Teaching about the Holocaust

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by AnonyMS, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    Feb 1, 2015

    Please share your best websites, resources, and lesson ideas on teaching about the Holocaust to 5th graders.

    Thank you.
     
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  3. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Feb 1, 2015

    I definitely suggest reading Number The Stars with your class. It is perfect for 5th and deals with the Holocaust in a way that is appropriate for the age of your students.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Agreed that this and other age appropriate books are the best bet. Check out http://www.ushmm.org/ for some non-fiction resources. I had a 5th grade Hebrew School teacher who didn't like my class and decided to traumatize us. Who on earth shows "The Twisted Cross" to 10-year olds?
     
  5. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    I would second the Number the Stars book, it's great! I would also suggest telling them the truth. Just because they are 5th graders does not mean they cannot handle the truth. Also, I would use the movie Diary of Anne Frank if you can find it.
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Many schools study the Holocaust in great detail in middle school, grades 7-8. Diary of Anne Frank is a staple of that age group. I would suggest making contact with the history and ELA departments of these upper grades, so that you don't step on toes. I also like Number the Stars for this age group. I agree that there is no need to traumatize this age group. They will have questions, and I am a big believer in honest answers, but just like when you have the "sex" talk with kids, give them what they are ready for and answer the questions they are asking, which are sometimes surprisingly simple compared to our long-winded answers. Some students may be ready for more information, some students may tell you that the Holocaust is a propaganda lie (yep, I ran into a couple of them), and others may not be able to comprehend the vast numbers of lives lost. You can tie the number of survivors who immigrated to the US into the big picture, and create modern comparisons of genocide - unfortunately there are too many to count. If you want to use totally modern examples, some of what is going on in Africa is comparable. At this age, you should be building schema for what they will study in a few years. Our 8th graders meet with Holocaust survivors, visit the memorial, and it becomes a cross curricular event. You could see if you could do some similar cross curricular planning in fifth - mapping skills, graphs, politics of WW II, ethnic composition of Germany and other European countries, exodus from German occupied countries, humanitarian efforts that put peoples lives on the line, but demonstrated great courage of conviction. I don't teach 5th, but I do remember my son's exposure to the Holocaust during that age, and I think it is a time to build compassion and understanding that will serve them well in the years to come. Building the idea that bad things happen, but people did care, people did heroic things despite personal consequences, these are ideas that this age group is ready to consider and internalize.
     
  7. Teach2015

    Teach2015 Rookie

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    Feb 3, 2015

    I agree with the suggestion "Number the Stars." I read that book with my fifth grade class and they really enjoyed it. It is very age appropriate and it introduces the Holocaust in a memorable way not too aggressively.

    There are many suggestions and questions already created too if you google search.


    A connection to this book--

    If you want to compare auto styles we also read another book by Lois Lowry called "The Giver." This one has no relation to the Holocaust but, it has a completely different writing style... it was interesting to see how this author can change her styles so much.
     
  8. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Feb 4, 2015

    Another book that I used is "The Big Lie". I can't remember the name of the author, but she is a survivor and tells her story. I read it aloud in an afternoon to my grade 6s and I don't think any of them blinked they were so engaged in the story. It's written for a young audience - she is direct but not more graphic than they can handle.
     
  9. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Feb 4, 2015

    Hana's Suitcase and Twenty and Ten are great books too.
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Way off topic for me, but I personally hated The Giver, and believe me, I have "given" it several chances!
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 4, 2015

    Non-fiction accounts are also good. I'm not sure Clara's Story is still in print, but Clara Isaacman was my Sunday School teacher who survived by hiding. This link is her being interviewed by another Sunday School teacher (who is also the mother of three of my childhood friends) for the Shoah Foundation. There are a TON of interviews there.
     
  12. bluegill

    bluegill Rookie

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    Feb 5, 2015

    What about the boy in the striped pajamas? The book thief? Slaughterhouse-5? Night? There are a gazillion ways to go about this, man!
     
  13. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I teach Night to my sophomores. I think it's a little too much for younger kids. I'm all for exposing kids to the Holocaust, but I do think you have to go about it in the right way. Night remains one of my favorites though. My kids sometimes struggle with some of the narration.
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Feb 5, 2015

    I taught it with Number the Stars and another book, Lily's Crossing, for many years. One thing I want to point out is that you can teach it without showing photographs of the victims. I didn't even want my 6th grade tutoring student this year to see the actual photographs; I told her to look at them with her parents if she wanted to see them.
     
  15. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    Feb 13, 2015

    Thank you, everybody. This is actually for my Sunday School class, so there is no cross-discipline opportunities. I have used Number the Stars for many yeas, but am looking for something new (I'm getting tired of reading it). And, I think they read Number the Stars in 4th grade at public school.

    Slaughterhouse 5, Night, the Book Thief, etc. are all too much for my little 5th graders.


    I have not heard of The Big Lie OR Clara's Story (do you mean Clara's War?) so I will be looking for them. Most of the other books I have heard about. I was just wondering if anyone had something I didn't.

    Thank you, everyone! If anyone has anything more to contribute, please do.
     
  16. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Feb 13, 2015

    How about Diary of Anne Frank?
     
  17. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    Feb 20, 2015

    Thanks, but that would be too high for 5th graders... and take too long to read since I only see them once per week.

    I was hoping for some new-to-me picture books (fiction or non-fiction). Thanks to everyone!
     
  18. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Feb 20, 2015

    Given your criteria and constraints, perhaps you should be looking for those books in the third grade range. They might be more appropriate for your specific needs, as well as having picture books make up a larger portion of what is out there to choose from. Just a thought.
     
  19. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Feb 20, 2015

    Scholastic, I think, had a great study guide to go with number the stars!

    When I was in high school & studied it more for extra credit for 1 day or 2, I think...sorry it was awhile ago, my teacher drew names. We were then asked to be either a Jew or Nazi identified with an arm band & we were only allowed to speak with or like group. It was difficult!!! But good learning experience.
     
  20. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Feb 21, 2015

    The Devil's Arithmetic and Boy in the Striped Pajamas are age appropriate for grade 5. Maybe not reading "The Diary of Anne Frank," but reading about her and maybe even in the play form would be great for grade 5.
     
  21. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Feb 21, 2015

    I was about to suggest that. I taught Night (through audiobook, mostly) to my 8th graders this year and then we read the play version of The Diary of Anne Frank online through Nexuslearning. It was much shorter than making them read another novel, but I still exposed them to the iconic story of Anne Frank. We are watching the movie when we get back from break.
     
  22. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Feb 21, 2015

    If this is for a Sunday School class, I am not quite sure how this will work out. It certainly is not a topic that I would have thought to teach in Sunday School, as even the concept of only meeting once a week seems daunting to teach this in a traditional school way. I wish we had more information.
     

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