Bay Breeze
Educational Resources

Visit the NBC American Dreams Site
 

Introduction

Who's Who

American Dreams
& the 60s


A Soldier's Letters

Create a 60s Mural

Create an American Dreams Talk Show

Compare Your
Advice to Meg's


Projects



A Soldier's Letters


Overview: In this activity students will explore the role letters play in a soldier's life and learn background information about Vietnam in the 1960s.

Grade Level: Middle School & High School

Teacher Note: Vietnam is a vast and complicated topic. This activity is intended to introduce a few aspects of the topic, and focuses primarily on how families are impacted by war. You may wish to extend this lesson by having your students conduct further research.

  1. Share JJ's letter with the class.

  2. Lead a class discussion on the following questions:
    • What do you think are some of JJ's most important concerns?
    • What is his mom concerned about? How is she coping with the fact that JJ is in Vietnam?
    • How is his dad handling this?
    • How does war affect all members of a family?
    • How does war affect each member of a family differently?


  3. Ask your students to browse the following websites to gain background information on Vietnam.

  4. Divide the class into three groups and ask the students to visit the following websites to read letters to and from soldiers.

    Group One
    PBS Point of View Re: Vietnam Stories Since the War Click on Family and scroll to the first letter by Francis Turley that describes a mother's perspective on her son's service in Vietnam.

    Explore the American Experience: War Letters Rupert Trimmingham - Letter to Yank magazine published April 28, 1949


    Group Two

    PBS Point of View Re: Vietnam Stories Since the War
    Click on Family and scroll to the second letter to read the words of Andrew Lam, a man whose father served in Vietnam

    Explore the American Experience: War Letters
    Letter from an army nurse dated January 18,1944.

    Private Paul Curtis writes a letter to his younger brother in May of 1944.


    Group Three

    PBS Point of View Re: Vietnam Stories Since the War
    Click on Family and scroll to the third letter to read about Michael C. Little's experience regarding how he was reunited with a child in Vietnam after 26 years:

    Explore the American Experience: War Letters
    Letter from a wife to her husband during the Korean War

    Staff Sergeant Horace Evers writes about the Dachau concentration camp.

    Private Timothy G. Robinson writes about memories from home.


  5. Ask the students to share their responses to what they have read. Create a class chart that describes what the students think are the important attributes of a letter to or from a soldier.

  6. Read about Operation Dear Abby, a program that was started in 1967 that facilitates sending messages to our service members. Ask your students to compare the messages sent today with those they researched in this activity.

    Teacher Note: You may wish to invite your students to send a letter to a service member using this website.



National Education Standards


Language Arts
Grades 6-8 Reading

Standard 1
Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process

Level III
4. Evaluates own and others' writing (e.g., applies criteria generated by self and others, uses self-assessment to set and achieve goals as a writer, participates in peer response groups)

Standard 4
Gathers and uses information for research purposes

Level III
6. Organizes information and ideas from multiple sources in systematic ways (e.g., time lines, outlines, notes, graphic representations)


Grades 6-8 Reading

Standard 5
Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process.

Level III
Reflects on what has been learned after reading and formulates ideas, opinions, and personal responses to texts.

Standard 7
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts
Level III
4. Uses new information to adjust and extend personal knowledge base



Historical Understanding


Grades 6-8

Standard 2
Understands the historical perspective

Level II
5. Understands that specific decisions and events had an impact on history

Level III
2. Analyzes the influence specific ideas and beliefs had on a period of history


Grades 9-12

Standard 2
Understands the historical perspective

Level IV
10. Understands how the past affects our private lives and society in general


Grades 9-12 Writing

Standard 2
Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing

Level IV

6. Organizes ideas to achieve cohesion in writing

Grades 9-12 Reading

Standard 7

Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

Level IV
1. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts (e.g., textbooks, biographical sketches, letters, diaries, directions, procedures, magazines, essays, primary source historical documents, editorials, news stories, periodicals, catalogs, job-related materials, schedules, speeches, memoranda, public documents, maps)
6. Uses discussions with peers as a way of understanding information



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