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NATIONAL STANDARDS CORRELATIONS

Reading Language Arts

International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

  • Students use a variety of technological and informational resources (i.e. libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and communicate knowledge.
  • Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and to acquire new information to meet the needs and demands of society.
  • Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.

Social Studies
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

  • Culture (Students learn how to understand multiple perspectives that derive from different cultural vantage points.)
  • Individuals, Groups, and Institutions (Students study interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.)
  • Time, Continuity, and Change (Students study how the world has changed in order to gain perspective on the present and the future.)
  • People, Places, and Environments (Students utilize technological advances to connect to the world beyond their personal locations. The study of people, places, and human-environment interactions assists learners as they create their spatial views and geographic perspectives of the world.)
  • Global Connections (Students analyze patterns and relationships within and among world cultures.)

Technology
Technology Foundation Standards for Students:

  • use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
  • use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences
  • use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources

CROSS-CURRICULAR EXTENSIONS

Math
Using the Asian American Statistics map, have students create two graphs to show Asian American growth in the United States. Make the first graph a bar graph with the x-axis for the country and the y-axis for the number of immigrants in the U.S. from that country. The second graph would be a line graph with the x-axis for the country and the y-axis for the decade of peak immigration years. Once students have filled out the graphs, have them compare the numbers. What countries have the largest immigration populations in the United States? Which years were popular for Asians to immigrate to the United States? Can you explain these numbers?

Art and Geography
As a class, have the students create a large version of the map of Asia. Have the students color each country in a different color, writing in the statistics provided in the Asian American Statistics section. For countries in Asia for which there are no statistics, have students research the information and fill in the map as completely as possible.

Language Arts
Ask students how they would feel if they were immigrating to the United States from China, just like Li Keng Wong. Have students write fictional journals about coming to America through Angel Island.

RESOURCES

For a complete list of resources, click on Scholastic's Related Booklist.