This should fit into one forty-five minute lesson.

This lesson will most likely be the first time students are trying the silent discussion method on their own, so be prepared to troubleshoot.

Desired Learner Outcomes:

Students will be able to…Students will know…
identify and discuss their feelings about how Jews were treated during Hitler's Hitler persecuted Jews in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
debate constructively and respectfully with their partners and classmates.
what life was like for Anne and her family before they were forced into hiding.
guide their partner's reading of the Diary.
read the Diary independently.

Summative Assessment(s):

Describe Performance TasksExplain &/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.




Students should begin the lesson with their partner (note: an odd number of students in a class may permit the use of a triad, which also works pretty well). Aim for three paper exchanges in this silent discussion. It should be timed as such:

  • 3-5 minutes: Each student writes something to his/her partner. Remind them of the discussion starters referenced in the introductory lesson if they struggle.
  • While students write, circulate around the room with a notepad or clipboard and note students' discussions that are particularly cogent, thoughtful, or provocative. Make sure to choose students who touch on the most important events or ideas in the reading. You may use this as a formative assessment/classwork grade, or it may give you a good sense of who to "call on" in the whole-group discussion.
  • Announce "switch!" after 3-5 minutes. Students should switch papers and respond to what his/her partner wrote. Again, remind strugglers of tools for constructive disagreement and extension.
  • Announce another "switch!" after 3-5 minutes.
  • Announce a final "switch!" after 3-5 more minutes.
  • Then conclude the silent discussion. This should take a total of 15-20 minutes, although, since this is the first time, it may take longer.



In the whole-group discussion, I usually choose three pairs of students whose silent discussions were particularly productive. Touch on these points in your whole-group discussion:

  • Describe Anne's character and the details that tell you about her. [She is popular, sociable, thoughtful, spoiled, boy-crazy. Students may discuss her birthday party and her many presents, her male admirers, her getting in trouble for talking in class, etc.]
  • Describe the treatment of Jews in the Netherlands and elsewhere under Hitler. [This comes out most strongly in her entries on 20 June and 24 June--Jews must give up their bicycles, shop in Jewish shops only, Jews have curfews, Jews cannot visit most public places including theatres and cinemas, Jews cannot drive, Jewish children must attend Jewish schools, etc.]
  • Try to connect the Jews' experience with other examples of discrimination and persecution with which your students are likely to be already familiar--e.g. segregation of African-Americans in the United States, apartheid of black South Africans, e.g.
  • How would you react if you and your family and friends were being treated in such a way? Remind students of penalties for Jews caught breaking these laws: arrest, beatings, torture, deportation to concentration camps, death.

Students should read ahead through p. 19.


Assess closely how students are relating to the Franks' situation. Many students today find it difficult to empathize with persons whose history seems so distant and different from theirs. You may wish to assign some or all of the "Secret Annexe" activities (posted here) to help students imagine themselves in Anne's position and how they would think and feel.

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