World War II: Anne Frank

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SWBAT explain how Anne Frank's diary entries shows her personality and decision-making during the Holocaust.

Big Idea

Remaining undercover: Hiding who I really am from the Nazis

Warm-Up: Journaling

10 minutes

Have you ever hid from someone to only discover that the real person you were hiding from was yourself? Anne Frank experiences this as a Jew living during the times of the Holocaust. As students enter the classroom, they see the following prompt

Have you ever TAKEN a RISK to gain FREEDOM? Describe a moment in your life that you considered or took a risk.

Students are asked to respond to these questions in thier notebooks. Because we are getting into a topic that is sensitive for some, I wait to read students' responses at the end of class. Listen to my video to hear what two students wrote during this time.

Building Knowledge: A Clip of Anne's Life

7 minutes

Who really was Anne Frank? Students will begin to uncover the traits of this young woman by watching a video clip of her life. As students watch the clip, they will record character traits about Anne in their notebooks. As the video plays, I will start a list of textual evidence that students could use to justify traits about Anne Frank.

My list on the whiteboard included

  • Jews being outlawed by the Nazis and Hitler
  • Escaping to have a new life
  • Having to hid in quiet
  • Keeping family traditions by holding celebrations
  • Being overtaken by the emotions of strength, love, fear, and danger


From the examples I placed on the board, students can describe personality traits of Anne. 

Independent Practice: Words from a Diary

25 minutes

Now that students have heard about the life of Anne Frank, they will get into her mind by reading excerpts of her diary. While my students have heard of Anne Frank in history classes, how many of them truly understand what it means to be in "hiding." As students read each entry, they will answer questions that allow them to put themselves in Anne's shoes and respond to her thoughts through words of comfort. To aid students with this process, I developed the questions by the big idea of each entry so students could tell Anne exactly what she was questioning while living ONLY on the inside of the MADNESS.

Students have to put themselves in Anne's shoes to imagine how their lives would be if they had to go into hiding. Requiring students to respond to Anne's thoughts will incorporate some emotions in what truly is going on during the Holocaust. While looking at things from a different perspective can be HARD, view a students' response to the Anne Frank questions to see what was developed during this time of the lesson.

Exit Ticket: Visual Representations

7 minutes

To end this lesson, students will draw how they thought Anne's diary looked. While we are focusing more on the contents of the diary, it is always nice to throw some creativity in the MIX. I will not be surprised if diaries look attractive. I am sure that students will miss relying on the mood of the time period to create a diary cover. See a student's drawing of Anne Frank's diary to see a marvelous masterpiece placed in her notebook!