Holocaust: What Do You Know?
Students learn about the Holocaust with use of a KWL chart and literature circles.
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
About this book
Students complete a KWL chart showing what they know about the Holocaust, what they want to know, and what they learned. Through participation in literature circles, students will become more familiar with the causes and effects of the Holocaust. The recommended book: Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust by Allan Zullo and Mara Bovsun.
- Use brainstorming techniques
- Organize information
- Integrate and use information
- Read for literacy experience
- Participate in a literature circle
- Read a non-fiction book
- Analyze a book for its elements
- Discuss and take notes on what they have read
- Learn about the Holocaust
- Complete a KWL chart
- Classroom copies of Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust by Allan Zullo and Mara Bovsun
- Copies of Non-Fiction Literature Circle Response Sheet (PDF)
Set Up and Prepare
- Become familiar with the key events in Hitler's rise to power in 1933 through the collapse of the Nazi regime in 1945. Information regarding these events can be read in the, "Brief History of the Holocaust," available at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Website.
- Know vocabulary relating to the Holocaust: genocide, tolerance, persecution, concentration camp, Nazi, death camp, holocaust, resistance, and prejudice.
- Other helpful websites:
Step 1: Introduce the lesson by having students brainstorm what they know about the Holocaust. Ask the students if they have ever studied the Holocaust, the cause and effects of the Holocaust, and how to prevent a Holocaust in the future.
Step 2: Create a KWL chart on the board. Ask the students if they have used a KWL chart before and what it is used for.
Step 3: Guide the students through the KWL chart. Encourage students to discuss the KWL chart, first the "What I know about the Holocaust," second the "What I want to know about the Holocaust," and finally explain to the students that tomorrow they will be working in Literature Circles and reading the non-fiction book, Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust, by Allan Zullo and Mara Bovsun to complete the "What they learned" section of the KWL chart.
Step 1: Create Literature Circles of 4–5 students per team. The students will read together the non-fiction book, Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust.
Step 2: Distribute books to each literature circle.
Step 3: Read the introduction to the students on pages 1 through 4, Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust. This will give students background about Hitler and the Holocaust.
Step 4: Distribute one copy of the Non-Fiction Literature Circle Response Sheet (PDF) to each group. Explain to the class that in this book there are eight different true stories of children in the Holocaust — after they have read one story, they are to complete a response sheet, and so on. By the end of the book, each team should have eight response sheets filled out and ready to turn in. (Have a stack of response sheets available for when students need them.) Encourage students to use the response sheets to help complete the last section of the KWL chart.
Step 1: After completing the literature circle reading of the non-fiction book, guide students through the last section of the KWL chart.
Step 2: Engage students in a classroom discuss of the KWL chart. Encourage students to brainstorm ideas on how to prevent another Holocaust.
Supporting All Learners
Students having difficulty with this lesson will be given more time to read Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust and complete response sheet. ESL students may complete the KWL chart and response sheet in their language
Students take a skills test such as AR, SRC, etc over the non-fiction book to accumulate points towards their yearly goal.
Once the KWL charts are completed have the students take the chart home and have parents/guardians add more information and return to class for further discussion.
- Complete KWL chart.
- Read Survivor: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust.
- Brainstorm and discuss the Holocaust.
- Was the KWL chart helpful in organizing the Holocaust information?
- Did the students achieve the knowledge that you wanted them too?
- Did the students stay on task in the literature circles?
- Was three days long enough for the literature circle?
For assessment, use participation and completion of the KWL chart, participation in the literature circle, and completion of the Non-Fiction Literature Circle Response Sheet (PDF).