Monday, October 28, 2013

Lesson plan on personalizing the Holocaust

With the implementation of Common Core and 1:1 initiative of I-pads, presenting classroom lessons is continuously changing.  With emphasis being placed on nonfiction reading, writing and researching, I utilized my trip to Poland and Germany to challenge students.  Therefore, the youtube video is an introduction to real people, real places and real events.  Nonfiction stories of Holocaust survivors, prisoners of concentration camps or extermination camps, righteous rescuers, and liberators spread their messages through autobiographies, biographies, chronicles, documentaries, movies, poetry, plays, oral traditions, testimonies and interviews.  

Therefore, this movie reflects her personal experience visiting historical sights at Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration and Extermination Camp, Treblinka Death Camp, and Buchenwald Concentration Camp.  The people highlighted in the video are listed in order of appearance.  In 1941, Maximilian Kolbe, Polish Franciscan priest, volunteered to take the place of family man Francizcek Gajowniczek, one of ten selected men to die. Local Kansas City man Colonel Keith Schmedemann, was a liberator of Buchenwald in 1945.  Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Winner for his memoir NIGHT, was among the thousands who were liberated by the United States Army.  Dr. Janusz Korczak established an orphanage for 200 children that were relocated to the Warsaw Ghetto.  Instead of seeking freedom for himself, Janusz Korczak  went with the orphans to Treblinka Death Camp.  Karol Wojtyla, also known as Pope John Paul II, grew up playing with his Jewish friends Zygmunt, Leopold, Poldek and Jerzy Kluger who molded his boyhood experiences in Wadowice, Poland. 

Another group, righteous rescuers, are non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.  Five brief stories are told.  One is of a rescuer and a survivor.  In 1940, Maria and her mother saved Janina, a Jewish Holocaust survivor from Warsaw.  Inspired by her father to help those less fortunate, Irena Sendler was head of the children’s section of Zegota---the Polish Underground Council for aid to Jews.  A chair like many others on the brick road symbolizes Oskar Schindler’s ingenuity and contribution to help save Jews. Oskar Schindler, German industrialist, employed cheap Jewish labor at his Krakow factory. These righteous rescuers are just a few of many whose stories continue to be told.

Through reading, researching and talking with scholars, survivors, righteous rescuers, and liberator, I continue to strive for understanding.  Therefore, teaching the Holocaust challenges me to integrate the choices of victims and rescuers of the past into the future, our children.   

Respectfully submitted by  Kimberly Klein on October 28, 2013.  The lesson is outlined below:

Learning Target:  To apply reading and writing skills to comprehend, analyze and evaluate

OBJECTIVE:  Students will watch Youtube video “Holocaust: Memories of the Past Spoken to the Heart” of historical sites, people, and events that I created for student introduction.  The genre is nonfiction.


  1. As a class, students will read Surviving Hitler by Andrea Warren. 
  2.  Students will take notes on the real people, real places, real events,conflict and attributes/flaws 
  3. Students will organize information (events) in a timeline
  4. Students will research in the USHMM website -The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a reliable website and is recognized internationally 
  5.  Using the website, students will research a liberator, righteous rescuer, survivor, or victim 
  6. Students will record information about person—also referring to documents, testimonies, biographies, photographs, letters, interviews 
  7.  Students will analyze information.  This process includes paraphrasing information, summarizing, connecting, reflecting and drawing conclusions. 
  8.  Students will write a “How to inform” paper on the “Said” topic 
  9.  Students will include bibliography that demonstrates how to cite sources

ASSESSMENT:  Students will present findings and how they accomplished the task to the class

EVALUATION:  Progress will be monitored from baseline reading, researching, analyzing and citing from introduction.

Therefore, learning about the people, places and events of the Holocaust will allow students to develop critical thinking skills, to make connections from the past to the present, and to learn how to access information.

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