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                              Shared Reading Mini-Unit




                                  The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung
                                         A Chinese Miner
                                         By Laurence Yep




                                  This packet contains:
                                   o Teacher Background Information
                                   o
                                   o Lesson Plan and Lesson Map
                                   o
                                   o Student Assignment Sheets
                                   o
                                   o Sample of a Double-entry Journal
                                   o




                                 Newton Public Schools
                                  100 Walnut Street
                                 Newtonville, MA 02460

                                       May, 2006

History and Social Sciences       Journal of Wong Ming-Chung       May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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            The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung: A Chinese Miner
                                 by Laurence Yep



Teacher Background (see also “Life in America in 1852” beginning on page 197
of the text)
   Summary of Text: The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung is the story of a young
   boy’s yearlong experience, leaving China and coming to live in California. The
   year is 1851, the height of the California Gold Rush, when many people from
   around the world were coming to California to get rich quick. Written as a
   journal, the book tells about Wong’s life in China before sailing to America,
   life on the boat to America, and then life in the mines of California. It covers
   a ten-month span of time.

   Essential Questions:
   As is the case with all the history/social sciences foci for the unit entitled
   “Movement across the Oceans”, the essential questions become the backbone
   of what is to be understood. The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung provides an
   historical fiction account that answers the essential questions listed below.

      What were the conditions that forced people to leave their country of
       origin? (pushes)
      Why did immigrants want to come to America? (pulls)
      What conditions did immigrants face once they arrived in America?
      How did immigrants cope with challenges once they arrived in America?

   Massachusetts Frameworks Standard Addressed:
   Standard 4.15: Describe the diverse nature of the American people by
   identifying the distinctive contributions to American culture of:
     - major European immigrant groups who have come to America, locating
     their countries of origin and where they tended to settle in large numbers
     (e.g. English, Germans, Italians, Scots, Irish, Jews, Poles, and
     Scandinavians)
      - major Spanish-speaking (e.g., Cubans, Mexicans) and Asian (e.g., Chinese,
      Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese) immigrant groups who have come to


History and Social Sciences    Journal of Wong Ming-Chung           May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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      America in the 19th and 20th centuries, locating their countries of origin
      and where they tended to settle in large numbers.

Things to know before reading:
In order for students to understand the text, it will be useful to introduce the
following terms and vocabulary words.
 “Golden Mountain” is the term that Chinese people used for America because
    they believed that gold was so plentiful that mountains were made of gold. They
    were hoping to find gold easily and get rich quickly.
 “Guest” is a term that the author uses to refer to all the Chinese people who
    went to America to work and live. When Uncle and Wong go to America, they
    become a “guest family”.
 There are lots of vocabulary words that are important to know and read
    accurately. Teachers can use a variety of strategies to introduce the following:
    prosperity (p. 5)    drought (p. 5)       famine (p. 23)       runt (p. 39)
    dialect (p. 39)      feud (p. 43)         scoundrel (p. 43)    berth (p. 46)
    humiliate (p. 49)    exasperate(p. 62) isthmus (p. 69)         foreigners (p. 70)
    prospector (p. 74) ) pan for gold (p. 75) trough (p. 78)       miner (p. 81)
    idle (p. 98)         claim (p. 107)       chamber pot (p. 117)
    geologist (p. 142)   ancestors (p. 145) magistrate (p. 147) pneumonia (p. 158)
    levees (p. 170)




