High School Curriculum Ideas

Traditionally, high school students revisit studies in the Holocaust, either during 9th or 10th grade, when they read Elie Wiesel’s Night. If they read about Anne Frank in middle school, they may have studied some aspect of the Holocaust.  However, if they did not, it behooves teachers to provide the same cultural and historical context for students before, during and after reading Night.  Some suggestions are similar to those teaching The Diary of Anne Frank. In addition, teachers should consider:

  • Accessing IWitness to teach about Auschwitz as a pre-reading activity using the activities “Arrival at Auschwitz-Images and Individual Experiences” and “Auschwitz-Inner Strength, Outward Resistance.” These activities will provide students with a historical context, as well as allow them to visualize Elie Wiesel’s experience in the camps.
  • Broaden your students’ understanding of the Holocaust by using film as a teaching tool in your classroom. There are a number of excellent documentaries that will provide your students with a sense of what the Holocaust was and how the Nazis perpetrated the Final Solution.
  • Read additional texts to give students different perspectives of individual experiences. Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust, by Alexandra Zapruder, and the diary of Dawid Sierakowiak (which can be found in Yad Vashem’s curriculum Echoes and Reflections, are invaluable resources.
  • Poetry, art and photography are other forms of text to expand your students’ experiences of learning. Certainly consider using I Never Saw Another Butterfly, or To Tell the Story: Poems of the Holocaust by Yala Korwin focus on the different experiences of children and adults.  Artwork or photography that captures the images of the Holocaust help students to visualize those experiences.  Having your students also compose their own poetry reinforces their own feelings about learning about the Holocaust.
  • If you are a history educator teaching American History (usually 10th or 11th grade), introduce your students to the role of America during the Holocaust. The USHMM is just one resource that provides a comprehensive explanation of how little America did to help in an effort to save the Jewish people of Europe from the Nazis.

These are just a few ideas we can offer to educators.  There are so many ways you can build your own curriculum or unit based on the extensive resources available to you on our web site, as well as the web sites we recommend that you access.

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