Reflection: Relevance Historical Social Commentary: Creating a Conceptual Understanding of Genre - Section 2: Primary Source Analysis


Every two years, my school participates in a GAPP (German American Partnership Program) exchange with the Ruperti Gymnasium school from a small town in Bavaria. I am lucky enough to be the female chaperone for this exchange, which means the a teacher from Germany lives with me for three weeks in the spring and I will go and live with her in June when we bring our students to Germany. 

The awkward thing about this exchange is that every time the German teachers and students are here, both our 10th and 11th grade English and Social Studies Core classes are typically studying WWII or the Cold War. We were about a week into the exchange today, and, as you can see in my lesson, we are smack dab in the beginning of our study of the Holocaust. 

The cool thing about this is that the German teachers were able to help us translate Gerlich's piece into English so we could do our activity today. The bad thing about this is that when there are German students in our classes, which there typically are, we have to make sure to help the American students to be respectful and sensitive with the questions or ideas they share. 

It has been really good for me to think about my own delivery of information about this time period, which Veronika, the German teacher I'm currently living with, has helped me to process. When we were in Bavaria two summers ago, we decided to take our American students to Dachau. We felt like it was an important historical learning experience for them to have. Veronika told me she felt uncomfortable with that decision. She said it is disappointing for her that Americans tend to think of WWII first whenever Germany is mentioned or studied. She pointed out that while it was a significant and defining historical event for her country, it was an event and in the 60+ years since this event, Germany has become a very different country. She said that she thinks it is important for Americans (both teachers and students) to remember this and to do our best to have a broader picture of German culture and history. 

Both she and Stefan, the other visiting teacher, were very happy to help us translate the social commentary we are using today as it provides a nice view of the many kinds of resistance that Hitler faced, particularly before it was so dangerous to resist him. Before reading and after reading this piece today, I spend some time recounting what Veronika and I have talked about in regards to this time period and our connections to Germany and asked the students to remember her perspective when interacting with the history and material we will be covering in the next week or so. 

  Visiting German Students and Teachers
  Relevance: Visiting German Students and Teachers
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Historical Social Commentary: Creating a Conceptual Understanding of Genre

Unit 15: Argument: Analyzing and Creating Social Commentary
Lesson 7 of 9

Objective: SWBAT analyze primary source documents for rhetorical purpose and strategy by reading and discussing WWII journalistic writing.

Big Idea: To place our study of social commentary back into the historical time period we are studying, we will spend time looking at primary sources that reveal the genre's purpose.

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fritz gerlich sonntag 1931
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