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Holocaust Unit Rationale:

Holocaust unit objectives:

 Students will be exposed to humanity’s capability for harm through literature,

letters, poems, etc written by people who lived during the time of the Holocaust.
 Students will be exposed to writings about survival of culture in isolation,
survival of culture in suffering, and cultures different than their own.
 Students will understand that a high level of literacy is integral to understanding
the crimes of the past, and making sure they don’t repeat themselves.

Unit Questions:

 How can understanding the Holocaust and what went on make me a better global
 How does a high level of literacy make me a better global citizen?
 How can understanding the Holocaust help me understand the world, human
nature, and myself better?

Unit Goals:

 Students will increase their levels of emotional and linguistic literacy by

participating in letter writing (to current senators for current issues, and deceased
people who perished in the Holocaust), readings that challenge their literacy and
emotional intelligence (Man’s Search for Meaning, I Never Saw Another
Butterfly, The Diary of a Young Girl).
 Students will use the connections they make to past events to engage in social
literacy boosting activities, learning how to affect the present world in ways
beneficial for humanity.
 Students will take ownership in crafting a better, more global future through
understanding how to be more aware of warning signs that humanity is
descending to its lowest levels.
 Students will come away with greater cultural literacy.

Overarching Concept:

 Course texts will reflect the horror of the Holocaust, international texts that we’ve
read up to this point will have laid the groundwork for a deeper understanding
of cultures that students do not personally belong to, and students will then
engage in readings designed to boost empathy and understanding of cultural
clashes, what humanity is capable of, and the by-products of war.
 We will be closely examining the relationship between a high level of literacy,
and the fact that a high level of literacy is the “language of power.”

Unit Rationale:
It is impossible to see the patterns that lead to fascism and abuse of authority without a
proper understanding of how those things have arisen in the past. This unit is designed to help
students gain a deeper understanding of the things that they must fight against if they are to be
good “global citizens” in the globalized world that we are headed towards. Mental and physical
borders between countries are shrinking, cultures are merging together. It is up to each student to
make sure that they are prepared for this coming world, regardless of how they feel about it. Our
focus throughout this unit will be on understanding how one culture can try to erase another, and
then making sure that students know how to take steps in today’s world to make sure that history
doesn’t repeat itself. It is never valid to blame any one group of people for all the problems
facing a nation. It is simplistic and narrow minded to blame an individual (or any one group) for
the problems of an entire society. Now more than ever, we need rational thinkers who can apply
the crimes of the past to the warning signs of the present. Our focus this year leading up to the
Holocaust unit has been centered on cultural acceptance. This unit will show the dark side, what
happens when cultural acceptance and exchange are not prioritized.

In a social context, students will be asked to work together and collaborate constantly.
Discussing tough ideas and fleshing out who we are is not possible without actual discussion.
Students will be asked to embrace the mindsets of radical openness and forgiveness.

There will always be alternative texts offered if a student’s parents disagree, but the
discussions will require student presence. Students will not be allowed to remove themselves on
the basis of opinion, but all opinions will be heard and valued in class discussion. The future of
the world depends on it.

Standards: Eighth Grade Reading, Writing, and Communicating Standards

Standard 2: Reading for all purposes:

Concepts and skills students master:
1. Quality comprehension and interpretation of literary texts demand self-monitoring and
a. Use Key Ideas and Details to:
i. Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says
explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. (CCSS: RL.8.1)
ii. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the
course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an
objective summary of the text. (CCSS: RL.8.2)
iii. Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the
action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision. (CCSS: RL.8.3)
Relevance and Application:
1. On a daily basis, people are confronted with multiple points of view. Analyzing
viewpoints and perspectives will help them see both sides of an issue.

Standard 3: Writing and Composition:

Concepts and Skills Students Master:
2. Ideas and supporting details in informational and persuasive texts are organized for a
variety of audiences and purposes and evaluated for quality.
Students can:
a. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. (CCSS:
i. Develop texts that offer a comparison, show cause and effect, or support a point
ii. Write and justify a personal interpretation of literary or informational text that includes
a thesis, supporting details from the literature, and a conclusion
iii. Select and use appropriate rhetorical techniques (such as asking questions, using
humor, etc.) for a variety of purposes
iv. Use specific details and references to text or relevant citations to support focus or
judgment v. Use planning strategies to select and narrow topic
vi. Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or
opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically. (CCSS: W.8.1a)
vii. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate,
credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text. (CCSS: W.8.1b)

Inquiry Questions:
4. What types of words do authors use when they are trying to convince or persuade
others to do what they want?
5. When can an author’s influence or persuasion be dangerous? Helpful?


“CO State Standards .” CDE.state.co.us, 2018,