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Who Was Responsible for the Holocaust? (Common Core Aligned)

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Who Was Responsible for the Holocaust? (Common Core Aligned)
Who Was Responsible for the Holocaust? (Common Core Aligned)
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PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Who Was Responsible for the Holocaust?
Common Core Aligned

Description:

This critical-thinking activity asks students to determine who was responsible for the Holocaust and to what extent they are guilty of crimes against humanity.

Students create a circle graph (or pie chart) in which they assign the person(s) responsible the percentage of responsibility they should bear for the Holocaust. Although students do not have to use every category, all percentages must add up to 100%.

Student choices include:

RED: Residents of Auschwitz and other towns near concentration camps who knew about the camps but did nothing to stop them.

BLUE: Minor Nazi soldiers who carried out the mass extermination orders without questioning their superiors.

GREEN: Hitler, the leader of the German nation who hated Jewish people and other “undesirables” and wanted them destroyed.

YELLOW: German citizens who voted for Hitler and the Nazi Party to revitalize their morale and their economically depressed country.

ORANGE: The Jewish people who did not attempt to escape.

PURPLE: Top SS officers who designed and executed the "final solution" for Hitler.

BROWN: Non-Jewish Europeans who turned against their fellow citizens for fear that they, too, would be imprisoned as Jewish sympathizers.

BLACK: Leaders of the Allied countries who saw evidence of the Holocaust, but initially refused to get involved or voice opposition to Hitler.

PINK: Churches of all denominations who remained silent and refused to intervene when confronted with evidence of the Holocaust.

GRAY: Yahweh, the God of the Jewish faith, who to many seemed absent and silent during this massive genocide.

The insights, sensitivity, compassion, and empathy students bring to your post-activity discussion will amaze you and make you feel secure in the capabilities of the next generation!

I have used this activity with huge success with eighth graders following our unit on "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "Night" by Elie Wiesel. Reminders that their work will be posted and should reflect their personal pride and respect for the topic at hand have always resulted in a thoughtful, meaningful display.

This 7-page product includes:
-Activity Sheet

-Learning Objectives, Teaching Tips, Common Core State Standards, Terms of Use

Differentiation:
-Integration of art
-Integration of math
-Hands-on, kinesthetic activity

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Literary Sherri
Total Pages
7
Answer Key
N/A
Teaching Duration
N/A

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14 ratings

Comments & Ratings

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On  July 26, 2013Victoria Leon (TpT Seller) said:
This is an amazing lesson which I'm sure begins an amazing class discussion. Your "Who Was Responsible for the Holocaust?" was the featured "Free Lesson of the Day" at "The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs."
Wishing you the best,
Vicky

http://thebestofteacherentrepreneurs.blogspot.com/2013/07/free-language-arts-lesson-free-who-was.html
On  July 26, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Victoria, thank you for your kind comments! And I did not realize this was featured as the "Free Lesson of the Day" . . . thanks for letting me know! That's fantastic! I'm so grateful! :)
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On  July 13, 2013,  Amber L C. said:
Love this idea and think it will be very successful in engaging my students in really thinking about personal responsibility and cultural diversity.
On  July 14, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Thanks for letting me know you'll be using it! my students have always been so thoughtful and meaningful with this activity -- I know you are going to love the results, especially if your discussuion leads to dialogue about personal responsibility and cultural diversity. By the way, because those were my directions, I always followed my Holocaust unit with a mini-unit on "Twelve Angry Men." The movie (with Jack Klugman) is still so relevant and generates powerful dialogue!

Have a GREAT year! :)
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On  June 20, 2013Meghan Mathis (TpT Seller) said:
Wow, this is an intense activity. I really am interested to see what my students do with it and the conversation and perhaps, debate, that it inspires in my classroom next year. Thanks!
On  June 21, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
You're welcome. Thank you for letting me know it is useful to you! My students have always been so thoughtful with this activity and they can really explain the thinking behind their choices, making it one of my favorite activities! I hope it will become one of your favorites, too!
Teachers Pay Teachers
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On  April 3, 2013Tracy Mendez (TpT Seller) said:
I know I will love this. I do however need some help. I have always taught 6th grade language arts, but am moving to 8th grade. In 6th and 7th the focus was more on reading. 8th it will be writing. I like teaching with books like The Devils Arithmetic because of the history that is also involved. I found you because I want to use The Giver when I start teaching 8th grade. Any other items on here I might find helpful?
On  April 4, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Absolutely! Thank you for asking about this . . . here are several products you will lenjoy using with 8th graders. Keep checking back, I have LOTS of novel studies to post in the weeks to come! You are going to love 8th grade!

