Teaching the Holocaust

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by NathalieBug, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. NathalieBug

    NathalieBug Rookie

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    Jan 17, 2006

    While teaching "The Diary of Anne Frank" (in play format) to my 8th grade English students I realized that they knew next to nothing about Hitler and the Holocaust. When I mentioned this to the librarian she informed me that nobody really teaches that anymore. I've decided that even though I'm an English teacher, these kids are just going to have to get a serious history lesson. Does anyone have any good ideas for making the children understand the seriousness of the Holocaust (I don't think they are going to let me show The Pianist otherwise, believe me, I would). Any lesson plans would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Jan 17, 2006

    A high school teacher in my county who had won a lot of awards was fired for showing "The Pianist" in his class.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 17, 2006

    I teach my 5th graders about it when we read Number the Stars. I use some non-fiction resource books but don't show them any gruesome photos, though I explain what it was like.
     
  5. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Jan 17, 2006

    Number the Stars is a wonderful book. It was one of my favorite books for a very long time after reading it in elementary school. I made my mother go out and buy me The Diary of Anne Frank because of it.
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I love it, too. So did my daughter.
     
  7. TexasAggie2323

    TexasAggie2323 Comrade

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    Jan 17, 2006

    My wife's 8th grade English mentor teacher did a unit on the Holocaust sort of like you are thinking about doing with Ann Frank.
    She tied it into a research project. She also had a day where she tried to make them feel how it would be like to be in Germany during the time of hitler (She was really mean to some students and let others get away with everything. It led to some great discussion).
     
  8. mrs. dub

    mrs. dub Companion

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    Jan 17, 2006

    "The Devil's Arithmetic" is also a really good book to use to teach the Holocaust (I think there's even a movie w/ Kirsten Dunst?)

    Maybe you can do a jigsaw activity where the kids research one aspect of the Holocause (Judaism, Hitler, concentration camps, etc) then bring all of the groups to present their piece of the puzzle.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 18, 2006

    I did a unit on the Holocaust in November--the kids were really "into" it and are still talking about it. I started with a book called Hana's Suitcase. It is a non-fiction story of am 11-year old Czechoslovakian girl whose story was pieced together through a variety of artifacts. All of the students also read a novel set during this time. We had lots of discussions and watched part of a movie called "The Rescuers" (about a family who helps to resuce Jews from the ghetto in their city). I previewed the movie "The Devil's Arithmetic" and while I loved it, there are some gruesome parts that I wouldn't/couldn't show my grade 5's although I would likely show Grade 8's. "Jakob the Liar" with Robin Williams is also a great film for that age.
    Good luck with your unit. I think that it is so important that students have an understanding of this dark period of our history. I still have parents thanking me for taking the time to deal with this in the classroom.
     
  10. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Jan 18, 2006

    I taught a 9-week Holocaust unit every year for 26 years, to 8th graders. "The Devil's Arithmetic" is awesome, and you wouldn't have to censor it for 8th graders. I used a PBS Frontline film about concentration camps. I also used "Shining Through," although there was a scene even censorship-hating ME always deleted. The internet is loaded with pictures and information about Anne Frank and all the others who hid in the attic for 25 months. This was my favorite unit, and I believe the students learned more from it than from anything else they learned in the middle school.
     
  11. dollyakita

    dollyakita New Member

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    Jan 18, 2006

    holocaust

    Depending upon the age of your students---you have to chose reading and video material that is appropriate. I teach in a high school and do a unit on the holocaust in my multicultural lit. class. It also helps that I am a history major as well. I use the video "Shoah" by Steven Spielberg----historical and alot of eyewitness accounts. He does a wonderful job of integrating survivor testimony with video footage from the era. I usually start my Holocaust unit with a brief history lesson on the history of anti-semitism----so the students understand that it is something that had been around for a long time in Europe. I also have the students attempt to look at things from the eyes of the perpetrator (using several quotes from top Nazi officials about their theories on leadership, religion, race etc.), the eyes of the victim (they read Night by Elie Weisel), and the eyes of the bystander---show "The Attic"---the story of Miep Gies (the woman who helped hide the Frank family). We discuss people having a choice as to what they should?could/would do in a situation like that. We also look at the problem of representation of an event this big------again we revisit the selection Night and read Maus I and II by Spigelman. I have used survivors in the past but that is getting harder to do since their numbers are dwindling. One needs to think of the audience and the parents of their students-----any video rated R or above---or that shows graphic violence is a hard sell. You can deal with this topic and get the point across with so many other resources.
     
  12. awaxler

    awaxler Comrade

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    Jan 18, 2006

    History Alive (www.historyalive.com) has a great number of resources on the holocaust in their WWII unit. It comes with slides and many activities. History Alive is the best social studies resource I have found...you may want to look into it for next year (it is pricey) or try to find someone who has it.

    Also, I love to introduce the holocaust using Eve Bunting's picture book "The Terrible Things". I use it with 8th graders and it works great!

    BTW...your librarian is wrong!