History and Social Sciences     Journal of Wong Ming-Chung           May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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                                      Students                                   Teachers
Before reading                                                      Read background. Use the section
                                                                     from the book entitled “Life in
                                                                     America in 1852”, beginning on p. 197
                                                                     of the book.
                                                                    Do focus lesson on genre of journal.
                                                                    Do introductory walk-through
                                                                      - Historical context for the story
                                                                        (refer to or read epilogue of the
                                                                        book)
                                                                      - Study of the cover and title
                                                                      - Find China and California on a map
                                                                      - Read first several journal entries
                                                                        aloud (through p. 10) and model a
                                                                        think-aloud, using a double entry
                                                                        journal for your reactions
                                                                      - Assign a moderator role
During reading        For each reading class:
                        Read assigned pages
Moderator:              Bring the double entry journal with
- Conducts               either major events recorded or a
  discussion             quotation from the reading along with
- Gets the group         your reflection
  folder from its
                        Answer the discussion questions:
  storage place
                         participate orally
Folder contains
                        Help the group decide the main events
- The group’s time
  line events            of the reading – to be considered for
- The group’s notes      a group time line
  of character’s        Be ready to share a word or phrase
  attributes and         that describes the main character,
  changes                Wong (attribute or change)
After reading         Individual Product      Group Product
                       Complete               Synopsis (brief
                        worksheet               re-telling)
                       Choose one of the      Time line of 10-
                        following:              12 main events
                        - Develop a             of the story
                          character web        Description of
                          for Wong              character
                        - Create a              attributes or
                          picture/drawing       change over
                          as the cover and      time
                          a paragraph          Readers’
                        - Write a letter to     theatre
                          congressman          Rate the book



History and Social Sciences             Journal of Wong Ming-Chung                    May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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Focus Lesson: A Walk-through

Before Reading the Text:
 1. Study the picture of Wong Ming-Chung and the background on the cover of the
    book.
    What seems to be happening in the background?
    What strikes you about Wong? Explain your opinion to members of your group.
    Is this story a story of today or of some time in the past. Explain your answer.

   As you read, you will find out more about Wong. He is called “runt” which
   means “small and weak”, “last to be born in a litter”. Often the runt of the
   litter is the weakest and does not live. Not so with Wong!

2. This book is written as a young boy’s journal.
   - Skim through the book to find visual clues that it is a journal.
   - Discuss how a journal differs from other kinds of writing.
   - Calculate over what period of time the story takes place by reading the first
   and last journal dates.
   - Notice if the journal is added to daily or if there are lapses in the entries.
   - Discuss why people might keep a journal.
   - Have students share their own experiences, keeping a journal.

3. Discuss the historical background of the story – immigration and gold mining in
  California in the mid 1800s. Either read or talk about the information that is
  presented on pages 199-213 of the book, “Life in America in 1852”. You may want
  to scan some of the photos in the book and project them on an LCD.

4. Read the first several journal entries (through p. 10) aloud to get a sense of the
  story.

5. In an atlas, find China.
   On what continent is China?
   What ocean will Wong cross in order to come to California (America)?
   In 1851, how would Wong and other immigrants cross the ocean?
   How long do you think it will take Wong to reach America?

6. On a map of the United States, find the cities where Wong comes (Sacramento
   and San Francisco).

History and Social Sciences     Journal of Wong Ming-Chung           May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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7. Use the map at the very end of the book to verify predictions about geography.

8. PREDICT: What will life be like for Wong and the others as they cross the
   Pacific Ocean?

9. PREDICT: What might life in America be like for Wong when he first arrives?




History and Social Sciences   Journal of Wong Ming-Chung          May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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Student Sheet


                      Reading and Discussing A Journal of Wong Ming-Chung




You will be reading the book, The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung, on your
own. Each day your group will meet to discuss the parts of the book you
read on your own. Use the chart below is help you think about the story
as you read. If there are things to be written, do that before you join
your group. The moderator should help group members keep the
discussion on-topic. Your group will discuss the bullets in this chart.

After               Choose a name you might give yourself if you lived in
reading              Wong’s (Runt’s) family. Some of the names we have
pages 3-25           encountered are “Prosperity”, “Blessing”, “Lucky”, and
                     “Precious Stone”.
                    Make a list of the conditions in China that are forcing
                     people to leave. Share with your group.
After               Discuss with your group why the term “guest” fits the
reading              situation of the Chinese immigrants to America.
pages 26-45         Discuss with your group the decision to send Wong to
                     America instead of Blessing. Is it a good idea? Why or
                     why not?
                    Discuss with your group one lesson Runt has already
                     learned.
After               Draw a picture EITHER of life on board the boat to
reading              America or life in San Francisco.
pages 46-73         Discuss with your group the meaning of this from page
                     64: “I have this funny feeling in my stomach again. I
                     have to admit it’s a bit odd. Why would anyone sit

