A Guide to Using Divided We Fall in Religious Studies Courses

Thank you for downloading this teaching companion for the documentary film, Divided We Fall. We are excited to offer you this resource and hope that you find it valuable and easy to use. The activities in this lesson are guidelines to inspire your

teaching; they may be applied flexibly. Visit our website http:// www.dwf-film.com/ for more lesson guides, multimedia, and supplemental resources. If you have any questions about this guide, please contact Jodi Elliott at jodi@dwf-film.com.

Intended Audience
The activities in this guide are designed for college level Religious Studies, Cultural Studies, Asian Studies, and Asian American Studies courses. They may also be adapted and used as an introduction to Sikhism for high school students or general audiences.

Lesson Objectives
Upon completion of the lesson, students will be able to: • • • • Describe the basic tenets of Sikhism. Examine the experiences of Sikhs in United States history. Define the terms Sikhism, gurdwara, and Panj Kakars, Explain the religious significance of the Sikh turban.

Additionally, the lesson facilitates exploration of these questions: What is Sikhism? What is it like to be Sikh or Sikh American in the United States? What are some commonalities that Sikh Americans share through their identity and community? What are some differences?

Teacher Tips
This lesson can be taught before or after students have viewed the film. However, we suggest completing the brainstorming activity (Activity 1) before showing the film whenever possible. If time is short, the short film The Sikh Religion: Beyond the Turban (10:25) can substitute for a screening of the entire film. If time is plentiful, you may wish to assign students to watch the entire film plus the two short films about Sikhism on the DVD, The Sikh Religion: Beyond the Turban (10:25) and Becoming American: The Journey of an Early Sikh Pioneer (10:43). These shorts will enhance students’ understanding of the Asian immigrant experience during the early history of the United States.

Activity 1
25MIN BRAINSTORM PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF THE SIKH RELIGION

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Give each student a copy of Handout 1 (Brainstorm: The Sikh Religion). Allow students 5 minutes to fill in their ideas about Sikhism in each column. After the students have had time to brainstorm, ask them to share what they wrote and record a composite of their answers where all can see. At this point there is no need to filter or correct wrong answers, unless you deem one harmful. Tell students to record their classmates’ responses on their own paper. Show students the short film The Sikh Religion: Beyond the Turban (10:25), from the Divided We Fall DVD. Instruct students to correct the responses they have written down on the handout as they watch the film. If the statement is incorrect, they should cross it out. If the statement is correct they should put a check mark next to it. Students may also record questions in column 3, What I’d Like to Know. Questions that are not addressed in the film can be handled by the instructor afterwards or assigned to students as homework.

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Activity 2
15MIN SIKHS IN AMERICA

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Now that students have a better understanding of the Sikh religion, and why many Sikhs immigrated to the United States from India and other countries, ask students to think about the experiences of Sikh Americans: a) In what ways can a person express their beliefs as a Sikh and/or Sikh American? b) What are some commonalities that Sikh Americans share through their identity and community? c) What are some differences among individuals who identify as Sikh American? If students have viewed the film in its entirety, ask: In the film, how did Valarie express her identity as a Sikh American? How did other characters express their identities?

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Activity 3
60MIN MAPPING SIKH AMERICAN COMMUNITY AND HISTORY

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Explain to students that the purpose of this assignment is “to learn about a Sikh individual or group, and create maps of their participation in the building of historical and contemporary U.S. society.” Assign small groups of 3 to 5 students to research a historical or contemporary Sikh individual, group, or community in the United States. They can focus on one individual’s accomplishments, an organization’s contributions, or even the development of a particular social or political movement. Ask your media specialist and/or librarian to help you find a variety of sources to recommend to students–scholarly journals, primary sources, multimedia–whatever is most appropriate for the level of the class. Ask the students to focus their research on answering these questions: a. What contributions has this person or group made to American society? b. How has this person or group served as a role model for others? c. How has this person’s or group’s ideas and/or actions affected the lives of Sikh Americans? All Americans? After completing their research, ask each group to create a visual map of the subject they learned about. Instruct students to create their map on the scale that is most relevant to the subject they researched: a map of the entire U.S. for a government official or national organization; a map of a town for a community leader or gurdwara; a map of a school for a local educator or student group; and so on. Ask students to write key facts and/or descriptions of key events on several index cards. Then ask them to tape each card onto relevant locations on their map. Ask each group to present their maps and stories to the class, and participate in a discussion about the history of Sikh Americans in U.S. society. Guide the class through a discussion of these ideas: a) In what ways do these maps change or add to your understanding of U.S. history and society? b) Had you previously heard stories about the roles of Sikh Americans in the building of U.S. society? c) Why do you think these stories are often unacknowledged? d) What other religious groups have faced discrimination and persecution based on their religious beliefs? Compare the histories of Sikh Americans in the United States to these groups. e) What are some of the similarities and differences in their experiences of oppression or violence? f) How have these groups participated in the building of U.S. society over time?

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Activity 3 (cont.)
60MIN MAPPING SIKH AMERICAN COMMUNITY AND HISTORY (CONTINUED)

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This activity may be implemented over a couple of days or a couple of weeks, depending on the time you have available for the assignment. If time is limited, provide students with a list of people or groups to choose from as well as several information sources they can use to learn about them. These websites may be helpful: The Sikh Coalition (www.sikhcoalition.org) The Wing Luke Asian Museum, Special Exhibitions, Sikh Community: Over 100 Years in the Pacific Northwest (http:// www.wingluke.org/pages/sikhcommunitywebsite/mainpage.html) Khalsa Kids (www.khalsakids.org)

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Optional Assignments
REINFORCING LESSON CONCEPTS

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Ask students to repeat one of the assignments above for a different religious minority group in the United States such as Mormons, Mennonites, Amish, Jains, Wiccans, Hasidic Jews, or agnostics. Find out if there is a gurdwara in your region and if so, ask what types of educational outreach programs they provide. Invite a gurdwara member to speak to your class about Sihkism and Sikh Americans in your community. The following website offers a fairly comprehensive lists of Sikh Gurdwaras in the United States and Canada: www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Gurdwaras_USA.

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

Handout 1
BRAINSTORM ACTIVITY: THE SIKH RELIGION

WHAT I KNOW

WHAT I THINK I KNOW

WHAT I WANT TO KNOW

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Written by Irene Yeh and Marisa Jackson Hedges. Produced by Mindgate Media. © 2011 New Moon Productions. All rights reserved.

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