A legacy of Jewish Culture a story from Poland and the Holocaust Lesson Plans-Application Project



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A Legacy of Jewish Culture

A Story from Poland and the Holocaust

Lesson Plans-Application Project

Family and Consumer Sciences – Grade Eight

My Media Project—Stereotypes

Writing Assignment / Labeled Illustration

A Tragic Act of Prejudice / A Precious Act of Love”

  1. Overview

  1. Topic: Storytelling/Pre-Holocaust Education

  2. Grade Level: Grade 8

  3. General Goals, Major Concepts, Values and Skills

  1. Daily Lesson Plans

  1. Objective

Students will learn more about their own family stories, the power of tradition through family history, how to express themselves through writing, and gain a greater appreciation of understanding, tolerance, and understanding groups of diverse people.

  1. Activities/Procedures

Introduction Overview

After an introduction to the Warsaw, Poland art installment called, “I Can Still See Their Faces” and listening to read aloud/read along stories, YouTube clips, and bits of feature length film clips, all in regard to teenagers and the Holocaust which took place in Poland 1939-1945, students will reflect upon and write a short, of a selected face in the exhibit.

After completion of this story, students will author a story from the recent or distant history of their own family. The title of the personal, second story will be either, “A Tragic Act of Prejudice” or “A Precious Act of Love”. They will attach a photograph or alternative illustration of the people in the story they prepare. Sharing the story with our class is optional. Students may choose to write and illustrate a second story.

This assignment may seem far too personal for a group of 14 year old students, but it follows a three week intensive unit involving Family and Friends, thus I can guarantee the emotional safety boundaries are in place, and they are ready for this jump in affective education.

Day Number 1

Students will be told they are going to witness a number of different styles and content areas of family stories. Soon they will be asked to think of and tell a story from their recent family history, or a story passed down through generations within their family. They will also know the story will be about tragity or love, or both.

Storytelling by Ellen Schiff, trained storyteller from Indianola, WA: Ellen will share stories about family relationships, all involving resolved hardship, and/or lessons or morals. Ellen will lead a class discussion in order to process and reflect upon her stories.

Day Number 2

Using a number of reading methods, parts of books about teens and the Nazi Holocaust in Poland will be presented. These stories from books will be chosen carefully to reflect the age and maturity of a fourteen year old child. A wide variety of pictorial, multimedia depictions of these stories will also be shared with students. Methods include: Silent Reading, Reading Aloud, groups of four acting out plot for another group, round robin, selected pieces shared with a partner, etc.



Day Number 3

Three to six minute long clips from YouTube, films, videos, TV, or feature length films will show parts of stories. This activity will last about 25 minutes.

Students will choose a picture from I Can Still See Their Faces (see photographs), writing a 15 minute free write about who they see in the selected picture.

Day Number 4

Reflection time, with guided imagery to help determine what students may like to write about. Note taking or drawing is encouraged, but not required.



Day Number 5

Rough Drafts, Student Edits, and Peer Edits allowed, but not required.

Continued writing, with provided personal family pictures, or take time to draw a picture (out of class). Some students may wish to provide an old photo, new photo, or other piece of art work first. Sharing Stories aloud will be encouraged but not required.

Stories are turned into the teacher.



  1. Student Evaluation

A completed story, with a completed Illustration

4 Part Rubric for Story, 4 Part Rubric for Illustration,

and 4 Part Rubric for Optional Oral Presentation. Rubric:

Incomplete—Meets Expectations—Exceeds Expectation—Outstanding



  1. Summary of Content

This short unit is a part of the larger unit on Stereotypes and Prejudice. During this time we will learn about the concept of the perpetuation of culture, through the skill of storytelling. Students will share a personal, family story involving a tragic act of prejudice or a precious act of love, or both.

  1. Supplemental Materials and Bibliography of Resource Books

  • Frank, Anne and Frank, Otto M. ed. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition. New York: Double Day Books, 1995. ISBN: 978-0-307-80753-3

  • Picoult, J. The Story Teller. New York: Atria Books,

February 26, 2013. ISBN: 1444766635

  • Tuval/Bernstein, Sara. The Seamstress. New York: Berkley Books, Putnam and Sons, October 1, 1997.

ISBN: 0-425-166309

  • Wiesel, Elie. Night. Bantam Books: New York, New York,

1960.

  • Yolen, Jane. Devil’s Arithmetic. New York: Puffin Books, 1998.

  • Guest Speaker: Expert Storyteller, Ellen Schiff of Islandwood-Bainbridge Island Education Center

  • Teacher’s films, photos, interviews, stories, and notes from Poland

  • Individual camera, copy of family photo(s), computers, art materials.

I Can Still See Their Faces is a 2011, permanent installment of art showing larger than life photographs of Jewish residents of cities of Warsaw and Krakow, Poland in the late 1930’s, just prior to the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto. One of the surviving buildings of the era, a currently populated tenement building is the backdrop of the photographic images. Here is an explanation from the website:

The Holocaust and the subsequent destruction of Warsaw in WWII erased virtually all remnants of the bustling pre-war Jewish community’s presence in the city, but there is one place where it is still possible to sense this lost age. There are two rows of dilapidated tenement houses dating from 1880-1900 on ul. Próżna (B-3) showing what Warsaw must have looked like, and adding to this is a series of giant photos hanging outside the tenement on ul. Próżna 14 that depict members of the disappeared Jewish community. These photos are there thanks to a project called ‘I ciągle widzę ich twarze’ (I Can Still See Their Faces) which was created by Gołda Tencer, a Polish actress with Jewish origins who is the founder and director of the Shalom Foundation. In 1994 she appealed to people to send in photographs of Polish Jews so that an exhibition could be created commemorating those who died. The incredible response netted over 9,000 photographs, some from survivors and their families, some from Polish neighbours or friends of those killed. Then in 2008 the ‘I can still see their faces exhibition’ was mounted in ul. Próżna as part of the commemorations of the 65th anniversary of the Ghetto Uprising. The effect is quite stunning, particularly when you consider this street was once bustling with life, full of traders, stores and Jewish families. Located in the heart of a now modern city, this really is a place worth a moment of your time, especially now that the major renovations to the street have been completed.

The installation goes without explanation, but you may find more information about it at:



http://www.inyourpocket.com/poland/warsaw/sightseeing/jewishwarsaw/I-Can-Still-See-Their-Faces_71060v

















Poland Holocaust History-What Can We Learn?





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