    --Adam
     
  13. Mary-IL

    Mary-IL Rookie

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    Jan 19, 2006

    I start my Holocaust unit by separating the blue-eyed children from the group. They get extra homework that day, must stay in for recess, and then watch the non-blue-eyed children eat candy bars during class. It made a big impact on all the kids. Later in the unit, I reward the blue-eyed students for being good sports. It certainly got them all thinking...
     
  14. Mr. Mike

    Mr. Mike Rookie

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    Jan 19, 2006

    i work as a schoolage teacher at a daycare and one of my kids is reading Number of the Stars. it brings back alot of memories about when i read it. But the hard thing about teaching kids about stuff like that you pretty much now days have to be Unbias which hard when talking about that. but i still like "The Shindlers List.
     
  15. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Jan 20, 2006

    Mary IL
    We did that type of thing. For one day we drew out of a hat if we were a "Jew" or not. We had to wear a star on our shirt and couldn't talk to anyone but the "Jews". Our teacher had other kids be observers (we didn't know who) & our grade was actually lowered a little for the day if we were caught. This was hard to do if friends weren't "Jews".

    Like the others NUMBER THE STARS!!!
     
  16. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I would never do the role-playing kind of lesson with children. It is way too harsh. (Parents at my school would have a fit.) Would you ever teach about the KKK this way?
     
  17. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I think I was a freshman...but it did drive home the point & how it was not to be able to interact w/anyone else. It was only for the school day...the hardest part was switching classes & lunch.

    In our HS I remember kids being pulled from classes & their faces painted white to drive home the point of drunk driving before prom...you couldn't talk to them either.
     
  18. Mr.G

    Mr.G Rookie

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    Jan 22, 2006

    There is the video "the Wave" about a study a teacher did with his students which gives good insight into how something like the Holocaust can happen.

    There is also the book "Ordinary Men" by Kurt Browning, which you may find to be an interesting personal read. It goes into how ordinary soldiers, who, when first instructed to, wouldn't kill the jews, eventually killed thousands of jews.

    I took a few classes on this topic in college and have only had to student teach it, but the few points I would make sure I hit are:

    1. The holocaust itself was not a forgone conclusion when Hitler came to power. As a matter of fact, before the Germans invaded Russia, they were strongly thinking about shipping all of the Jews to Madagascar. After the invasion it became more economical for the Germans to implement the "Final Solution." Sickening, I know.

    2. Do not call Hitler evil or crazy. I say this because those words give justification to his actions. Hitler and his cronies were very methodical and knew what they were doing. By calling them Evil or Crazy that means that we can no longer hold them responsible for these atrocities. Also, by not calling them Evil/Crazy, I find that it really opens the eyes of students to understanding that anyone is capable of doing this.

    I hope this helps,
     
  19. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

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    Feb 12, 2006

    Instead of actually separating students in an eighth grade class to show them what it was like, you can try showing the movie "The Wave." It gives a very good picture, and I know when I watched it in Global History in 10th grade, I felt like it was happening right then, without any experiments on the teacher's part! For books about the Holocaust, check out the Jewish publishers (Artscroll.com is the name of one website, other publishers include Feldheim, CIS, and Hachai). You'll find plenty of books to help you out! Good luck, it's a noble cause!
     
  20. myangel52

    myangel52 Comrade

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    Feb 12, 2006

    Another good book is Daniel's Story ... I think that is the name. Please don't give up teaching this topic, anyone! It is so important that the students (our future) knows what atrocities happened in the past, in the hopes that they do not repeat them.
     
  21. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Feb 12, 2006

    Use Holocaust poetry. And it's a GOOD thing, sometimes, when your students cry.

    Holocaust
    by Barbara Sonek

    We played, we laughed
    we were loved.
    We were ripped from the arms of our
    parents and thrown into the fire.
    We were nothing more than children.
    We had a future. We were going to be lawyers, rabbis, wives, teachers, mothers.
    We had dreams, then we had no hope.
    We were taken away in the dead of night like cattle in cars, no air to breathe smothering, crying, starving, dying.
    Separated from the world to be no more.
    From the ashes, hear our plea.
    This atrocity to mankind can not happen again.
    Remember us, for we were the children whose dreams and lives were stolen away.

    ==

    Daniel
    by Laura Crist

    And the child held her hand
    A child tiny for almost eight,
    Deep blue eyes that dominated his face,
    When he explained new events to her,
    that funny doggy,
    that pretty rock,
    And the freckles on his cheek,
    No one saw a sunrise more perfect,
    to her,
    She so vividly smells the fragrance of
    his hair,
    his ears,
    his breath in the morning
    She vividly hears that little heartbeat,
    that was hers
    always hers,
    and the laughter,
    that raspy little laugh,
    when he caught her in a conundrum.
    All this,
    But this is merely the surface,
    As she watches her little God sheared,
    and stripped,
    For the gas chamber.

    ==

    We must never forget. And we must continue to teach our students, or we WILL forget.
     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2006

    We all cried during this unit. My students borrowed some of the books we read and took them home for their parents to read; they cried too. My students learned that we need to learn about horrible things sometimes because they will be the ones to ensure that it doesn't happen again.
     

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