General Ideas for Secondary History Lessons
By: Hannah Jakobsen
Preparation for examining testimony:
Prepare a glossary sheet containing words appropriate to the particular testimony you intend pupils to examine. It can contain general words associated with the holocaust that pupils may not yet have encountered, but should also include new words specific to the testimony pupils will be examining. This will allow pupils to access the information in the testimony more easily.
You could use the definitions pupils create later on when creating mind-maps (or other activities) of individual survivors and their experiences as a way to individualise different experiences of the holocaust.
Examining testimony- ideas for approaching and dealing with testimony:
- Create large A3 mind maps for pupils with either a survivor photograph, or their name, in the middle.
- Before examining testimony pupils can add the questions they would like to find the answers to through reading the testimony, whilst reading they can add the answers to their questions (if they find them), they can also add details/information about the survivor experience, can also add new words they come across along with further questions raised by examining testimony.
For younger pupils you could create a question writing frame for them to complete whilst reading the testimony.
Prepare questions for pupils to find the answers to whilst examining the testimony.
Using the information in the testimony pupils could find images/photographs to create a photo story to document their experiences.
Pupils have to create “stones” of the important parts of their journey.
Group Research task:
Split a class into small groups. Each group can examine a different testimony. Once they have completed their examination/ research, create new groups containing at least one member of each original group. Pupils can then share their findings with the rest of their group, teaching them about the experience of their survivor.
(could allow pupils to see how individual survivors’ experiences fit into the larger historical context of the period)
Before examining survivor testimony, pupils should create a large class timeline detailing significant events from 1933-45 detailing Nazi persecution of the Jews of Europe.
Split the class into small groups. Each group has a different survivor testimony to examine. Give each group small note cards (each group should have a different colour of note cards).
As each group examines their survivor testimony, they should note down important events they experienced, or important events they experiences, essentially building a timeline of their life. Once groups have finished recording the important events onto their note cards, they can be placed onto the class timeline. (Before the groups add their note cards to the class timeline, an additional activity may be to give the pupils time to carry out further research regarding the events experienced by their survivor. They could use this additional research, along with the information they gathered from examining the testimony, to create a presentation to give to the rest of the class about their survivor. After the class has watched the presentations, cards can be added to the class timeline.) Pupils should examine the timeline. They will be able to see where survivors have experienced similar and different experiences. They will also be able to place into context the survivors experience as they will be able to see what events where taking place at the same time. An alternative would be to create a map. You could have a large map where you can use the information in the testimonies to create a timeline of the journey of a particular survivor(s). Information discovered through additional research tasks can be added to the map. Additional research: It may well be that in the process of reading the survivor testimony pupils have a number of questions they would like to find the answers to, or may want to carry out some additional research. This in itself could be a task.
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