Course Content
Lesson 1: The Korean Diaspora and Korean Americans
Students are introduced to Korean Diaspora and Korean American immigration patterns and experiences. They compare experiences of Korean Americans in the first and second waves of immigrants and consider how these experiences have evolved over the the 20th century. They analyze oral histories and complete a web-based short research project on locations of Koreans and Korean Americans.
Lesson 2: The First Koreatown and the Legacy of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho
Students explore the life of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, his immigration to the United States, and his life as an activist and community builder. They examine how the first Koreatown was established in Riverside, California, and compare the experiences of Korean, Mexican, and women citrus pickers and packers. Finally, they identify Dosan's contributions to the United States and Korea.
Lesson 3: ​Immigrant Experiences ​of Korean Americans: The Sammy Lee Story
Students are introduced to the experiences of Korean American immigrants through Sammy Lee’s life story. They reflect upon and critically analyze the responses of Sammy Lee and his family to the racism and discrimination they faced as immigrants, consider ways the immigration laws have changed over the 20th century, and identify ways to advocate for Korean American immigrants.
Lesson 4: The Korean Independence Movement and Korean American Identity in the U.S.
Students situate President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points Peace Program and 1919 speech to congress in the development of the Korean Independence Movement. They engage in a jigsaw activity and examine original documents and news reports from the time period to identify how the Korean Independence Movement shaped and was shaped by the formation of the Korean American identify in the United States. Students compose a letter to President Wilson to encourage the United States to support the Korean Independence Movement.
Lesson 5: Colonel Young Oak Kim: Hero and Humanitarian
Students explore the life of Young Oak Kim, and identify contributions he has made to the United States. They complete a Think/Write/Pair Share/Group Share as they reflect on what it is like to be a Korean American/minority struggling through racial barriers like Young Oak Kim. They explore what kinds of microaggressions Kim encountered and consider how he responded to those actions. Students deepen their understanding of the life of Young Oak Kim as a U.S. citizen, war hero and community activist, and they annotate and discuss an excerpt from the biography, Unsung Hero: The Colonel Young O. Kim Story, by Woo Sung Han. They construct a biopoem and/or an argument essay on his life and contributions to American society.
Lesson 6: Aftermath of the Korean War and Korean Transnational Adoptions
Students explore the ending and aftermath of the Korean War. They learn about the history of the Korean War and what war was like from the perspective of Koreans. Students learn about one of the many groups of displaced civilians whose lives were forever changed by the war, Korean children. They learn how Korean children became central to international aid efforts that led to the advent of transnational adoptions. ​ They analyze an article from 1953 about a Korean transnational adoptee and consider the broader impacts of Korean transnational adoptions on Koreans and Korean-Americans. Finally, students learn about transnational adoptions from the perspective of Deann Borshay Liem, a Korean adoptee.
Lesson 7: Saigu and Social Justice
Students are introduced to 1992 LA Civil Unrest and how it impacted Korean Americans. They reflect upon and critically analyze the responses of various individuals and groups to the unrest, examine issues of justice, and consider the legacy of Saigu for Korean Americans today.
Lesson 8: Korean Americans in the 21st Century
Students explore Korean popular culture in the United States, including K-Pop, Korean and Korean American films, food, and more. They compare and contrast K-POP and American Popular music, conduct short research on an example of Hallyu, analyze films, conduct research for a biographical presentation of a notable Korean American, and compose a memoir essay of their own experiences
Korean American Ethnic Studies
About Lesson


  Formative Assessments Directions for these assessments are provided under each Activity.

  • Activity 8.1
    • Hallyu Research Assignment
    • K-Pop Comparison/Contrast Activity
  • Activity 8.2
    • Character Map
    • Story Map
    • Sequence Chart
    • Digital Movie Poster
    • Movie Critique Presentation/Video
  • Activity 8.3
    • Biographical Research Presentation (may also be considered a summative assessment)

    Summative Assessment (directions below)

  • Memoir Essay Plan
  • Memoir Essay

 Instructional Strategies

  • Use the Lesson 8: Korean Popular Culture in the United States (Activity 8.3) presentation to support this assessment.

    Reading a Memoir

  • In Lesson 7 (Activity 7.2), an optional activity was to assign students the reading of “Chapter 6: Los Angeles on Fire,” from Memoir of a Cashier: Korean Americans, Racism, and Riots, by Carol Park and compose a Quick-writes to the following question: How was Carol Park and her family impacted by the 1992 civil unrest? If students did not complete that activity, have them do so now.

    Students Plan & Outline

    • Distribute and review the Memoir Essay Plan, Three Acts Outline for a Memoir, and Memoir Essay Scoring Rubric.
    • Post the writing prompt and give students time to plan and outline their essay.
  • WRITING PROMPT: Compose a 5-paragraph memoir essay in which you recount an experience in your lifetime that reveals something about the identity as an immigrant to United States.
  • Begin the Memoir Essay Plan by having students brainstorm possible events and experiences. Have them share ideas with the class.
  • Help students identify what kind of memoir they will be writing.
  • Then provide students time to complete an outline of the three acts, interview family and friends, and compose a title.
  • Review the Memoir Essay Plan with each students prior to having them complete their first draft.

    Students Compose First Draft

  • Allocate sufficient time for students to compose their first draft.

    Students Review and Revise

  • Provide students with feedback through the following strategies:
    • Writer Workshop – students sign up for 10-minute conferences with the teacher to get assistance.
    • Peer Review – in pairs or small groups, students read each other’s drafts and provide feedback using the Example Format and/or Scoring Rubric.

  Students Edit and Publish

  • Allow students time to edit their essays and finalize for submission.


  • See also Lesson 8: Korean Popular Culture in the United States (Assessments) under Activity 8.1
  • Memoir Essay Plan and Three Acts Outline for a Memoir (Word)
  • Memoir Essay Plan and Three Acts Outline for a Memoir (PDF) 
  • Memoir Essay Scoring Rubric (Word)
  • Memoir Essay Scoring Rubric (PDF)


Memoir Essay Plan and Three Acts Outline (PDF) 
Memoir Essay Scoring Rubric (PDF)

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