Portraits of Resilience
Rosa International Middle School

In this unit, students use literary sources to come to a deeper understanding of human resilience and the importance of tolerance in society.

  • Pre-reading:
    Upon completion, the students will understand how cultural stereotypes were used to justify mistreatment of citizens.
  • During Reading:
    Upon completion, the students will understand the dangers of hate and extremism.
  • Post Reading:                                                                                                           Upon completion, students will understand the importance of empathy and tolerance.
Novels:
  • Night
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  • Farewell to Manzanar
  • Milkweed

Supplemental Reading Resources:
  • First They Killed My Father
  • Holocaust Survivors of South Jersey
  • Anatomy of a Ghetto
  • The Story of Blima
  • From the Carpathian Mountains to the New Jersey Shore
  • Margit
  • I Never Saw Another Butterfly

 

 

Various Media:
  • One Survivor Remembers - video of Gerda Weissmann and her experiences through the Holocaust
  • Elie Weisel interview with Oprah Video
  • The Shadow of Hate
Lesson One: Shadow of Hate

  1. Upon completion of this pre-reading activity, students will understand how cultural stereotypes were used to justify mistreatment of citizens.
  2. Assign students to work in small groups or with a partner to answer the Essential Question: What is the impact of stereotyping on American culture?
  3. Have students select one of the following groups of Americans who have experienced stereotyping.
    Native Americans
    African Americans
    Japanese Americans
    Chinese Americans
    Women
    Mexican Americans
    European Americans
    Arab Americans
  4. Students will research their chosen group and gather information regarding their experiences with stereotyping in America.
    Primary Sources - 2 required
    Secondary Source - 1 required
  5. Students will then create a “Living Document” which illustrates the plight of the Americans they studied.
  6. Evaluate student research by having each complete a “Research Worksheet.”


Lesson Two: Night by Elie Weisel

  1. Upon completion of this reading activity, the students will understand the dangers of hate and extremism. Essential Question: What is the impact of hate on a culture?
  2. Use available resources to give students a brief historical background of the Holocaust over 1 – 2 class periods. (Examples of resources include: “One Survivor Remembers” timeline of the Holocaust 1933-1945, “An Intro to the Holocaust” A brief lesson in history, Oprah Winfrey interview with Elie Weisel)
  3. Students will read and discuss the novel Night. In 2 weeks all reading can be done in class with reflective writing completed for homework.
  4. Upon completion of the reading, students will complete the following culminating poetry activity that will enable students to understand the impact of the Holocaust on children. In this activity, students will produce a visual and poetic expression of the themes of Night. Their poetry should meet the following criteria.
    • To reflect a deep understanding of the important themes of Night
    • To write 3 poems which reflects these themes.
    • Each poem should be 8th grade appropriate. (length, content)
    • Artistic expression should be creative, thoughtful, and stylistic.
    o Did I use figurative language? Simile, Metaphor…
    o Did I incorporate language that is rich and varied?
  5. Possible extension: Read “Family Album” by Amos Neufeld and make connections to Night.


Lesson Three: Community Activity

  1. Upon completion of a post-reading community activity, students will understand the importance of empathy and tolerance. Essential Question: What role does tolerance play in the elimination of hate in our society?


Plan an activity with and for your students and the community to participate in that enables the students to display their work and put their new understandings into practice or action. Consider the following examples of activities held at Rosa.
Collect student handouts and responses and assess.