The unit focuses on Code Talker, a historical fiction novel by Joseph Bruchac, an award-winning author of more than one hundred books. Many of Bruchac’s books draw on aspects of his Native American heritage. Although the book is fiction, it is based on historically accurate events. In terms of literary skills, students will have several assignments in which they focus on human relationships and interactions, characterization, figurative language, point of view, perspective, and irony. As in Unit 7 (Anne Frank’s Tales from the Secret Annex), this unit will give students the opportunity to explore the thoughts and feelings of a young person caught up in a global war. Students will also analyze the role of culture in shaping a person’s values and behaviors. Students will learn about the important role the Navajo code talkers played in World War II.
In this unit, Students will be exposed to content-area vocabulary and words derived from Greek and Latin roots pseudos, scribo, and voco. Students will plan, write, edit, and publish a research essay. They will follow a logical sequence of steps that guides them to the creation of an original, finished essay that mirrors the style of a model essay. Students will work on grammar skills involving transitions and the punctuation of citations for their research essays.
Students will also reflect on the irony that Native Americans were initially viewed by non-native people as unable to contribute to American culture and yet were later called upon to make great sacrifices during the war to aid a government that had mistreated them. It is hoped that students will gain a greater appreciation for cultural diversity and increase their understanding of how culture impacts one’s perspective on historical events.