Teacher-Created Unit: People Make Choices, Choices Make History

Katherine G. from San Francisco wrote this 5-week unit for a 10th grade English class. The lessons were designed for high-achieving students, but they can be modified, refined, or reduced based on student level and time restrictions.

Through the lens of the Holocaust, students explore human relationships (how we see ourselves and others) and the impact of individual and collective choices towards building or destroying human rights and lives, which in turn shape history.

“The LDC model paired with Facing History material allowed me to revise a curricular unit with more pedagogical variety while exploring rich primary and secondary sources. The final writing assessment not only demonstrated what the students had learned throughout the unit, but it also gave the students the opportunity to create an argument with solid documentation and thoughtful analysis.”—Katherine G.

Katherine’s Performance Task

How Do Human Relationships Shape Individual and Collective Choice?

People make choices, choices make history. Using the Holocaust as the central subject, write an essay in which you argue one or two of the most important decisions that shaped this history. Use one of the following articles, as well as evidence we have studied during this unit, to support your claims.

This performance task is based on Task #5 for Argumentation/Evaluation found in Literacy Design Collaborative's LDC Template Task Collection 2.0.

Download Katherine’s Unit

You can download Katherine’s complete five-week unit here.

Get the LDC Template Task Collection 2.0

The Literacy Design Collaborative Template Task Collection 2.0 helps teachers craft tasks that engage students in writing in response to reading or research. When filled in, a template task becomes a teaching task that sets up a context for teaching the specific skills and demands embedded in the Common Core Anchor Standards.

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Facing History Resources That Katherine Used

Totally Unofficial: Raphael Lemkin and the Genocide Convention

Print book,

This resource challenges students to consider how individuals, groups, and nations can take up Raphael Lemkin’s challenge to eliminate genocide.


Holocaust and Human Behavior

Print book,

Get the new edition of our core resource that examines the challenging history of the Holocaust while prompting reflection on our world today.

Salvaged Pages

Class set

This collection of diaries written by young people during the Holocaust reflects a vast and diverse range of experiences, some being refugees, some hiding, and some being imprisoned in ghettos.


Class set

This work by Elie Wiesel reveals his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–45, at the height of the Holocaust.

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