Students use digital technologies to personalize the stories of lesser-known Holocaust victims.
Most students know that millions of Jews were persecuted during World War II, but they may be unaware that other groups – those perceived to be political, religious or cultural threats to the Nazi regime – also were targeted.
Lesson Description: To augment the study of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel's book Night, this lesson asks students to research lesser-known victims of oppression during World War II and to present their findings in a digital format.
Students are divided into teams to research one of five less familiar targeted demographics: ethnic Poles, gays and lesbians, the physically disabled, Gypsies and Jehovah's Witnesses. Using print and online resources, team members write a script covering basic information about their chosen group and why its members were persecuted. Each student then creates a “character profile” of an individual from the targeted group – including information about that person's life before, during and after the Holocaust – to use in writing a detailed letter from the victim's perspective.
Digital voice recorders and facial animation software bring their words to life. Team scripts and individual letters are recorded and paired with students' hand drawings, resulting in a presentation in which an animated character tells the personal story of a Holocaust victim while teaching viewers about the minority group to which he or she belonged.
Subject Area: This lesson was created for a 10th-grade interdisciplinary unit on the Holocaust. The course is part of a Digital Media Studies program at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis that aims to increase digital literacy in urban classrooms.
Curriculum Standards: This lesson meets several academic standards established by the Minnesota Department of Education:
Grading Rubric: Students are evaluated on the overall quality of their: