Lesson One: Creating A Family Photograph Album Similar to Parts of Anne Franks Diary
In all of the books listed in my bibliography, there are pictures of Anne at different stages of her life, along with photographs of family, friends, and her surroundings. Their impact on the written words is great. Often Anne included these pictures in her diary that expanded well beyond the original red and white-checkered cloth covered thirteenth birthday present. Besides writing in notebooks, she even used accounting books and loose sheets of paper that she sometimes inserted to expand on material written previously. A photograph album survived along with the actual diary. With the pictures Anne included, she wrote explanations and reactions to their content. This resulted in each element complementing the other, with the reader receiving a deeper understanding of both.
These pictures and comments will be the focus of some related lessons in which students will develop an annotated family photograph album of their own.
Subject Matter Areas:
Language arts, photography, art, social development
deeper understanding of Anne Frank’s survival.
appreciation and understanding of the impact photographs and the written word can have on each other.
ability to select significant subject matter for a family photo album.
ability to write photo captions expressing feelings as well as facts.
ability to sequence material in a logical, meaningful manner.
stronger appreciation of family and the importance of its survival.
To begin, examples of where Anne included photographs will be shown, read, and discussed. “Why do you think Anne included pictures?” “Why did she write comments?” “What would be different if either the picture or the comment were not included?”
Students will then be asked to collect “family” pictures of their own with the aim of producing a family album. The project will be explained to parents/guardians, and they will be urged to purchase a disposable camera for their child’s use in capturing the present. Cameras will be provided for any who are unable to obtain one. (Some means of financing will be arranged.)
Before students collect their various pictures, we will discuss potential subjects: Family, friends, home, pets, surroundings, school, previous trips or fun times, and whatever seems significant to the student.
As the pictures are compiled, students will write comments for each. These comments should contain an explanation of the picture’s content along with the student’s personal reactions, much as they have seen Anne do. Naturally, the length and depth of these comments will vary depending of the picture and the particular student. In some cases, they might include comments parents, family, and/or friends may have made regarding the picture. Besides the individual satisfaction to be gained from this exercise, students will be developing the skill of including personal reactions in their writing, a skill that is constantly being focused upon in both narrative and expository writing.
A construction paper album with an oaktag cover will be assembled. The cover possibly will be covered with cloth as Anne’s diary was. Since our school has a simple machine for installing a plastic binding, we will use that to hold the album together, but ordinary fasteners should do the job well.
The pictures and comments will be arranged in a logical order, fastened into the album, shared with others, displayed, and brought home where hopefully each will become a lasting family treasure.
Lesson Two: Using Unit Content to Develop Degrees of Reading Power
Subject Matter Areas: Reading, Social Studies, Social Development
skill at using various context clues to identify unknown words and as a result develop greater reading power.
reinforce understanding of information related to the unit’s content.
The goal of developing independent readers is a primary objective of the elementary school. One means of achieving this goal is through an approach that teaches students to look for various clues within the context of the material being read as a means of recognizing and understanding unfamiliar words which the student may encounter. Besides teaching these techniques for unlocking unfamiliar words, this approach trains students to read more carefully, resulting in an overall improvement in comprehension. All New Haven elementary teachers are familiar with this program designed to increase pupils’ “degrees of reading power.”
There are a variety of materials available for use while working with students in such a program. Basically, these materials provide paragraphs where key words have been omitted. Students are asked to find the appropriate word from among four choices, all of which could “fit” within the sentence’s structure, but only one makes sense within the context of the larger piece. Students learn to explore the context before and after the missing word in order to find clues that will help in identifying the missing word. The important skills developed here are the procedures used to explore the context for clues and developing the ability to recognize and utilize these clues.
In this lesson plan, I provide an example by using material related to this unit’s content to create original worksheets that will be used to develop the skills discussed above. This sheet and others I will create will have the advantage of serving as reading instruction material as well as a source or review of information related to the unit. Its primary function, however, will be to improve the student’s reading ability. Initially, the procedure to follow will focus on the context that leads one to the appropriate missing word. Discussion relative to content will follow. It is best to use material with information that pupils have not yet encountered, since this will eliminate the use of previous knowledge to identify the word. If, however, this happens to be the case, the experience of finding the context clues that unlock the missing word is still of considerable value. The completed worksheets will be saved in a folder for future reference related to the unit’s content.
Here is a brief sample related to the survivors introduced in this unit.
Surviving Against the Odds
Read this paragraph carefully. Where there is a missing word, select the most appropriate word from those listed after the blank. Be ready to identify the clues that led to your selection. You may underline those words which helped you in making your choice.
Ruby Bridges, Ryan White, and Anne Frank are individuals who have ____1____(a. lost b. finished c. survived d. vanished) against tremendous ___2___(a. people b. odds c. accidents d. diseases) during much of their lifetime. They did not give up, though things were against them from the start. They each faced ___3___a. obstacles b. houses c. mirrors d. weather) which could easily have blocked people much older and seemingly better equipped to ___4___ (a. dance b. capture c. cope d. cooperate). In their own way, each was able to handle their particular situation. They all suffered from ___5___(a. diseases b. loneliness c. fear d. discrimination). Their race, religion, culture, or diseases were used as excuses to set them apart, but they were really not alone. Though, in ___6___ (a. varying b. frightening c. all d. no) ways, no two were exactly the same, family friends, community, and religion helped to ___7___(a. lose b. silence c. hide d. support) their courage, so that they could keep standing strong.
Lesson Three: Making a Survival Quilt
Subject Matter Areas: Art, Social Development, Research related to unit material
To construct a memorial quilt panel dedicated to each of the unit’s three survivors’
To research and select symbols appropriate to each survivor.
To develop an appropriate manner for presenting or displaying their Survival Quilt.
These related activities would start with the showing of clips from “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt.” This film vividly shows the development of the AIDS Memorial Quilt that was unveiled in Washington, D.C. and has traveled, at least in portions, all across the United States. Since AIDS is not the main focus of this unit, I will probably summarize most of the film’s beginning, leaving the dramatic unfurling of the quilt and the reading of victim names to be viewed and discussed by the group. We will talk about the quilt’s objectives. “How could the quilt help the victims, their families, their friends, and even us?” “How does the quilt relate to the survival stories we have read about Ruby Bridges, Ryan White, and Anne Frank?”
This discussion will lead to the creation of three quilt panels, one for each of our survivors. Students will suggest symbols for each panel: a dog for Ryan White, a white bow for Ruby Bridges, and a pen and diary for Anne Frank are only a few of the many possibilities. The choices will be drawn first and then transferred to appropriate material, which will be glued to a banner of sturdy material that will be hung from a dowel. Each banner will contain the appropriate survivor’s name, will be hung for display, and possibly be presented at a fourth grade culminating activity, if plans to collaborate follow through.