What Should We Tell Our Children About Vietnam?

Learning Targets ~ I can…

  • Comprehend, discuss, and explain responses to the question “What should we tell our children about Vietnam?”
  • Use the signposts to identify, analyze, and summarize the main ideas and important points of selected responses from Professor McCloud’s book.
  • Draw conclusions from the responses and answer the question “What should we tell our children about Vietnam?” for myself.

“What do you think are the most important things for today’s junior high school students to understand about the Vietnam War?” This is the question Professor Bill McCloud himself, a Vietnam veteran, asked himself back in the late 1980s when he was still teaching 8th grade American History.

For answers, McCloud sent handwritten letters directly to “people who directed, fought, protested, and reported the war: politicians, military officers, protesters, soldiers, POWs, nurses, refugees, scholars, writers, and parents of soldiers who died in the war.”

As you read the response, look for the Notice and Note Signposts listed below.


Signposts to notice and note in What Should We Tell Our Children About Vietnam?

Quoted Words: Quotes a voice of authority or cites another’s words. Why quote or cite this person? Who does Professor McCloud ask about what we should teach students about Vietnam? Why?

Word Gaps: Uses any words or allusions you don’t know. Look up any other words or phrases you do not know.

Absolute Language: Uses language that leaves no doubt or no room for argument. Why say it like this? Where does the responder make unmitigated claims or statements? Where is the responder offering up statements that s/he thinks should not or cannot be argued?

Words of the Wiser: Serious advice, a moral or ethical lesson or imperative. What’s the life lesson? Who must learn it and why? What Words of the Wiser does the responder offer? What is the responder telling us that we must learn and/or act upon? What is the life lesson that we as individuals or we as a country should learn about or from the Vietnam War?

Click here for more information about the Notice and Note signposts.

McCloud, Bill. What Should We Tell Our Children About Vietnam? Norman, OK: U of Oklahoma P, 1989. Print.