Project Description

Assessment and Rubric

Learning Objectives

Project Components

Lesson Planning Suggestions

National Standards Correlations

Cross-curricular Extensions and Activities


"World War II Remembered" gives students the opportunity to investigate World War II by learning about events through the stories of people who experienced them firsthand. Eyewitness accounts unfold around four significant wartime events: the story of Nazi Germany and Anne Frank, the attack on Pearl Harbor, life in America during wartime, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. An oral history writing activity is woven throughout the project. It is used in conjunction with the Writer's Workshop.

"World War II Remembered" includes an abundance of information that can be used flexibly to meet most classrooms' many needs. Any combination of the events, or just one single event may be taught. This project can be used over several weeks of class time, or segments of it can be utilized during a shorter time frame. It provides opportunities for group collaboration and exploration as well as for individual learning. Instructors should feel free to tailor these activities for use with their students. Visit We Remember Anne Frank or We Witnessed the Attack on Pearl Harbor for more detailed activities and lesson plans on those specific World War II experiences.

Several assessment components are embedded in this lesson plan. An Activity Assessment Rubric assesses student proficiency with the journal activity and a Writing Workshop rubric assesses student proficiency with the oral history activity.

In the course of participating in "World War II Remembered," students will:

  • learn about World War II, its survivors, and the war's impact on daily life;
  • identify cause and effect relationships among wartime events;
  • draw conclusions about human behavior;
  • become familiar with war-related vocabulary;
  • improve content-area reading and writing skills;
  • keep a daily journal about personal reactions to historical events;
  • exchange topical information in peer discussions;
  • write an oral history;
  • become proficient with the interview process;
  • enhance knowledge of online research;
  • expand fluency of text structures, including maps, timelines, diaries, and interviews;
  • read nonfiction stories;
  • use technology skills to navigate interactive Web activities and find information.

We Remember Anne Frank
This component gives students the unique opportunity to "meet" two heroic women whose enduring human spirit and courage in the face of horror enabled them to risk everything to help Anne Frank and her family. Students gain important knowledge of World War II and its devastating effects by doing research online, becoming familiar with terms and places associated with the Holocaust, and understanding how events in Europe during the Nazis' rise to power impacted the lives of real people. For more specific information, please refer to a separate Teacher's Guide for this component.

Pearl Harbor
Students explore an eyewitness account of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. They use a timeline to sequence events surrounding Japan's surprise attack, and analyze the influence of geographic location and features on political events. Students also have an opportunity to enrich their vocabulary by familiarizing themselves with words and phrases associated with war. For more specific information, please refer to a separate Teacher's Guide for this component.

American Home Front
The social changes that affected all aspects of American life during World War II are explored. The personal accounts of two Americans are at the center of the social upheaval. Betty Reilly reveals the changes that women's roles underwent during the war and how this affected the American workplace. Read the transcript of the student interview of Ms. Reilly about her experiences. Norman Mineta discusses his boyhood experience as a victim of the forced relocation of many, particularly West Coast-based Nisei and foreign-born Japanese. Students also explore the changes in everyday life through an interactive photograph of a "typical" American kitchen and living room. Users are able to get more information about objects in these rooms by clicking on them.

World War II Timeline
Using the Tom Snyder ® Productions' Timeliner, students can explore a timeline of important dates and photos of World War II. Using the resources from the project, students can add important information to this timeline. Note: this requires a download.

World War II Remembered Discussion
Join author Ken Mochizuki and Professor Roger Daniels as they discuss the plight of Japanese Americans during World War II. Students can submit questions May 1 through May 31, 2002. .

World War II Memory Book
Students interview a relative or community member about the war's impact on his or her life. Four research-based steps develop students' interviewing skills: finding a subject, preparing for the interview, interviewing the eyewitness, and writing an oral history. Upon completion of the interview, students may publish their work online and join other students in creating a World War II Memory Book. It is used in conjunction with the Writer's Workshop.

Hiroshima: A Survivor's Story
Students read the factual account of Mitsuo Tomosawa, an eyewitness to the bombing of Hiroshima; respond to comprehension questions about the story; and read a transcript of the student interview with the eyewitness.

Build WW II Background
(1–2 days) Explain to students that they will be learning about World War II and its effect on the people who lived through it by studying four significant episodes of the war: the Holocaust, the attack on Pearl Harbor, American life during wartime, and the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Inform students that they will be reading firsthand accounts of these events.

