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You Must Remember This...Creating Memorials for America's Unsung World War II Heroes
Note: The description below outlines a six week project. The lesson which follows the description applies only to the start of the activities discussed in weeks 2-3 of the project description and consists of one 90-minute lesson.

8th grade students learn about World War II and the many groups of Americans who made important sacrifices during the war in their Social Studies class. During their Spring Recess, students travel to Washington D.C. where they view many important national monuments and several memorials. Upon return they begin work on their humanities exit projects in which they work in groups of four in their Social Studies and English classes to research a particular group of Americans deserving of a World War II memorial, read a text about that group's experiences, use their research and reading to write an essay to persuade a committee that the particular group is deserving of a monument, and also design a prototype for that monument.

Week 1: Students choose their work groups as well as the group they would like to research. Some possible groups include:

Women in the Military
Civilian Women

Students visit the library to utilize reference materials including at least one electronic and two print resources to create notes on important facts and statistics about the contributions and sacrifices of their group of Americans during World War II.

Weeks 2-3: Students visit the Library Media Center to select a piece of literature which can assist them in their project. Depending on time and copies available, students may read the entire piece of literature or selections from the book in literature circles in the library and their English classes. They will also take notes on important passages from the book using several organizers.

Week 4: Students will utilize the notes taken from their reference materials and literature to write a persuasive essay arguing for the creation of a monument for their particular group of Americans.

Week 5: Students will design and build a prototype of what the memorial will look like.

Week 6: Student groups will present their persuasive essays and prototypes to roundtables of students and faculty.
Goals & Objectives:

Instructional Goals

- Students will be able to obtain information about their chosen group’s experiences during Word War II.


Learning Objectives

- Using a pre-selected piece of literature and several organizers, students will discuss and comprehend particular sections of the text and choose at least four relevant quotes or passages which can be used in their persuasive essays.   


 Motivational Goals

- Increase confidence in ability to read for comprehension and identify important information in texts. 

Materials & Sources:

Two Graphic Organizers (See Attached)


Japanese Americans

Houston, Jeanne Wakatuki and James D. Houston.  Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment.  New York: Bantam Book, 1974.

African Americans

McKissack, Patricia and Frederick McKissack.  Red Tail Angels: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.  New York: Walker Books for Young Readers, 1996.

Native Americans

Bruchac, Joseph. Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War II. New York: Dial Books, 2005

Women in the Military

Kuhn, Betsy.  Angels of Mercy: The Army Nurses of World War II.  New York: Anteneum, 1999.


Civilian Women

Colman, Penny.Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II.New York: Crown, 1995.



After entering the library and being seated with their work groups, students are asked to share which group of Americans they have been researching and why they chose that group.  After sharing out, each group will also complete the K and W of a K-W-L chart, and share out what they want to know.  The teacher-librarian will explain that based on the students’ choices of the groups they would like to research, she has selected, along with their English and Social Studies teachers, a piece of literature for each group, and that they will be able to use information from the book to prepare for and enhance their persuasive essays and the creation of their monuments.  (This will take roughly 10 minutes.)



The teacher-librarian (TL) and English teacher will explain that there are several ways for students to analyze and think about the literature they will be reading.  One way is through literature circles, which each group will participate in.  There are also several types of organizers students can use to keep track of information while reading, and today the students will learn about two of them and choose which they would like to use today. 


The TL will present “Coding the Text” (Attached as Code the Text), explaining the instructions and providing examples for the use of the technique.  The English teacher will present “Double Entry Journals” (Attached as Double Entry Journals), also explaining the instructions and providing examples.  (This will take roughly 20 minutes.)


Each group will then discuss which method they would like to use during the day’s literature circle.  As the groups begin their reading and writing, the TL and English teacher will monitor their work.  After about 15-20 minutes, there should be a break in which students share with their group members what they have coded either as important or interesting, or what quotes they have chosen for the double-entry journal.  After the discussion, reading and writing should resume.  After another 20 minutes of reading there should be a final break to discuss questions or confusion with their group’s members and teachers. 


Additionally, some students may work on the BuILder activity to continue internet research at



Students should be asked to share out their thoughts on the literature circle process, whether they like their books so far, what they thought of the two organizers, and whether they are finding them helpful.  When leaving the media center, students should take their books, and both organizers, as they will continue using them in English class and at home over the next two weeks. 

Learning Assessment Methods:
The TL and English teacher will monitor student organizers and discussions to check for clarity and help eliminate confusion, as well as the four required quotes for persuasive essays.

Students may be given a participation grade based on their efforts and contribution to the literature circle.
Teacher-librarian, English, and Social Studies teachers
Print this Lesson Plan
Presented By: Marie Sarro
Collaborative: Teacher-librarian, English, and Social Studies teachers
Website by Data Momentum, Inc.