This may require three class sessions, depending on the how well the classes can take notes and the amount of time used for spontaneous discussions that come from the students.
-to write as a means of exploring information
-to view issues of World War II from another perspective
-to set a purpose for reading
*This lesson purposes as both the background information and the pre-reading activity that will help prepare the students for reading
The Hiding Place
1. The students will be given The Holocaust sheet. (See Appendix B, Sample D.) They will be given 10-15 minutes to fill in everything they know about the Holocaust of World War II in the section titled, "What I know..."
2. They will be informed that they are about to view a video that has actual footage of the Holocaust phenomenon, and that they are to write any important information they learn in the section titled, "What I learned..."
4. They will then view the video, "The Rise and Fall of Hitler." I will periodically stop the video to clarify things that are said or subscripts that are difficult to catch. At these intervals, the students will be given time to write what they are learning. Also, this time will be used for discussion. When they have completed the viewing of "The Rise and Fall of Hitler," each student will share, with the class, one new fact he/she written.
1. They will also view the video, "The Criminal," that is part of the same 6 tape series on Hitler. These can be checked out at your local library or ordered for $99.95 from the History Channel's History Store at the same website and number listed previously.
2. When they are done reading the book, they will be shown the video "The Hiding Place," and once again fill in a Comparison/Contrast sheet in hopes that they realize how much better the actual literary piece is over the movie.
3. A culminating activity for this book will be to go to the Jewish Museum in New York City. The number is (212)-423-3200 and the website is webmaster jtsa.edu. Also, to have a Holocaust survivor visit our school to share his/her experience. This will require further research by calling local synagogues.
Synopsis of Poems Across the Pavement
Poems Across the Pavement
is a collection of non-fiction poetry written by Luis J. Rodriguez. Rodriquez grew up in Watts, LA. He was involved in gang activity, but would sneak away to the library to read poetry.
Poems Across the Pavement
, contains moving vignettes of his life and his observations of the lives of others. He worked as a journalist and was inspired to also write poetry about the struggles and conflicts he reported on.
One of my favorite poems is "Race Politics." This poem tells a story about Luis Rodriguez when he was six and his older brother was nine. They had decided to get the "good food" from the white section of Watts. They dared each other and decided that they were men who could go where ever they wanted. So off they went, two Mexican boys, crossing the tracks that divided the white and Mexican sections.
On their way back, they were jumped by five teenage boys on bikes. One held Luis down on the hot asphalt while the others beat his brother until he vomited. The reason why they were attacked was simply because they were Mexican Americans who were on the wrong side of the tracks. That day Luis' brother made him swear not to tell how he had cried.
The Power of This Book
I had never been interested in poetry until I had the privilege of hearing Mr. Rodriguez read poetry from this book to my fourth-grade class at Eugene Field Elementary in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That changed my attitude completely about poetry. What was even more amazing to me was the reaction of the students. These inner-city kids were mesmerized, asking for another reading as soon as Mr. Rodriguez finished a poem. I had never seen that kind of reaction from younger students toward serious poetry.
The majority of Eugene Field's population, at that time, was Mexican-American. The African-Americans made-up approximately 25% of the student population with a small percentage of Anglo children. Luis J. Rodriguez is Mexican-American, notwithstanding, he had a broad appeal that reached everyone in the school because he had experienced what many of them had, living where they did.
In much of his poetry, he uses Spanish words and phrases. At Roberto Clemente there is a high Latino population. I believe that these students will feel a sense of validation by experiencing Rodriguez' poetry. Maybe one of them will become inspired to be a poet. By the same token, the African-American students may be inspired as well to write poetry about experiences they have had that are similar to the author's.