“Night” Unit: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Night-by-Elie-Wiesel-Common-Core-Aligned

“The Diary of Anne Frank” Unit: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Diary-of-Anne-Frank-Common-Core-Aligned

“The Outsiders” Unit: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Outsiders-by-SE-Hinton-Unit-Plan-Common-Core-Aligned

Reading Response Journal for Literature Circles or Independent Reading Novels: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reading-Response-Journal-for-Literature-Circles-or-Independent-Reading-Novels

Here is a link to my store: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Sherri-Munger-tyler
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On  October 24, 2013I am Bullyproof Music (TpT Seller) said:
I just realized I'd forgotten to rate this lesson. I would give it ten stars if I could. Sherri, thank you for encouraging an entire new generation to not just think in black and white but rather explore all the shades of grey. You're awesome.
On  October 25, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Thank you for your thoughtful, meaningful feedback and for recognizing the importance of the metacognition and critical thinking components of this activity!

You (and your music) are a National Treasure!
Teachers Pay Teachers
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On  October 22, 2013Educating Everyone 4 Life (TpT Seller) said:
Wonderful product! Encourages critical thinking in the classroom. I appreciate you sharing this product with me! Thanks for all of your hard work. Julie
On  October 22, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Thank you, Julie! I appreciate your feedback and I'm so happy you recognize the critical thinking component of this product! I hope you're having a FABULUOUS 2013-14! :)
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On  October 22, 2013The Teaching Bank (TpT Seller) said:
What a wonderful and thought provoking activity! A+! I will be sharing this with my son's 8th grade teacher. Thank you so much for this fantastic free activity.
On  October 22, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Thank you! I'm so grateful that you recognize the critical thinking component of this activity, and so glad that you can share it with others! I'd be honored to have your son's 8th grade teacher use this activity!
Teachers Pay Teachers
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On  March 16, 2013Smart Apple (TpT Seller) said:
Awesome thanks
On  March 17, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
You're welcome . . . and thank you for ALL you do in the field!
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On  October 22, 2013Mr Jimmy (TpT Seller) said:
I have to admit, this product helped me learn a bit more about the holocaust. Thanks for the freebie!
On  October 22, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Thank you, Mr. Jimmy! This product is meant to instigate critical thinking and meaningful discussions amongst students. If it helped you, I know it will help them! I appreciate your feedback!
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On  June 21, 2013Stephen Meyer (TpT Seller) said:
Good Activity!
On  June 22, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Thanks, Stephen . . . so glad you appreciate this activity!
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On  October 29, 2013Page Protector Printables and More (TpT Seller) said:
Thank You Sherri for an in-depth lesson that encourages students to tackle difficult and complex subject matter with intelligence and deep thinking. I will be using this later in the year with my middle and high school students. I also am looking for some used copies of Night, so that we can begin reading it together. Your store is top-notch and your freebie one of the most in-depth I've ever seen offered here. Thank you.
On  October 29, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Thank you for your feedback and for recognizing the importance of the critical thinking component of this activity! I always tell my students, "The most important thoughts can be the most difficult to articulate." This activity fosters a concrete way for students to begin to express their own ideas -- I'm so happy that you understand and value that and will put this activity to good use with your students!
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On  October 27, 2013,  Inky  said:
Many thanks for this wonderful resource.
On  October 27, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
You're welcome -- thank you for understanding and appreciating the critical thinking component of this activity!
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On  October 22, 2013Yara Sea of Knowledge (TpT Seller) said:
Very useful and original! Thank you:)
On  October 22, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Thank you for your feedback -- I'm so grateful to know this will be useful to you and your students!
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On  April 4, 2014PerfettoWritingRoom (TpT Seller) said:
An important lesson in history, respect, diversity, and critical thinking. Thank you for sharing this with us Sherri - I'm downloading it NOW (that's how much I like this), and I'll use it next term. I know the students will learn so much from this.
Gina
On  April 4, 2014Literary Sherri answered:
Thank you for taking time to leave feedback. I'm so glad you appreciate this product. The thoughtful, meaningful discussions this prompts amongst students never fails to amaze me!
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On  October 28, 2013,  Buyer said:
I left a comment last week cautioning teachers against using this activity to teach about the Holocaust. This is after a teacher used it most inappropriately with an 8th grade class - in part because the directions are not specific enough on how to encourage critical thinking and class discussion. Students should NOT be selecting God and Jewish victims as partially responsible for the Holocaust and this is not clear in the activity. However, I notice (much to my dismay) that my previous comment was deleted. Sherri - please keep this comment posted and please revise the activity so that it can be used as intended. Thank you, Ilana Cone Kennedy, Director of Education, Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center.
On  October 29, 2013Literary Sherri answered:
Ilana, I have neither the power nor the ability to remove comments. TpT removed your comments and rating "on the grounds that they were subjectively based upon a philosophical indication that wasn't implied by [the] product itself."

