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        Video Guide | Letters Home to Hero Street

        Learn about the experience of Frank Sandoval, a Mexican-American soldier in World War II, through his letters home to his family in the film Letters Home to Hero Street.

        Sandoval left his home in Silvis, IL to fight in World War II.  Through his letters home to his family we can better understand his experience as a Mexican-American soldier in this war.  The graphic organizer and background essay provided in this lesson plan help teachers to prepare their students for this short film, and to help them understand the key points of the film.

        Lesson Summary

        Students read a background essay about Hero Street, USA and the contributions this community has made to the American military over the last 70 years. They are then introduced to the graphic organizer and use the organizer to take notes during the film. After viewing the film and completing their organizers, students share their notes with another student and then the entire class.

        Time Allotment

        50 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        • Explain why Second Street in Silvis, Illinois is now officially named “Hero Street USA.”
        • Describe three aspects of Frank Sandoval’s experience in World War II, using specific evidence from the film Letters Home to Hero Street to support your description.

        Prep for Teachers

        Common Core State and C3 Standards

        • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
        • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
        • D2.His.3.9-12. Use questions generated about individuals and groups to assess how the significance of their actions changes over time and is shaped by the historical context.

        Introductory Activity

        Hand out the background reading and briefly discuss the instructions for the reading:

        • Students will highlight and annotate the reading for the purpose of answering the question, “Why is Second Street in Silvis, IL now officially named Hero Street USA?”
        • Give students time to read. For most readers 10 minutes should be sufficient.
        • Lead a teacher-directed discussion over the question, asking students to identify details from the reading that support their answers.  Line numbers have been provided in the reading to help students explain where they found specific details.
        • Make a list of details on the board.
        • Once most details have been extracted from the reading, ask students to summarize an answer to the question.

        Learning Activities

        Transition to the activity by informing students that today they will experience the story of one soldier from Hero Street who fought during World War II.

        Hand out the graphic organizer and briefly discuss the instructions for the assignment:

        • Students will compose a one-sentence description of three areas of Frank Sandoval’s life: family, training, and war.
        • For each sentence they will need to support their description with at least two pieces of evidence from the film.
        • Note: Students should attempt to describe the bigger themes of each experience. It is not helpful to say “Frank Sandoval had a family.” And then use “He had a sister” and “He had a mother” as evidence. Instead, what kind of family did he have? How do we know? What scenes, dialogue, etc. from the film support the description?

        Once students have a thorough understanding of the instructions, begin the film. The film is approximately 25 minutes in length. Monitor student progress during the film.

        Culminating Activity

        When the film has finished, give students time to complete their graphic organizers.

        If this is a 50 minute class, take the last 5-10 minutes to discuss the descriptions by asking:

        Can someone give us their one sentence description of Frank’s family life?”  Write the description on the board.

        • What are two pieces of evidence from the film that support this description?" Again, write brief summaries of the evidence on the board.
        • Do this for all three areas on the graphic organizer.

        If the class is longer than 50 minutes, place students in pairs after they have had enough time to complete their individual graphic organizers. In pairs they should share their answers. Then lead a teacher-directed discussion of the three areas using the questions described above.

        Contributor: Mark Foley, Ed.M | Urbana High School, Illinois

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