Students will read two sources and engage in a Word Wall activity that creates a place in the classroom where students display the meanings of important ideas using words and pictures. As students encounter new vocabulary in a text or video, creating a word wall offers one way to help them comprehend and interpret ideas in the text. Select a place in the room for your word wall. Large sheets of poster paper or a dedicated whiteboard work well.
- Before students begin reading the following text, assign them to work in pairs and define the term “dignity” for the class word wall. You can also require students to present an image or graphic that represents the meaning of this word.
- New terms can be added to the word wall as needed. Students can also update the definitions on their own word walls as they develop a deeper understanding of key terms.
There are two primary source texts that convey different aspects of the struggle for dignity.
Instruct students to silently read “An Algerian Muslim’s Memories of Internment (1940–1943)”, underlining words or phrases that stand out to them and writing question marks next to any words or ideas they don’t understand.
After students have completed the reading:
- Review students’ questions, and ask them to share words or phrases that stood out to them. Then ask: what feelings came up while reading this text?
- Return to the word wall and ask how the text connects to their understanding of human dignity and what it means to strive to preserve or reclaim that dignity. Add any new ideas to the wall.
Before going on to read the second text, share the fact that it takes place in Europe and focuses on experiences at Auschwitz. It is important to recognize that there were North African Jews in the camps in Europe. Some of them were sent to camps from North Africa and some were living in Europe during the Holocaust and were sent to camps when they were caught by the Nazis. The latter is the case in this reading.
After providing historical context, read the following text aloud: “A ’Total Violation of Human Dignity’ Girlhood Interrupted in Auschwitz (1944)”. Instruct students to listen and write down ideas or phrases that stand out to them.
Then, ask students: What feelings come up as you listen to this testimony?
Return to the word wall and revisit the words and images related to human dignity. Then ask students to complete the following Connect, Extend, Challenge activity as an exit card: How do the testimonies we read today connect, extend, or challenge our definition of human dignity on the word wall?