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Lesson Plans/Curriculum Unit

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Lesson Plans/Curriculum Unit

East Asian Studies Project
Nicholas S. D'Amico, Ph.d.
January 15, 2013


by John D. McNeil,whose course in curriculum development I completed during my doctoral coursework
at the University of California, Los Angeles. I dedicate this unit to him and my dissertation chairman, John F. Hawkins, Director of the Council for International and Comparative Studies (CICS), and an expert on the People's Republic of China and Taiwan.

Conception of the Curriculum

Social Reconstructionist Curriculum/Futurology/Social Adaptation

According to McNeil, few schools have tried to develop a curriculum completely within the framework of social deconstructionism. Yet, poor communities in the United States, the Peace Corps, and some Third World or developing countries have followed this philosophy. Learning opportunities must be real, require action on the part of students, and teach them values. Students need to believe they can change their community and the world in some way. Learners must form a coherent system of values and a sense of social justice (right and wrong).

According to Paulo Freire, the 20th century's "…leading social deconstructionist in both theory and practice," in both my estimation and that of Professor McNeil, The educator must challenge the felt needs of each person so they can be freed from blind adherence to their own world vies as well as to the uncritically examined views of others. a

Michael Apple and Henry Giroux, two other leading proponents of this approach to curriculum development, have pointed out that knowledge "reproduced" in most schools produces a stratified social order and perpetuates the values of the dominant social class and their corporate interests. Conflict must be made part of the curriculum both because it is is a legitimate means of getting recourse in unequal societies and a positive source of vitality and renewal."

California State Standard(s)

11.3 United States History
Students analyze the relationship among the rise of industrialization, large- scale rural-to-urban migration, and massive immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe.
1. Know the effects of industrialization on living and working conditions, including the portrayal of working conditions and food safety in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.
2. Describe the changing landscape, including the growth of cities linked by industry and trade, and the development of cities divided according to race, ethnicity, and class.
3. Trace the effect of the Americanization movement.
4. Analyze the effect of urban political machines and responses to them by immigrants and middle-class reformers.

Main Ideas and Themes
Immigration to the United States of America from Asia, Europe,
the Caribbean, and Mexico reached a new high in the late 1800s and early 1900s

The United States was transformed into a more diverse society, a demographic trend which will continue and even accelerate into the future, impact the lives and careers of my inner city students at West Adams High School in Los Angeles. The neighboring communities include Korea Town, Historic Filippino Town, Little Tokyo, and Chinatown, the pre-World War II Jewish neighborhood of Boyle Heights, now home to over a million Mexican and Latin Americans, all within a radius of 3-5 miles

Academic Vocabulary

Push and Pull Factors Impacting
Emigration and Immigration respectively.


Land Shortage/Lack of Land Reform

Religious Persecution

Political Persecution

"Birds of Passage" or "Golondrinos"
(immigrants who intended to return home
or came and left repeatedly or seasonally)

Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Gentlemen's Agreement

What Should Be Taught

A leading Italian-American attorney told my students that he learned to be an attorney
and to want to be an attorney by reading biographies of famous lawyers and their struggles for social justice. I believe that biographies can act a instruments of biblio-therapy, for poor students from inner city high schools like mine that have as their mission providing a college preparatory education for all students from the community.

Learning Opportunities

Video Clip in Spanish and in English
From China to Chinatown: Fong See's American Dream
Story of 14 year old boy who left China in 1871 bound for California,
or "Gold Mountain" as it was known.

"Delbert Wong: First Chinese American Judge,"
by Marshall Wong ( Gum Saan Journal, Special Edition 2004)
Chinese Historical Society of Southern California
Son of an immigrant houseboy and grandson of a woman who knew nothing of her origins, Delbert served with distinction during World War II and found himself the only person of color at Stanford University's Law School in the year 1948!. His career began in the Office of the Legislative Counsel and the Los Angeles' Attorney General's Office. He was appointed as the first American judge (Superior Court) of Chinese descent in 1959.

Administering Curriculum

Day One

Students view video clips from the California Edition of McDougal Littell's The Americans textbook. First in Spanish and then in English. Spanish is the primary language of a large segment of our school's student population.
Discuss questions would focus on topics such as what arguments they could make against nativism and anti-immigrant feelings.


They would be guided to consider the personal qualities of immigrant, the reasons for anti-immigrant feelings, and the contributions of immigrants to the United States and to their native lands.

Student create diagrams that trace causes and effects, effects being immigrants leaving their country, immigrants facing hardships in the United States, and some nativists wanting to restrict immigration.

Days Two and Three

Students jigsaw in small groups the 60 pages (5" x8.5") of this booklet-sized biography, which can be easily divided into sections of 10 pages. Students will apply skills of annotation which require them to
1. Ask a question
2. Give an example
3. Make a prediction
4. Make a connection
5. Paraphrase or summarize
6. Sketch a picture
7. Form an opinion
8. Clarify
9. Define in their own words
10. Evaluate claims

Days Four and Five (extension)

Students create a graphic novel using anime of photos appearing throughout the booklet, using apps from their smart phones with appropriate legal permissions granted by the publisher for educational use.

Students create a story board for a project in video production class.

Guest speakers from the local bar association, Italian American Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Japanese American Bar Association (JABA), and the Southern California Chinese Bar Association.

Evaluation of Students and the Curriculum

Students will respond to questions related to the standards, topics, and themes from the CST release questions for World History and Geography and United States History.

Students will develop a rubric or scoring guide for judging the quality of their projects.

Students will conduct research to identify biographies about leading historical figures representing other diverse cultural groups in the legal professions( Japanese, Latino, Philippines, Korea)