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Writing About The Holocaust, Intro, Overview, Culminating Activity


Language Arts, Social Studies  



Title – Writing About The Holocaust, Intro, Overview, Culminating Activity
By – Kristy Brooten
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Social Studies
Grade Level – 6
Writing About The Holocaust Thematic Unit Contents:

I. Writing about the Holocaust
II. Grade Level: 6th
III. Objective to be achieved
TSWBAT use a variety of writing forms to communicate ideas, information, feelings and beliefs
TSWBAT react intellectually, emotionally and morally to the events of the

IV. Initiation Lesson
          Before beginning this unit, a letter should be sent home informing parents that their children will be engaging in a study of the Holocaust. As this will be a difficult study, parents are asked to support their children and be prepared to discuss the issues surrounding the Holocaust with their children.
          The unit will be introduced through Holocaust Remembrance Centers. Several centers (four to five) will be set up before students come into classroom. Each center will cover a specific aspect of the Holocaust, such as historical contexts, key figures, agenda of the nazi party, etc. and will include informational paragraphs or brief articles, stories, poems and editorials about the Holocaust (writing forms to be covered in unit). Centers will also include photographs, maps, timelines, artwork, oral interviews, video clips, quotes, and web sites. Each center will pose questions for students to answer, problems for students to solve and/or issues for students to discuss in their groups. Prior to visiting the centers, students will be given Holocaust Journals to be used throughout the unit. The first page of the Journal will be a K-W-L chart. As students visit centers, students fill in their previous knowledge of the Holocaust under “What I Know,” record questions raised in heir minds under “What I Want to Know,” and begin to write new information, opinions and issues under “What I Learned.” Students will continue to fill in this chart throughout the unit. It is critical that the teacher be available for questions, supervision and support as students visit centers. Students may have deep emotional responses to what they’re learning: they may share their feelings with the teacher or in their Holocaust Journal whenever necessary.

V. Content
A. Writing a Research Report
           1. Choosing a topic
           2. Gathering information
                     a. library resources
                     b. note taking
                     c. citing references
           3. Organizing information into a report
                     a. writing a thesis statement
                     b. arranging basic structure of report
                     c. writing rough draft of body
                     d. writing introduction and conclusion
B. Writing a narrative
           1. Writing a main idea
           2. Selecting characters, plot, setting
           3. Using description
           4. Using dialogue
5. Forming these elements into a rough draft of a story
C. Writing poetry
           1. Choosing something to describe
           2. Describing using five senses
           3. Using literary devices such as personification, comparison, etc.
           4. Forming these descriptions into a poem
D. Writing an editorial
           1. Locating editorials in newspaper
           2. Identifying and using elements of an editorial
                     a. choosing an event to respond to
                     b. identifying what writer feels is the problem
                     c. proposing a solution
                     d. suggesting reasons to support solution
E. The Holocaust
           1. Historical context
           2. Key figures and events
           3. Vocabulary of the Holocaust
           4. Life of the Jews (and other “undesirables”) during the Holocaust
           5. Literature of the Holocaust

VI. Development of the Unit
          Lesson 1: TSWBAT write a research report about the Holocaust. Students will be shown a short research report about the Holocaust and asked to analyze it as a form of writing. From this discussion, students will identify the necessary elements of a report and determine criteria for a good informational report (organization, clarity, appropriate use of detail, interest to reader). Special attention will be given to writing thesis statements, introductions, and conclusions. Students will choose a Holocaust topic from Holocaust Remembrance Centers, research topic, and begin to write using the writing process. A final edited copy of the report will be submitted to the teacher.
          Lesson 2: TSWBAT write a story about someone involved in the Holocaust. Students will read a short story about the Holocaust compare and contrast this writing form with report writing, picking out key elements of a story. Special attention (and practice) will be given to description and dialogue. Students will formulate ideas for a story from their research in the previous lesson and use the story elements to compose their own stories about the Holocaust. Writing will begin in this lesson using the writing process. A final edited copy of the narrative will be submitted to the teacher.
          Lesson 3: TSWBAT write a poem describing a concentration camp. Students will brainstorm descriptive words phrases about a concentration camp based on what they’ve learned in the last two lessons. They will be shown two poems written by children in a concentration camp and asked to compare the descriptions. From this discussion, literary devices to be used in writing poetry will be identified and developed (description using the five senses, repetition, personification, comparison). Students will then develop class descriptions into a poem about a concentration camp. Writing will begin in this lesson using the writing process. A
final edited copy of the poem will be submitted to the teacher.
          Lesson 4: TSWBAT write an editorial in response to an event of the Holocaust. Students will search a newspaper for readers’ opinions about news events. Through class discussion, students will identify the elements and purpose of an editorial based on sample editorials (including one about the Holocaust). Students will in their literature circles respond to an event they have read about in their Holocaust novels as Americans during World War II. Ideas will be formulated and discussed n groups then writing individual editorials will begin using the writing process. A final edited copy of the editorial will be submitted to the teacher.

VII. Culminating Activity
Students will use what they have learned through their writings and their Holocaust Journals to create their own Holocaust Remembrance Centers. Each group of students will design and create a themed center consisting of at least one of each of the four writing forms plus art work, artifacts (genuine or created), oral interviews, skits, posters, charts, videos, etc. If scheduling allows, centers will be exhibited to other 6th grade and middle school classes and parents on Holocaust Remembrance Day.* Groups will write project proposal to be approved by teacher.

VII. Materials
Web Sites:
The Holocaust Research Center Home Page.

Adler, David A. The Number on My Grandfather’s Arm. New York: UAHC Press, 1987.
Bachrach, Susan D. Tell Them We Remember: The Story of the Holocaust. Boston: Little, Brown and Co, 1994.
Elmer, Robert. A Way Through the Sea. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1994.
Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars. New York: Dell Publishing, 1989.
Matas, Carol. Daniel’s Story. New York: Scholastic Inc, 1993.
Miller, Marcia K. The Holocaust: A Scholastic Curriculum Guide. New York: Scholastic Professional Books, 1998.
Reiss, Johanna. The Upstairs Room. New York: Scholastic Inc, 1990.
—- The Journey Back New York: Scholastic Inc, 1993.
Streicher, Julius. “The Poisonous Mushroom.”

van der Rol, Ruud and Rian Verhoeven. Anne Frank: Beyond the Diary. New York: Scholastic Inc, 1995.
Volavkova, Hana, Ed. …I never saw another butterfly… Second Ed. New York: Schocken Books, 1993.
Vos, Ida. Anna is Still Here. New York: Scholastic Inc, 1995.

*Holocaust Remembrance Day Calendar 2000 – 2010: Tuesday, May 2, 2000; Thursday, April 19, 2001; Tuesday, April 9, 2002; Tuesday, April 29, 2003; Sunday, April 18, 2004; Thursday, May 5, 2005; Tuesday, April 25, 2006; Monday, April 15, 2007; Thursday, May 1, 2008; Tuesday, April 21, 2009; Sunday, April 11, 2010

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