The Experience of the American Soldier

This Social Studies inquiry unit plan was developed collaboratively by representatives of the Bay Shore School District Social Studies Team and Frank Romeo to provide curricular support for Frank Romeo’s programs for students in United States History and Government 11.

Inquiry Unit Compelling Question: Is the experience of the soldier one of continuity or change throughout American history?

NYS Social Studies Framework Citations: United States History and Government 11: 11.3c; 11.6b; 11.8b; 11.9a

Inquiry Unit Learning Target: I am able to: identify enduring issues using historical documents, artwork, workshop discussion, and veterans lectures in order to determine if the experience of the American soldier is one of continuity or change.

  • The New York State Legislature has commissioned Frank Romeo to oversee a two-year pilot project titled “The Experience of the American Soldier” to participating school districts accepting the criteria stated. The study will evaluate the need, the value, the format, and the overall success of the project. Beginning with the fall 2020 semester and running through the spring of 2022 evaluations made by the districts will be recorded. Upon completion of the project the data will be compiled and reported back to the State Legislative Body and the Governor. Every effort will be made to reach urban, suburban, and rural districts to ensure a true evaluation of New York State’s student population.
  • Participating targeted school districts will be required to fill out a pre (i.e. school demographics) and post (i.e. educational value evaluation) questionnaires. Occasional video documentation may be helpful to obtain optimum evaluation but is not required. Participating districts are given the option and may use their own video departments or Frank’s video team or opt out of video documentation completely.
  • Saturday or Sunday – THE ART OF WAR – Prior to beginning the work week Frank Romeo’s team will install an art exhibit featuring PTSD artwork (created by traumatized soldiers), combat artwork (created during battle), and enemy artwork (created during battle) centered around the Vietnam War. This exhibit will be available to administrators, teachers, and students for the duration of the week to view at their leisure. The exhibit is valuable to multiple disciplines and will be broken down upon the completion of the week long project.
  1. Monday – Motivational Introduction: Students will observe 2 short videos presenting the experience of sacrifice and “returning home” for American soldiers in various conflicts. 

Key Question: Does this represent the homecoming experience for all American soldiers throughout the history of American conflicts?

Transition: Teacher will facilitate class discussion about the sacrifices of soldiers (and their families) and similarities and differences in the characteristics of the soldiers’ return home across conflicts in United States history.

       2. Tuesday –Teacher facilitates whole-class transition discussion. Students complete cooperative learning tasks whereby teams analyze and interpret assigned documents indicating perceived enduring issues with supportive evidence while filling out a chart from various wars. (Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War) A printout of soldier’s letters home and chart will be supplied.

        3. Wednesday – While in teams (groups of 4-5) students will be given actual historical letters to read then discuss. (teachers are asked to emphasize precaution and care to students in handling these original letters)

        4. Thursday – Workshops – Frank Romeo will participate in group workshops. Depending on the size of the district the participating classes will gather to openly discuss their findings, opinions, and suggestions. Frank Romeo will make himself available for the entire day and schools will set up a schedule for optimum coverage.

         5. Friday – Lectures  or Workshops 

             (options A or B)

  • The lecture “A Veterans Journey” is the story of PTSD from its inception to the present. It follows Frank Romeo’s 50 year journey fighting the ravishes of post trauma from the jungles of Vietnam through his 30 years of revolutionary educational programs today. This amazing story is a heartfelt raw view of war that sheds light on PTSD, suicide, homelessness, and the plight of veterans issues. (this is highly recommended and works well with the art exhibit)

             Option A – Frank Romeo will perform 2 formal lectures followed by a question and answer period, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. A 2 period block is essential for maximum value. (in previous settings districts have used an “in school field trip” to accomplish this task)

             Option B – Workshops – Repeat Thursday’s schedule for maximum coverage of larger districts or if Option A cannot be achieved. 

Inquiry Unit Closure: In written response, students will address the following question by referencing at least one enduring issue reflected in the sources made available throughout the week.

  • Is the experience of the soldier one of continuity or change throughout American history? Be sure to support your position with specific supportive evidence from the sources.