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Sunday, July 10, 2016

How Elie Wiesel Impacted My Students

The loss of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, author of Night, will be felt throughout the teaching field. His writings have impacted many students. Night encouraged my seventh grade students to explore their inner selves and to think about history and its relationship to current events. Wiesel's story prompted critical thinking debates and discussions on compassion, empathy, history, and humanity.
Here's some of the projects my seventh grade students completed during their Holocaust unit:

ABC Holocaust Banner
Directions: Before beginning the Holocaust unit, bring in as many books and other resources as possible for students to browse through. Ask students to make a list of the alphabet. Find one word that begins with each letter of the alphabet that stands for or is related to the Holocaust. Decorate with symbols that portray the Holocaust.

Holocaust Poetry:
Directions: Have each student choose one chapter from the reading(s). Then, base the poetry topic on grade level concepts (subject, symbolism, theme, topic, etc...) from the text to write about. Be sure to introduce poetry structures beforehand.

Holocaust Wall  
(Our version of the Holocaust Wall from the Washington, D.C. museum)
Directions: Using blank white ceramic tiles (free from local hardware stores) or white paper squares (similar to below), have each student decorate the tile/paper with a symbol and caption that represents their interpretations of the Holocaust. This was a final project to end the unit. It was large and powerful when put together and placed in the school's hallway.

In addition, a Holocaust survivor came to speak at our school. He brought a trunk that a woman had lived in for two years during the Holocaust. It was an emotional presentation, but one I'm glad we experienced since there are few survivors left to tell their stories. 

Overall, the ELA unit was a huge success, and Elie Wiesel's Night was a great contribution. He will be greatly missed...

Want to teach ELA and history in a unique way? Use Educator Helper's historical coloring comic books with fun, interactive writing activities:

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 Click here to access ALL historical comic books!

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