Begin the unit with a discussion of the knowledge students already possess of World War II. Hone in particularly on the four events explored here. Record responses on the chalkboard. Have students keep a World War II journal in which they record their reactions and feelings to the material as they work through the project. Share the journal rubric with students to inform them of what their journals should accomplish. Have students record their thoughts about the new information in their journal. Students can also find valuable background information on World War II on the World Wide Web.

Memory Book (3 weeks)

Assign the oral history writing activity and visit the World War II Memory Book in the Writer's Workshop. Monitor students' progress in the writing activity as they work independently and in pairs throughout the life of the "World War II Remembered" project. Allow some class time every day for students to return to their oral histories. Check with students on their progress on a regular basis. Students can find transcripts of interviews with Miep Gies, Hanneli Pick-Goslar, the Ganos, and Francis Mitsuo Tomosawa to use as models.

We Remember Anne Frank

Build Background (half day)
Engage students in a discussion about their knowledge of Anne Frank and the Holocaust. Show them pictures that relate to Anne Frank and the events surrounding her life. Have students record reflections in their journals.

Anne Frank and the Holocaust (1–2 days)
Introduce the story of Anne Frank and Her Diary. Have students refer to the Holocaust Glossary when encountering terms they don't know.

Ask students to submit three questions they have about the effects of World War II and the Holocaust on people like Anne Frank. Explain that they will be discussing answers to these questions in the coming week.

The Story of Miep Gies (2 days)

Read the story of Miep Gies. Have students take notes on Miep's actions and their consequences. Discuss why Miep took risks and how students would have acted if put in Miep's shoes.

Interview: Have students read Miep's interview transcript for other information, such as what the Secret Annex looked like, Anne's personality, how Anne's diary was found, and life after the war. Let students know that they will be interviewing someone who remembers World War II. Then discuss interview elements, such as the types of questions asked, the main idea of interview questions, and so on.

Stories of Courage (2 days)

Introduce the Stories of Courage writing activity. Show students how to access the list of Holocaust Rescuers and Survivors provided in the activity. Encourage them to select one person to research further.

Interview: If students conduct interviews for this activity, refer them to tips on the interview process of the memory book.

Encourage students to read one of the twelve online biographies available through the Stories of Courage activity. Have them react to what they read by writing a poem, essay, dialogue, etc. Have students write a Story of Courage when they have finished researching and writing. Discuss the activity with the class before students begin their work.

The Story of Hanneli Pick-Goslar (2–3 days)

Read the story of Anne Frank's friendship with Hanneli by clicking through Memories of a Friendship. As they read the story, ask students to write down questions they have.

Interview: Read the interview with Hanneli Pick-Goslar to see if any of students' questions are answered. Encourage students to take notes on the interview process while reading. Have students pay attention to the interviewer's tone, and notice the various subject areas of the interview. Explain that this will help them with the interview they conduct for the Memory Book.

Have students describe orally or in writing their impressions of Hanneli and what they learned about the Holocaust.

For more detailed information on Anne Frank and the Holocaust, please refer to a separate Teacher's Guide for this component.

Review (1 day)
Review information about the Holocaust and Anne Frank. Display a map of the world and point out Europe and the Netherlands, where Anne Frank lived. Then point out the geographic location of Hawaii and Pearl Harbor in the Pacific Ocean. Explain that the war had eventually spread to half of the globe. Talk about distances that are topically relevant.

Pearl Harbor

Build Background (half day)
Engage students in a discussion about their knowledge of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Show them pictures that relate to the event. Have students record new information in their journals.

Explore the History of Japanese-American Relations (2 days)
Assign small groups to research an event on the timeline leading up to December 7. Have students start by clicking each date to access detailed information about the event. The hyper-linked Web sites within the text will provide additional online resources. Ask groups to present their event to the class, including their response to the discussion starters related to various items on the timeline.

For more detailed information on Pearl Harbor, please refer to the Teacher's Guide for this component.

Relive December 7 (1–2 days)

Begin by reviewing the hour-by-hour events, re-creating history with students.

Ask students to record three questions in their journals that they may have about the effects of World War II and Pearl Harbor on its survivors. Explain that they will be discussing answers to these questions later in the project.

