» Post-Viewing Lesson Plan
Letters From the Troops
» Lesson Objectives:
- Students will explore U.S. soldiers' accounts of the war and its aftermath
» Materials Needed:
- Chalkboard or overhead machine with transparency
» Time Needed:
- Put the following question on the board or an overhead.
- What topics do you think are most often discussed in letters home from U.S. ground troops in Iraq?
- List student responses.
- Ask students to choose an Internet search engine to find information on "Letters from soldiers in Iraq." Students should check three separate sites and read at least four letters with no more than two from the same site.
- Students should summarize the main points in the letters and then write a one-page paper in which they answer the following questions:
- How do these letters compare to what the class expected to find?
- What insight about the war do I gain from the letters?
» Extending the Lesson:
Invite a veteran from Iraq or another war into the classroom to discuss their experiences.
- Be sure to talk with the veteran prior to the presentation and prepare the class for the kinds of things that may be covered.
- Tell the students that some of the veterans' accounts may elicit powerful emotions -- both in the veterans themselves as well as the students.
Students can examine another war through the eyes of soldiers by reading sections of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. Recommended are the chapters entitled "The Things They Carried" and "How to Tell a True War Story."
The Things They Carried is author Tim O'Brien's unique vision of the Vietnam War. Neither a novel nor a short-story collection, this powerful work presents an arc of fictional episodes, which take place in the childhoods of its characters, in the jungles of Vietnam, and back home in America two decades later.
» Method of Assessment:
Participation in classroom discussion
Paper about soldiers' letters
Written summaries of extra credit readings