Students will enter the room and find a photograph on the SMART board of me with Mr. Fred Gross. Students will immediately ask who is that with you?, etc.
To open class, I will tell them the story of the photograph -Well, part of it. (Side Note - I met Mr. Gross at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum while I was in DC as Kentucky Teacher of the Year for Washington Recognition week. To my surprise Mr. Gross also lives in Kentucky.)
Then, students will complete a journal entry in response to the question -
"If you were in my shoes that day and you met Mr. Gross, a Holocaust survivor, what would you say to him? What, if any, questions would you ask?
After student have had time to write, I will ask them to share their response at their table, and we will discuss some of the most popular responses and questions.
Then, I will let the cat out of the bag and tell students (to quote Paul Harvey) "the rest of the story..." including that Mr. Gross is coming here to meet them. I will distribute the parent letter (included in resources) and a pamphlet from Mr. Gross.
Next I will ask students to take a copy of the book One Step Ahead of Hitler by Fred Gross from their caddy. I'll ask students to look at the boy on the cover and tell me who they think it is. Of course, they'll say Mr. Gross. So, we can conclude that the book is about him.
I will explain that in order to prepare for his visit we are going to read his book to learn more about his story. We will start with the Preface. I will read it aloud.
The preface beautifully sets the stage for the story and it's purpose - that the stories of the Holocaust not be lost. As Mr. Gross says, "soon it will come from your memory too". I'll discuss this idea with my students.
After reading and discussing the Preface, I will explain to students that they will each be reading a different section of the book to prepare for a Reading Circle meeting on Wednesday (day after tomorrow). I'll ask them to take a Reading Circle Sheet from the caddy, and ask them to record the section they are responsible for as I call out who is reading which chapters.
Any remaining time will be to allow students to begin their reading.
*Note -my students are familiar with the use if reading circles. Our entire first nine weeks involved a reading circle study of a book. If your students aren't you will want to plan accordingly.
Wrap up time is spent allowing students to "debrief" independently - collecting and/or completing their thoughts on their Reading Circle sheets. We will also discuss questions or concerns before class is dismissed.