Meet the Eyewitnesses (1–2 days)
Read the profile with Pearl Harbor eyewitnesses Johnie and Dale Gano. Have students develop three questions they would ask the Ganos if they were interviewers. Students can read the questions aloud and discuss why they believe these would be good interview questions. Then they can read through the transcripts of the interview with the Ganos to see if their questions have been answered. If questions were not answered, have small groups discuss possible responses.

Review (half day)
Have small groups discuss answers to their questions about Pearl Harbor and record personal responses in their journals. Explain that Pearl Harbor was the event that caused the United States to join World War II, and that the bombing of Hiroshima was one of the main events that ushered in the end of the war.

The American Home Front

Build Background (half day)
Engage students in a discussion about their knowledge of American life during World War II. Show them pictures that relate to the event, and visit Web sites listed in the Resources. Have students record reflections on the new information in their journals.

Read From Homemaker to Shipbuilder (3-4 days)
Have students read the account of Elizabeth "Betty" Reilly. If computer resources are an issue, print out pages for individual reading. Have students click the hyperlinked Web sites within the text for additional relevant information and definitions of war-related vocabulary. Encourage students to react to the comprehension prompts at the end of each page in their journals. You may wish to have students listen to a version of the "Rosie the Riveter" song. Read the lyrics with the class along with the song. Divide the class into small groups. Circulate the following questions for small-group discussion.

  1. What can you infer about the American workplace prior to World War II?
  2. How might women's perceptions of themselves have changed during World War II? Why?
  3. Imagine that it's 1941. You and your group members are listening to the radio. You have just heard that Pearl Harbor has been bombed. How would each of you have reacted?
  4. Why do you think it's important to remember Betty Reilly and others like her?
  5. Compare life during World War II and your life today. How are they different? How are they similar? (Have students work through the interactive home life activity before they answer this set of questions.)
  6. Both men and women were responsible for ending the war. What do you think this means? Do you agree or disagree? Why?

Challenge students to present their information in a whole-class discussion. Create a compare and contrast chart on the chalkboard and have volunteers organize the group's responses to question 5 in the chart. Prompt students to add reflections to their journals.

Read Japanese Americans: The War at Home (2 days)
Join the discussion: Have students prepare a list of questions they would like to ask either author Ken Mochizuki or Professor Roger Daniels. They may use what they've learned about Japanese internment camps, Norman Mineta's experiences during the war, and racism in 1940s America. Give students time to discuss what they've written.

Have students decide which questions would be best to ask in the discussion. Arrange a submission day, or schedule submissions over several days. Remember to submit questions from May 1 to May 31, 2002.

Have students read the account of Norman Mineta. If computer resources are an issue, print out pages for individual reading. Discuss the story and the comprehension prompts at the end of each page with students. Prompt students to add reflections to their journals.

Review (half day)
Have a whole-class discussion about the interview process in the context of the interview with Betty Reilly. Ask students to respond to the following questions:

  • What did you learn from the interview that could help you to prepare your own interview or oral history writing?
  • What kinds of questions are helpful? What kinds might you want to avoid? Why?

Build Background (half day)
Engage students in a discussion about their knowledge of the bombing of Hiroshima. Show them pictures that relate to the event. Have students record reflections in their journals.

Read Hiroshima: A Survivor's Story (2 days)
Students read the account of Francis Mitsuo Tomosawa's pre-war years in Hawaii, his adolescence in wartime Japan, his extraordinary story of survival in the aftermath of the bombing, and his struggle to return to America. Discuss the story and the comprehension prompts with students.

Interview: Have students prepare a list of questions they would have asked Mr. Tomosawa. They may use what they've learned about Tomosawa, Hiroshima, and the interview process to develop their questions. Give students time to discuss what they've written.

  • Have students read the transcript of the interview with Francis Mitsuo Tomosawa to see if their questions are answered.
  • Encourage students to react to the interview with Tomosawa by writing a one-paragraph profile about this World War II survivor. Profiles should include personal reactions to Mr. Tomosawa's wartime experience, a life lesson learned from Mitsuo, and a fact about the war's effects on people that Mitsuo's story helped to illuminate.
  • Ask students to incorporate new interview skills they've learned into their own Memory Book activity.

Build a Timeline
Note: You will need to download the Tom Snyderâ Productions Timeliner Demo 5.0 before using the timeline in the classroom. Click here for download directions.

Build Background (half day)
Engage students in a discussion about what they have learned about World War II. Discuss the timeline of events for the United States and the world. Discuss important dates of the war and as a class, record these dates.