You caution teachers "against using this activity to teach about the Holocaust." You clearly misunderstand this product. It is not a teaching tool, but an assessment tool to help students articulate their thoughts and ideas at the end of a unit. This product is not intended to teach anything, nor is it intended as a tool for teachers to censor or censure their students' thoughts and ideas.

Also, this product is not intended to teach educators "how to encourage critical thinking and class discussion." I am wholeheartedly confident that educators are well-prepared to encourage critical thinking and class discussions. I believe certified teachers have a good understanding of effective pedagogy and successful learning strategies. It is neither my intent nor my responsibility to use this product to teach teachers how to teach. I believe you do not give educators the credit they deserve -- they are vastly qualified to do their jobs well.

Your comment that "Students should NOT be selecting God and Jewish victims as partially responsible for the Holocaust" is your personal opinion and I am not beholden to agree with you nor to change my product to suit you and your ideologies. As stated in both the product and its description, I designed this activity as a culminating project to "Night" by Elie Wiesel. Not only does Elie address whether or not Jewish people bear any responsibility for their situation, a recurring theme throughout the entire book is his changing views of Yahweh during his horrific ordeal. He squarely places blame on Yahweh and I would be doing his book a great injustice if I ignored this theme and did not allow students to grapple with it and think critically about it. You see, I also give students far more credit than you give them. In over two decades in the classroom, I have learned that the insights, sensitivity, compassion, and empathy students bring to the table never cease to amaze me and make me feel secure in the capabilities of the next generation! I am proud to believe in my students and their abilities to think critically about tough issues and tackle difficult discussion topics with decency, dignity, kindness, and poise.

You ask me to revise MY product to accommodate YOUR ideologies. I ask you to consider the value of an open marketplace. This is MY product, based on over twenty years of experience and expertise teaching in real-world classrooms. If my product does not suit you, you are welcome not to use it. But I am more than happy to continue making it available as is as free resource for the thousands of caring, competent educators who choose to use it effectively and enthusiastically.


From "Night" by Elie Wiesel:

"Blessed be God's name? Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled. Because He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves? Because he kept six crematoria working day and night, including Sabbath and the Holy Days? Because in His great might, He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death? How could I say to Him: Blessed be Thou, Almighty, Master of the Universe, who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night, to watch as our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, end up in the furnaces? Praised be Thy Holy Name, for having chosen us to be slaughtered on Thine altar?"

"And I, the for­mer mys­tic, was think­ing: Yes, man is stronger, greater than God. When Adam and Eve de­ceived You, You chased them from par­adise. When You were dis­pleased by Noah’s generation, You brought down the Flood. When Sodom lost Your fa­vour, You caused the heav­ens to rain down fire and damnation. But look at these men whom You have be­trayed, al­low­ing them to be tortured, slaugh­tered, gassed, and burned, what do they do? They pray before You! They praise Your name!"

"Where is God now? . . . Where is He? Here He is -- He is hanging here on this gallows . . ."

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed....Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never."
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Who Was Responsible for the Holocaust? (Common Core Aligned)
Who Was Responsible for the Holocaust? (Common Core Aligned)