History and Social Sciences     Journal of Wong Ming-Chung   May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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                       cooped up in a tiny office if there are such big nuggets
                       to be scooped up? Maybe it won’t be as easy as Uncle
                       told me.”
                      Discuss with your group another lesson Runt has
                       learned.
After                 Discuss with your group the reunion between Runt and
reading                Uncle. How are you feeling about the reunion?
pages 73-             Make a list of the jobs that Runt has, now that he has
105                    settled in with Uncle and the others.
                      Discuss with your group how knowing how to read and
                       write has been helpful to Runt.
                      Discuss with your group how the taxman affected Runt
                       and the others.
                      Discuss with your group the meaning of the last line on
                       page 105: “America is so lovely-and yet so frightening.”
After                 Explain why the American bullies are acting the way
reading pgs.           they are toward the Chinese workers.
106-127               Discuss with your group how you know the Fox was a
                       clever man.
After                 Write a letter to Runt, cheering him up after he says on
reading pgs.           page 130, “I feel like part of a machine.”
12-151                Discuss with your group the meaning of “The Golden
                       Mountain doesn’t shine for me anymore. It’s cold and
                       gloomy and dangerous. I wonder if a guest can stay too
                       long.”
                      Share with your group what you would do if you were as
                       homesick as Runt is.
                      Discuss with your group another lesson Runt has
                       learned.




History and Social Sciences     Journal of Wong Ming-Chung      May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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After               Discuss with your group the reunion between Runt and
reading              Uncle. How are you feeling about the reunion?
pages 73-           Make a list of the jobs that Runt has, now that he has
105                  settled in with Uncle and the others.
                    Discuss with your group how knowing how to read and
                     write has been helpful to Runt.
                    Discuss with your group how the taxman affected
                     Runt and the others.
                    Discuss with your group the meaning of the last line
                     on page 105: “America is so lovely-and yet so
                     frightening.”
After               Explain why the American bullies are acting the way
reading pgs.         they are toward the Chinese workers.
106-127             Discuss with your group how you know the Fox was a
                     clever man.
After               Write a letter to Runt, cheering him up after he says
reading pgs.         on page 130, “I feel like part of a machine.”
12-151              Discuss with your group the meaning of “The Golden
                     Mountain doesn’t shine for me anymore. It’s cold and
                     gloomy and dangerous. I wonder if a guest can stay
                     too long.”
                    Share with your group what you would do if you were
                     as homesick as Runt is.
                    Discuss with your group another lesson Runt has
                     learned.




History and Social Sciences    Journal of Wong Ming-Chung     May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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After               Explain Wong’s reference to New Year’s on February
reading pgs.         8.
152-174             Make a list of all the things Runt survived during his
                     first winter.
                    Discuss with your group your feelings when Runt and
                     the others were told to resist the treatment of the
                     Americans.
                    Explain the meaning of “He told me that hate is a
                     luxury for a guest. Hate is so much baggage that
                     slows a guest down.” (p. 166)
                    Predict and share with your group what will happen
                     to Runt and Uncle now that he has left.
After               Share with your group whether your predictions
reading pgs.         came true.
174-213)            Discuss with your group your feelings about how the
Including            story ends for each of the characters: Is it a
“Epilogue”           satisfying ending?
and “Life in        With your group, make a list of questions you still
America”             have about this time in history when thousands of
                     Chinese emigrated from China to America for what
                     they thought would be a better life.




History and Social Sciences    Journal of Wong Ming-Chung      May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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Student Sheet



                        While reading A Journal of Wong Ming-Chung




1. Keep a double-entry journal for each reading assignment. In the
   left-hand column of the journal, write a brief description of the
   major events of the passage you read or a quotation that was
   particularly interesting. In the right-hand column, write your
   thoughts, reactions and feelings about what happened in the story.
   Complete a double-entry journal for each reading assignment. Use
   either the form included in this packet or pieces of notebook paper
   that you divide in half by drawing a line or folding in half.

