Hiroshima: A Novella
"Yep’s account of the bombing of Hiroshima and its devastating aftermath is at once chilling and searing, hushed and thundering. Within a factual framework, the author sets the fictional story of a girl named Sachi, allegedly a composite of several young residents of the bombed city. On the morning of August 6, 1945, 12-year-old Sachi and her classmates pull on their pitifully inadequate air-raid hoods when an alarm sounds, signifying the approach of an American bomber. They and others feel, ironically, a deep sense of relief when the aircraft passes by-the plane’s mission, in fact, is to scout out the weather over Hiroshima; if there are clouds, the Enola Gay will be directed to drop its atom bomb on another city. But a single gap opens in the clouds directly over the target site, and "the sunlight pours through the hole on to the city." This is the last bit of brightness in Yep’s story, which with haunting simplicity describes the actual bombing: "There is a blinding light like a sun. There is a boom like a giant drum. There is a terrible wind. Houses collapse like boxes. Windows break everywhere. Broken glass swirls like angry insects." Though Yep’s spare, deliberate description of the bomb’s consequences delivers a brutal emotional punch-and though it is on the whole extremely well suited to the target audience-his novella has some jarring stylistic elements. Ages 8-11." (text taken from Amazon)
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Hiroshima A novella by Laurence Yep
Incorporation of this novel into the sixth grade curriculum would take place during their study of Japan. While the Social Studies curriculum and textbook provide general knowledge within the scope of the five themes of geography, the honors classes, which typically cluster the gifted students, would require more enrichment opportunities.
Exploring the effects of World War II from the Japanese perspective is an ideal way to enrich this population. Examining opposing points of view is critical thinking at its best and provides multiple opportunities for students to research, debate, write and critique both the United States and Japan’s actions during the War. Exploring the sequence of events on both sides that led up to the decision to use the atom bomb on Hiroshima would be part of the plan.
By sharing this novella students gain another perspective that they can closely identify with, a child. Following reading, students would choose independent research topics to explore and produce an end product. The end product would be shared the whole class to practice speaking skills and promote further discussion. A review of PechaKuchas would be included as a possible end product presentation format.
Suggested Topics for Students Choice:
• Hiroshima – Research the city; create a timeline: before, during, after the bomb to present day) Lasting effects?
• Enola Gay & the Crew – Research the members and post war lives.
• Atom Bomb- Development, political purpose and the Cold War
• Hiroshima Maidens (Azalea Club) – Who are they and what became of them?
• Radiation Poisoning – Exposure, research; medical use
• Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum – research the Park and Museum
• Sadako and The Paper Cranes – research the story and the club; origami cranes and the monument
• Nuclear Arms – What is status today?
End Products: students sign learning contracts aligned with their gifted goals and must get approval on the type of end product (possible products listing provided) State standards aligned rubrics and writing scoring guidelines would be used for assessment.
Pennsylvania Common Core and NAGC Standards
History & Social Studies:
CC.8.6.6-8.C: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CC.8.6.6-8.F: Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
CC.8.6.6-8.I: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
English Language Arts:
CC 1.2 Reading Informational Text: Students read, understand, and respond to informational text—with an emphasis on comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and making connections among ideas and between texts with focus on textual evidence.
CC.1.2.6.B Key ideas & Details Text Analysis: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly, as well as inferences and/or generalizations drawn from the text.
CC.1.2.6.L Range of Reading: Read and comprehend literary nonfiction and informational text on grade level, reading independently and proficiently.
CC 1.4 Writing: Students write for different purposes and audiences. Students write clear and focused text to convey a well-defined perspective and appropriate content.
CC.1.4.6.F: Informative/Explanatory: Demonstrate a grade appropriate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and spelling.
National Association of Gifted (NAGC) Standards:
Std. 2: Assessment
2.4. Learning Progress and Outcomes: Students with gifts and talents demonstrate advanced and complex learning as a result of using multiple, appropriate, and ongoing assessments.
Std. 3: Curriculum & Instruction:
3.4. Instructional Strategies: Students with gifts and talents become independent investigators.
Webb’s Depth Of Knowledge Criteria (Cognitive Levels)
Level 1 (Recall/Reproduce)
Recall, recognize, or locate basic facts, details, events or ideas from texts or multiple sources. Apply basic formats for documenting sources. Analyze and decide appropriate text structure for audience and purpose.
Level 2 (Skills/Concepts)
Summarize results, concepts or ideas; make basic inferences. Apply simple organizational structures to writing; distinguish relevant-irrelevant information.
Level 3 (Strategic thinking/reasoning)
Write multi-paragraph composition for specific purpose, focus, voice, tone & audience. Apply a new concept in a new context. Revise a final draft for meaning or progression of ideas. Analyze interrelationships.
Level 4 (Extended thinking)
Illustrate how multiple themes (historical, geographic, social) may be interrelated.
Gather, analyze and organize multiple information sources; synthesize information from multiple sources.