Finding Cultural Identity in History: Voices from the Past

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SWBAT gather relevant information abut the Holocaust by listening to a radio broadcast about Miep Gies, and pre-viewing the book for visual clues about content.

Big Idea

Students engage in living history through listening to digital recordings and interviews.

Let's Get Started: Culture Wheel Presentations

30 minutes

Today is the second to the last day of presentations!! The purpose of the culture wheel is for students to identify the five most important aspects of their culture and use five artifacts to demonstrate how each aspect of culture impacts their lives. Students show a logical connection between each aspect of their culture so their audience can see the relationship between their choices and their individual identities (CCSS SL 9-10 4). The students take notes on their peers' presentations. Once the presentations are finished, the students will write an in-class essay about what they have learned about their peers. 

Five students will present their culture wheel from the prior unit. After they finish the presentation, I ask students to share what they learned about their classmates. This presentation talks about relationships.


Building Knowledge: Who is Miep Gies?

20 minutes

After the presentations, I double check to make sure that everyone has the vocabulary from yesterday's intro to Maus and the Holocaust. This lesson should have been completed yesterday, however the computer issues prolonged the vocabulary section of the introduction.  Today's goal no computer chaos.  I verify that everyone has the vocabulary from the last lesson.  Now, the class can move from vocabulary relating to Maus to background on the Holocaust.  #feeling positive

First thing I ask...what are some types of nonfiction narratives we read? Answers, biography, autobiography, and memoir...

So, why are we so fascinated by the stories of the past (especially those who suffer great tragedy)?

I want students to begin to access their prior knowledge about the Holocaust and begin to consider why it is important to remember historical events.  I guide them based on their answers to consider our connection to pervious generations and how we honor the dead and reviver the survivors.  Many students have grandparents who are Vietnam vets so I suspect that they will talk about how it is a touchy subject.  Some students also have parents/relatives who are serving or have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Next, I ask my students to write down everything they know about The Holocaust in order to assess prior knowledge.  The majority of my students will most likely have read either the play version of The Diary of Anne Frank or Night.  And most of them will have most likely seen the film, The Boy with the Striped Pajamas.  As a result, I expect most of them to base their Holocaust knowledge on these sources.  

We will then discuss the diversity of victims of the Holocaust.  I will ask the students why these people were singled out by the Nazis.  Finally, I remind them that during this unit even though the characters are mice, pigs, and cats in Maus, in actuality, we are reading about real people.  With that in mind, I request that my students not to make light of these experiences.

Then, I tell my students that all these individual narratives make up the larger Holocaust narrative when I present to them the intro to Maus and the Holocaust 2 powerpoint. 

Now, the class is ready for specifics.  Relying on their prior knowledge of Anne Frank, I ask them, "Who is Meip Gies?"  A few of them may identify her as the person who helped the Frank family.

I tell them we are going to listen to a news broadcast about Meip Gies. By listening to this report, students integrate an audio media source into their understanding of the Anne Frank narrative (SL.9-10.3). Students have to listen and respond to the following questions.

•What motivated her to help the Franks and the other families in the attic?
•What is Miep Gies’ legacy (contribution to the narrative of the Holocaust)?
•Identify a fact that interested you.
Students have to apply their prior knowledge of The Diary of Anne Frank and this radio interview of Meip Gies to analyze how her personal experiences during the Holocaust is presented in different mediums (RL 9-10. 7). 


Building Knowledge: Visual Pre-View of Maus

30 minutes

After discussing their responses to the radio broadcast, we move onto the book.  I pass out copies of Maus by Art Spiegleman.  I ask them to consider the  Cliché:  A picture is worth a 1000 words.  I call on a few students to share their ideas.  

Next, I ask them to work in pairs to respond the following questions (SL 9-10. 1):

•1. Visual  survey:  what types of images are included in the novel?
•2.  The ability to understand and reason sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.  Why do you think Spiegleman uses cats, mice and pigs to represent people in his graphic novel?
•3.  The comic genre is the popular culture domain of the hero-construction and/or morality plays.  Why would Spiegelman use this  genre to recount a personal history that explores human identities void of morality?
If their computers are up and running, they write their answers on the their Edmodo assignment in their backpack.  If not, they have to hand-write the answers.  

 The graphic novel Maus serves as the print balance to the digital sources the students used to define vocabulary and listen to the radio piece of Meip Gies.  Students have to put all the information together to establish their common reference points for our discussions of Maus and the Holocaust (W 9-10 8).  

Closing: Book Check Out

15 minutes

In the last 15 minutes of class. The student sign out copies of the book or go to the school library to check out copies because I don't have enough copies in the room.  Their homework is to read chapter 1 and complete the study questions.