2. Decide the important events that happen to Wong Ming-Chung
   during the ten months of this story. Do this in two stages.
     - In your double-entry journal, underline in a color, the
        important events that happened. Since you have journal dates,
        be sure to include dates of the events. When you come to your
        discussion group each time, be ready to tell the events that
        you chose and why you chose them.
     - After you finish the book, select what you think are the 10
        most important events of Wong’s life and make a time line of
        just those events. Some events are turning points in the story
        – events that take the story in one direction or another or
        events that change the character. Be sure you include what
        you think are turning points in your time line.




History and Social Sciences     Journal of Wong Ming-Chung   May, 2006
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3. Keep track of Wong’s character. Jot down words or phrases that
   describe Wong’s character or attributes. Or, jot down words or
   phrases that describe how Wong’s character changes over the
   course of the book.




History and Social Sciences   Journal of Wong Ming-Chung   May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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Student Sheet: Individual Product


                        After reading A Journal of Wong Ming-Chung




Student Product Options
1. Complete the worksheet entitled “Wong’s Immigration Experience”.

2. Choose one of the following to complete:
    Construct a character map or web for Wong. Use interesting
     words to describe Wong and find specific text from the book to
     support your description of him. Be sure to include examples of
     changes in Wong during the story.
    Create a painting or drawing that could be used for the cover of
     the book that accurately describes life for Wong during his life in
     America. Write a paragraph for the back cover that briefly tells
     the plot of the story.
    Write a letter to the congressman of California, complaining of
     the conditions for Chinese immigrants coming to work in the state.
     Offer suggestions of laws that might be passed to make working
     and living conditions better for the people.




History and Social Sciences     Journal of Wong Ming-Chung   May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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Student Sheet: Group Product


                      After reading A Journal of Wong Ming-Chung




Group Product – to be shared with other groups
      As a group, write a brief synopsis of the story. Your classmates
       who read another book will be interested to hear what the
       story is about. Be sure to include events from the beginning,
       middle and end of the story. Your double-entry journals might
       help you.
      As a group, create a time line of 10 – 12 important events of
       the story. Be sure to include the specific dates of the events
       you choose. First, each group member might highlight the most
       important events they listed in their own double-entry journals.
       Then, as a group, decide which 10 – 12 will finally be used.
      As a group, create a product that describes Wong’s character
       and the changes in his character over the course of the story.
       Your product could be a character web, a poster, a paragraph,
       or any other idea the group decides upon.
      As a group, prepare and present a reader’s theater. Select a
       passage that the group believes is interesting or important.
       Read the passage out loud to the class. Each group member
       must take a role (there may have to be more than one
       narrator). Practice this passage until you are fluent with it.
       Perform for the class and talk with the audience, explaining
       why the group chose the passage (why it is interesting or what
       does it show about the character or historical context?).
       Alternatively, you may ask the audience why they think the
       passage was chosen and then explain the group’s reason for
       choosing it.

History and Social Sciences     Journal of Wong Ming-Chung   May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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           Student Sheet

Double-entry Journal
In the left column, write an interesting quotation or a brief summary of
what you have read each time. On the right-hand side, write your
feelings, reactions or your thoughts about the quotation or events.

Description of what happened in          Your thoughts, feelings,
the story                                reactions to the story events
Pages 3-25
“It was a regular parade when            I guess it seemed like everyone
Uncle, Lucky, and Virtue left.” (p.      was marching out – like a parade. I
13)                                      wonder if it was scary to see the
                                         family leaving.



Everyone is starving. There is not       Most of us in Boston and Newton
enough meat and the crops have           can’t imagine what it is like to go
been poor. People don’t think there      without food. I guess people will
is any solution except to leave –        do anything to get enough food to
move to the Golden Mountain.             eat – even move to a faraway
                                         place.




History and Social Sciences   Journal of Wong Ming-Chung       May, 2006
English and Language Arts
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Student Sheet
Wong’s Immigration Experience

What were the conditions in China that forced Wong and Uncle to
come to America? (the “pushes” that caused people to move from their homes.)




What was it about America that attracted Wong and Uncle? (the “pulls”
that pulled people to another country.)




What happened to Wong during his move?




What was life like for Wong and Uncle in America?




How did Chinese immigrants help one another once they were in
America?




History and Social Sciences     Journal of Wong Ming-Chung    May, 2006
English and Language Arts

								
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