At a Glance
LanguageEnglish — US
DurationOne 50-min class period
- The Holocaust
- Human & Civil Rights
About this Assessment
Before introducing the final historical topic for the essay, the Holocaust and its legacy, now is an appropriate time for students to review the documents and videos from Lessons 15 to 19 and consider which information supports, expands, or challenges their thinking about the unit assessment prompt: How can learning about the choices people made during past episodes of injustice, mass violence, or genocide help guide our choices today? The following activities can stand alone or be taught together, depending on the needs of your students at this point in the essay process.
How can learning about the choices people made during past episodes of injustice, mass violence, or genocide help guide our choices today?
This assessment includes:
- 4 activities
- 2 teaching strategy
- Facilitate a class discussion in which students suggest documents or videos from Lessons 15 to 19 that help them address the essay prompt. Remind them that they learned about the power of propaganda, youth in Nazi Germany, Kristallnacht, and Hitler’s ideology of “race and space.” Write the list on the board as students share their ideas.
- Use the Learn to Listen, Listen to Learn discussion strategy so students can build on each other’s ideas as they consider how what they have learned in recent lessons impacts their thinking about the essay prompt. Start by having students reflect in their journals on the following questions:
- Which choices made by individuals, groups, and nations in Lessons 15 through 19 seemed most significant?
- What made those choices powerful or impactful?
- Before they write, give students a few minutes to review their journal entries from Lessons 15 through 19. Encourage them to look for specific details and examples of choices people made to include in their new journal responses to these questions.
- Next, divide students into groups of four or five and explain the Learn to Listen, Listen to Learn strategy. Each student will have the opportunity to share part of his or her journal reflection with the rest of the group. It is helpful to provide a time limit for each student’s sharing. The other group members will practice listening without interrupting the speaker. When it is their turn to share, tell students to refrain from responding to other students’ ideas; they should focus only on sharing their own thoughts and reflections from their journals. Encourage students to take notes from each other and record ideas or evidence that supports or challenges their ideas.
- After all group members have shared, each group will have an open conversation in which they ask each other questions and respond to each other’s ideas. They should decide on three or four main ideas from their discussion that they will share with the whole group.
- Then ask each group to report to the entire class on the main ideas from their conversation.
- Finish the activity by giving students a few minutes to return to their journals and write down any ideas they heard from their classmates that contributed to or changed their thinking about the impact and power of people’s choices in history and today.
Students should add to their evidence logs any information from Lessons 15 to 19 that helps them answer the essay question: How can learning about the choices people made during past episodes of injustice, mass violence, or genocide help guide our choices today?
- If you have noticed students struggling with annotation or paraphrasing, review those skills with one or more of the readings from this section of the unit before asking them to add new information to their evidence logs.
- If you have observed that students are writing every piece of evidence rather than the most relevant ones on their evidence logs, you could create a mini-lesson in which you give students a mock thesis statement (it could be for a different topic question) and a list of ten pieces of evidence. Ask students to label the evidence “R” for relevant and “I” for irrelevant, explaining their choices. Or you could ask students to rank the evidence in a ladder from most to least relevant and justify their choices in small groups and then to the class.
- Project the full unit assessment prompt (introductory paragraph and question) and have students review their ideas from the Dissecting the Prompt activity in Step 1: Introducing and Dissecting the Prompt.
- Then, in a journal response or on exit cards, ask students to respond to the following questions:
- What new, different, or deeper understanding do you have about how examining the choices people made in the past can help guide how we respond to injustice, mass violence, and genocide in our communities and in the world today?
- What do you feel you need to review or to learn more about in order to answer the writing prompt and write your essay?
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