April 11, 2015

Observing the Days of Remembrance in the Classroom

This year, the Days of Remembrance, the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust, fall on April 12 - 19. Maybe you are reading or planning to begin reading a Holocaust related text in your English Language Arts. Maybe you are touching on the topic as you teach about WWII or genocide in your history class. Whether you spend one day or devote weeks to a unit, I hope you take time to recognize this event in your classroom.

If you are only spending one day on the topic, consider using these Holocaust Victims' Identity Cards. This free resource, with information and images used with permission from the United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum, is designed to help students make personal connections with the victims of the Holocaust. 

Distribute one of the 37 different ID cards (Jewish, Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, accused homosexuals, mentally ill, and the “righteous”) to each of your students. On each card is a photo of the victim, his/her name, date of birth, place of birth, and a description of his/her life before Hitler came to power, before World War II, and after WWII began. Give students time to read about their victim and then hold a class discussion. What do these victims have in common? What do they have in common with your students? Have students predict the fate of their victims and then at the end of class, allow students to read the "newspaper" revealing the fates of all 37 victims.

This set of activities can be purchased to complement the Holocaust Victims' ID Cards. Included is a Holocaust victim ID analysis worksheet, a set of writing prompts to which students respond from the point of view of their victim, and a ID card planning sheet and final product form for students to use to create their own.

Are you working on symbolism, persuasive techniques, and/or propaganda in your class? This lesson on propaganda used by the Nazi Party during the Holocaust and WWII connects to all three concepts. Students will view propaganda posters used by the Nazi party to spread and preserve the basic ideas of Nazism and to dehumanize “inferior" groups. Students will then analyze ten posters to infer meaning, and identify patterns and symbols.

Do you teach math or maybe health? This lesson on Nutrition During the Holocaust & World War II could be used in your classrooms as well. In this lesson, students will analyze information from a short informational text as well as tables/graphs. Students will learn about rations of bread and potatoes during World War II and recommended daily allowances of food. Students will compare this information to their own one day calorie count to gain an understanding of how the Nazis used food as a weapon and why survival was so difficult for the Jews.

If this is a subject of great interest for your students, consider allowing them to choose a topic for further research. This step-by-step guide to writing a research paper on the Holocaust is a great resource for introducing research writing or support for struggling writers.

The packet includes a step-by-step checklist, ELA Common Core standards, reading & writing objectives, a note taking PowerPoint and Cornell note taking sheet, a sample research paper for annotation, a pre-writing graphic organizer, an outline, a structured introduction paragraph, self and peer assessment forms, and a grading rubric.

If you are going to spend several days, a week, or teach a unit on the Holocaust consider purchasing my Holocaust Resource Bundle. This bundle, over $10 in savings,  includes all of the resources above as well as Holocaust Themed Non-Fiction Homework Readings & Responses, The Holocaust Introductory PowerPoint, Stations for Previewing Holocaust Texts & Night.

If you are reading Night by Elie Wiesel, an excellent literary nonfiction text, take a look at stations, vocabulary, constructed responses, and "menus" of activities. These resources are all bundled together for a $5 savings.

Or purchase all of my Night & Holocaust resources in one super bundle, over $15 in savings.

For more information about the Days of Remembrance and events in your area, visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's website.

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