Contextualizing a Found Poem | Facing History & Ourselves
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Contextualizing a Found Poem

Students will apply the lessons they have learned about the intersecting histories of wartime North Africa and the Holocaust as they create an artifact that explains the context of the found poems they wrote in Lesson 3. 


At a Glance

assessment copy


English — US


  • History
  • Social Studies




One 50-min class period
  • The Holocaust
  • Resistance
  • Culture & Identity
  • Antisemitism


About This Assessment

In this summative assessment, students will apply the lessons they learned about the Holocaust and Jewish communities in wartime North Africa as they create an artifact that explains the context of the found poems they wrote in Lesson 3. While the poems have meaning on their own, their impact on someone outside of the class will be enhanced by understanding the context for the poem’s creation. This authentic task is designed to assess student learning while centering student agency.

In what ways do the experiences of Jews in pre-war and wartime North Africa provide a more complete story of World War II and the Holocaust?

  • Why is it important to engage with the history of the Holocaust and wartime North Africa?
  • How did the Nazis and their collaborators seek to deprive their victims of basic human dignity, and how did those targeted attempt to preserve or reclaim their dignity?

Students will convey their understanding of:

  • Students will convey their understanding of Pre-war Jewish life in North Africa.
  • Shifting realities for North African Jews associated with increasing antisemitism and the actions of the Nazis and their supporters. 
  • The ways in which people can make choices to affirm dignity in the face of oppression.

Preparing to Teach

A Note to Teachers

Before teaching this assessment, please review the following information to help guide your preparation process.

While the activities listed below are designed to introduce the project, students will likely need additional time either in or outside of class to finish the assignment. We encourage teachers to set further guidelines and deadlines for this project that meet the needs of their students. Consider designating a space in your classroom or school to display students’ completed work.

There are many ways for students to present the context for their found poems. Students can create digital content to engage an outside audience, or they can construct physical displays that can be shared in a gallery walk or presented at a student exhibition.

Depending on your students’ experience with project-based learning, you may need to offer additional scaffolding to help them brainstorm the components of the project, think about how to represent their artifacts to an outside audience, and manage their time. It is always helpful when the teacher provides a model for part of a project to help students visualize the goal. For example, you might create an artifact that conveys an aspect of pre-war Jewish life and do a think aloud to help students understand your process in coming up with it. Teachers can also scaffold this assignment by giving students the option of working with a partner. These steps can shorten the time it takes to complete the project and provide extra support to all students.

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Introduce the goals of the project in terms of creating scaffolding for the found poem that would help an outside audience understand its origins and significance. Before giving students independent work time to complete the project, you may want to start with a reflection on their learning from previous lessons. For example, you might ask students to write a reflection in their journals in response to these questions: 

  • What did you learn about the diversity of pre-war Jewish life in North Africa?
  • What antisemitic laws were passed in North Africa, and how did they impact Jews in the region?
  • What experiences of North African Jews in the camps did you learn about?

As a class, discuss ways to accomplish the goal of creating scaffolding for their found poems. This brainstorm activity opens possibilities for students to consider different formats they could use for their project (e.g., digital presentation, tri-fold poster board, etc.).

Share with students that they will create a presentation, in the format of their choice, of their learning as it relates to:

  • The map of the region and aspects of pre-war Jewish life.
  • Shifting realities for North African Jews associated with increasing antisemitism and the actions of the Nazis and their supporters. 
  • A summary of the specific story from which the words of the poem were drawn. 
  • Reflections on the theme students chose for their found poem.

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