Anne Frank Diary of a Young Girl Holocaust Judaism Jewish Jews
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This lesson should take approximately one day to complete. Its purpose is to prepare students to begin to read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl independently and discuss what they read in both a partner-read setting and a whole-class setting. Lasting Ideas & Results:
Students will begin to understand what the Holocaust was, how both Jews and non-Jews resisted the Nazis, and how Anne and others like her turned to writing and art to make sense of their experience and maintain their dignity and individuality. Desired Learner Outcomes:
Students will be able to…
Students will know…
begin to read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.
what is meant by the term "Holocaust" and when and where it happened.
question why Anne Frank and her family had to go into hiding.
who Anne Frank and her family were.
explore their own feelings about how Jews were treated during the Holocaust.
Describe Performance Tasks
Explain &/or Reference Criteria
Students will read the first section of the book that has been assigned and complete their "diary entries."
Use your own grading scale to assess the completeness and thoughtfulness of each student's response to his/her reading. I use 1-2-3-4 (1 being the lowest, 4 being the highest), where a "4" entry not only summarizes what was read correctly, but engages in questioning and extending what has been read.
Pre-Requisite Knowledge & Skills:
You can assume that students will have little to no prior knowledge in this area. Some students may be familiar with World War II, the Holocaust, and/or the diary from independent reading, movies, television, or other classes.
Students should be comfortable reading independently at Fountas and Pinnell Level Y and be able to read in class and independently for an extended period of time (30-45 minutes daily). Students should be able to work in partner and whole-group settings. Procedures: PART 1:
Introduce the idea of the Holocaust to contextualize Anne Frank's situation. You may wish to do this via a short lecture or a K-W-L chart. (A K-W-L chart is a chart divided into three columns: What students KNOW already, what students WANT to know more about, and, later, what students LEARN from an activity, lesson, or unit.) Getting a sense of what students may already know will help you to plan later lessons and activities.
At minimum, students should know when the book takes place (1942-1944), the historical context (Adolf Hitler's persecution, capture, and murder of European Jews and others), and who Anne Frank and her family were.
This should take 15-20 minutes.
Demonstrate the "silent discussion" partner read method. In this method, students who have already read a selection "discuss" the selection on paper by writing notes back and forth to each other. Students should not simply retell what they read; rather, they should ask their partner for clarification, express an opinion, wonder what might happen next or why something happened, make a prediction, create a characterization, etc.
Students may need some "discussion starters" to help them. These are some that you may wish to provide:
I wonder if...
What did you think about...
I don't understand why...
A word or phrase that confused me was...
I agree/don't agree with...
Explain to the class that students who do not do the assigned reading cannot take part in silent discussion. Enforce your own consequence for missed homework and have an alternative activity ready for those students. I generally had those students complete the reading in class while penalizing them for not doing the homework.
Emphasize that each member of a pair should directly respond to what his or her partner wrote. If a partner asks for clarification, try to provide it; if a partner has an opinion with which you do not agree, respectfully disagree and explain your reasons for doing so. Explain that the goal is not necessarily to form an agreement, but discuss the events and issues in the book honestly and deeply--it is okay to disagree.
Silent discussion sessions should last 10 to 20 minutes. You may want to start with a shorter silent discussion, allowing partners to trade papers once or twice, and slowly move to a longer silent discussion session in which partners trade papers three or four times. You may wish to keep pairs together for the whole reading of the book (4-6 weeks) or switch partners periodically. I occasionally allowed students to choose their own partners as a reward for good behavior or consistently well-done homework.
Read more about silent discussion here.
Allow at least 20 minutes to explain and demonstrate silent discussion.
Assign the first reading selection. You may wish to divide the book up yourself or use the division I provide (forthcoming). Explain to students that they are responsible for reading the selection, writing "back to Anne" about what they read (they can use some of the same discussion starters used for silent discussion, approximately 1-2 paragraphs), and writing their own diary entry (1-2 paragraphs about what they did that day). Materials: Students should have individual copies of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. As a teacher, maintain a separate copy that you can mark up with pen, pencil, or sticky note.
Students should have a notebook or packet in which to record their "diary entries" on a daily basis.
Students may wish to have sticky notes to mark places in the book. Reflection:
It's important that you explicitly teach and model the partner-read "silent discussion" strategy so that students know what to do. It's also very helpful to have a sample diary that students can read and get an idea of how long their diary entries should be and what they should discuss and observe in each entry. The first time I taught this unit, I kept my own diary along with the students so that I had a sample of what I expected from them each day.
The "diary" can be a touchy subject with students. Explain up front that you are using it as an assessment tool and that you will be reading it regularly. Say that while you will keep anything they write in confidence, they probably should not write anything that they would not want a teacher to read.