Paired Text Introduction to the Holocaust Part 2

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SWBAT analyze the impact of word choice on meaning.

Big Idea

Little things, big impact -shoes or words.

Warm Up

15 minutes

Today is Free Read Friday.  (The link here takes will take you to an earlier lesson with my reflection explaining Free Read Friday.) Students will read their personal library books for the first 15 minutes of class.


30 minutes

I will open class by telling students about my visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC last year. I have a few pictures to share, but will focus on something I didn't get to take a picture of as it was not permitted -the shoe room.  This is the room visitors walk through with piles of shoes to the left and right.  Each shoe belonged to a victim, and it is overwhelming.  However, I am certain I will not be able to relay the enormity of that room to students.  So, I will share the following video to help them see.


After viewing the video, I will share another piece from Scholastic Scope's April 2011 issue (we used this magazine yesterday), "A Wagon of Shoes".  If you do not have access to this particular magazine, the poem and information about the poet can be found here .

After reading the introductory material about the poet, I will read the poem aloud as students follow.

We will briefly discuss the author's use of questions to give life to the shoes and make us think.  Then, I will ask students to look only at the picture of the shoes (this is beside the poem in the Scope Magazine, but there are many sources for a picture of the shoe room at the US Holocaust Museum that could be displayed if you do not have access). I will read the poem aloud again.

Next, I will ask students to take a handout from their caddy to help them analyze and discuss the poem at their tables.  I'll ask them to discuss the poem and answer the questions together.  I'll also challenge them to take the analysis to the next level by focusing on word choice by noting unfamiliar words, figurative language, etc. and questioning why the author chose those words and images to portray.

We'll review their findings with class discussion of the poem after ample time has passed.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

To wrap up class, students will respond in their journal to both the poem and the article from class yesterday "Fighting Hitler".

Abraham Sutzkever's said "As long as I was writing, I would have a weapon against death."

Chose a few phrases or sentences that stood out to you in the poem and explain how you think words could be a "weapon against death." How were Abraham Sutzkever and Ben Kamm alike?

As there is not enough time remaining in class, I will ask students to complete the entry at home and share their thoughts on Edmodo where I have posted the question.