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Using Metacognitive Double-Entry Journals

Gayle Cribb’s U.S. history students, many of whom are English learners and mainstreamed special education students, have just watched and made metacognitive double-entry journal notes (see Box 4.11) responding to a documentary about U.S. Japanese internment camps during World War II.

Gayle invites volunteers’ comments and also calls on nonvolunteers, because everyone is prepared for the discussion with the double-entry notes they have made; she probes students’ thinking with follow-up and extension questions; and she documents their ideas on the board. At the end of the class’s metacognitive conversation, Gayle asks students to consolidate their response to the discussion in writing.

As we drop in on the discussion (excerpted here), Gayle begins with an open-ended question:

Teacher:So what are some of the things you noticed? So what are some of the things you noticed?

Megan: I thought it was kind of weird that, well not really weird but ironic, that they were still in the army for the U.S. when at the same time they’re in the concentration camps, like pretty much being punished, but they still felt the loyalty to the country.

Teacher: And what does that make you think?

Megan: Like that they still felt like even though they were being put in these camps, and other people were like scared they were spies, but at the same time they still felt like that they were American, that they were loyal to their country and they still wanted to help.

Teacher: Okay, what else did you notice?

Luis: They didn’t seem sad. They seemed happy.

Teacher: Did that surprise you?

Luis: Yeah, cause I thought they were going to be like sad, but they were happy. Like they were playing and everything.

Teacher: Okay. And did other people notice that?

Class: Yeah.

Teacher: Okay, and what did you think about that? What are you thinking?

Jason: That it’s not like the Hitler camps. The people are happy, their families weren’t separated from each other. It’s not all death around them, and people are smiling and playing and all that stuff. And they’re even having parades for that Japanese sergeant guy.

Teacher: Okay. Not Hitler’s camps for sure. Right? What else are you thinking about this?

Scott: It was kind of like their families were kind of going on with what they had. Like they didn’t know how long they were going to be there, so they didn’t want to be sad the whole time. So they had to make the best of it. And they were doing the home movies, so they wouldn’t be, like, sad on a home movie.

Teacher: So what do you suppose the filmmakers’ purpose was? What were they trying to do? Why did they make these films anyhow?

Gracia: To show they were happy . . . like they were in their normal lives. They had normal lives in the camps.

Teacher: And who are they going to show this to?

Gracia: The future generations.

Teacher: Future generations. So we could say that’s the audience for these films. Does anyone else have another idea about the intended audience for these films?

Fabian: Well, video cameras were contraband, so I think that like they wanted to kind of show that it was unjust to have them relocated in those camps because why else would they want to sneak and risk getting caught with cameras if they were contraband?

Teacher: So you want not just to show the future but to show—

Fabian: That it was like unjust.

Teacher: If they’re trying to show that it’s unjust, does that explain taking happy pictures?

Fabian: Not really.

Teacher: Explain.

Fabian: Well, it doesn’t look as bad if they’re happy, but they just wanted to show that they were relocated and they did lose their homes and they were forced to be relocated in camps.

Teacher: Okay. Taylor, what are you thinking about all this?

Taylor: Um, just like they’re trying to be happy in a bad situation, and like showing the home movies is like one way to do it.

Teacher: Other things we haven’t talked about yet? Kyle.

Kyle: They were showing American flags in thmovie in the parade they were having for the Japanese sergeant. And I thought, Why would they have American flags? I was wondering what was the purpose of the American flags in there.

Teacher: What did people think of that? Allie?

Allie: I thought that if they didn’t have the flags, that means that they would be mad at the U.S. for putting them in the camps. But they had the flags so it seemed like they were not really mad at the U.S. for putting them in the camps.

Teacher: When you see that, what does it make you think?

Jason: When I see the flag? It symbolizes that they are American. Well, they’re Japanese still, but they’re mainly American ‘cause they’re citizens here and they should not be in the camps. They should be with everyone else. They are American citizens.

Teacher: Okay, so how many people have doubts about this situation, like whether this should have happened? Let’s see a show of hands. Okay. And if you were to express that doubt? How about if everyone just write a little bit about that. What is it that you’re wondering or concerned about here?

As part of learning about Japanese internment in the U.S. during World War II, students make double-entry notes in response to a documentary based on “home movies” made in the camps. The notes prepare everyone in the class to explore their observations and ideas in later metacognitive conversations with classmates. Journal entries of two students are presented here.



From Reading for Understanding, pp 113-15

DMU Timestamp: December 19, 2018 18:14

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