Build Your Own Timeline (2 days)
Assign small groups to research one of the dates discussed earlier. Have the students find information as well as one piece of media (photograph, film, or sound file) from the Internet. Tom Snyder has a good resource list of sites for finding images and clip art. Once students have gathered their information, as a class, compile the information. Students will enter this information into the World War II Timeline (TBD), which they can print out. (Note: Students will not be able to save their timelines with the Tom Snyder Demo. Make sure you have enough time left in the class for students to enter their information in one sitting.)

Wrapping It Up (1–5 days)

  • Students can spend the final few days finishing any incomplete writing and extension activities.
  • Allow students time to finish their oral histories and use the rest of the week to publish them in the Memory Book in the Writer's Workshop.
  • Collect student journals for assessment.
  • Volunteers may share copies of pages of their World War II journals with the class. You may wish to publish journal entries from in a classroom World War II Journal. Students may wish to post these on a Class Homepage.

This project aids students in meeting national standards in several curriculum areas.

Social Studies
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

  • Culture (Students learn how to understand multiple perspectives that derive from different cultural vantage points.)
  • 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.)
  • Individual Development and Identity (Students learn to ask questions such as Why do people behave as they do? What influences how people learn, perceive, and grow?)
  • Individuals, Groups, and Institutions (Students study interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.)
  • Power, Authority, and Governance (Students study how people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance.)
  • Civic Ideas and Practices (Students study the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.)
  • Global Connections (Students analyze patterns and relationships within and among world cultures.)
  • Production, Distribution, and Consumption (Students study how people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.)
  • Science, Technology, and Society (Students study relationships among science, technology, and society.)

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

  • Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. (1)
  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes. (4)
  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes. (5)
  • Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts. (6)
  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience. (7)
  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge. (8)
  • Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles. (9)
  • Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities. (11)
  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information). (12)

Technology Foundation Standards for Students

  • use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
  • use technology tools to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences
  • 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
  • use technology tools to process data and report results · employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world

  • Using computer software such as ClarisWorks, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Works or The Writing Center by The Learning Company, have students create and maintain electronic versions of their journals. Allow students to illustrate their work by using the drawing and painting features of the software. In addition to recording their personal reactions, the journal can be used for keeping notes, creating glossaries of unfamiliar words, and storing pertinent questions. (Grades 4–5)
    Language Arts/Art
  • Provide a classroom bulletin board or school area where students are responsible for developing a special display on The Diary of Anne Frank or one of the other World War II events. Assign a group of students the task of designing the bulletin board. The idea could be expanded to include different types of diaries, such as picture (drawing) or electronic journals. Invite other subject-area teachers such as the art teacher to participate in expanding this activity. (Grades 4–6)
  • Have students use the Tom Snyderâ Productions Timeliner or print the World War II timeline and add images or drawings to create a full World War II multimedia timeline. (Grades 3-8)
  • Have students use questions, answers, and facts they've learned throughout the project to compile a list. Invite students to turn five items into question and answer form. These should involve the effects of the war on people. (Grades 4–6)
    Reading/Language Arts/History
  • Ask students to develop their own personal timeline about their families during the years 1941–1945, or a timeline of their own lives. A time line can be as traditional in format as a listing of events. A timeline could also be represented through a chart, photographs, or objects. (Grades 5–6)
    Art/Social Studies
  • Display a world map, marking the location of the historical events described throughout this project. Where did the events occur? Research what life was like in your community during World War II. How did the events impact your community? Compare and contrast life then and now. (Grades 6–8)
    Social Studies/Geography
  • Have students create a map of the world that reveals relevant information concerning different nations' roles in the war. Ideas for map subjects include: which nations were at war, allied and axis nations, numbers and location of injured or lost populations, military strength in numbers, cities bombed or destroyed by the war, the economic cost of the war, and so forth. Suggest that students develop and create a key. (Grades 7–8)
    Geography/Social Studies/Art
  • Although the events surrounding World War II were devastating to the world's nations and resources, science made several important gains. Have students research a scientific breakthrough that occurred during the war period. Students can write a paper, give an oral report, keep a historical journal, or create artwork that depicts a relevant experience. In their work, students should include the effects the scientific breakthrough had on society and the world as a whole. (Grades 7–8)
    Science/Language Arts/Art

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