New Lesson Plan Available on the JMM’s Website!

A blog post by Museum Educator (and former JMM intern) Marisa Shultz! To read more posts from Marisa, click here.

New Lesson Plan Available on the JMM’s Website!

I have exciting news to share with you! Now available on our website are the teaching materials and lesson plan for the “What Americans Knew About Kristallnacht” lesson debuted at the 2019 Winter Teachers Institute.

This picture depicts teachers collaborating on an activity at our 2019 Winter Teachers Institute. Our Winter and Summer Teachers Institutes provide educators with the tools to help their students understand the Holocaust.

This lesson plan, designed for high school students, charges students to become historians, analyzing primary sources with the goal of answering: How did contemporaneous American newspapers cover Kristallnacht and ultimately, what did Americans know about Kristallnacht? Included on our website is a detailed lesson plan with a variety of activities that challenge students to use their prior knowledge, critical thinking, and investigative skills while providing them the support to help them succeed. Additionally, the lesson plan includes variations on the activities so that teachers can adapt this lesson to meet their students’ needs. The lesson plan ultimately provides a concluding activity which encourages students to synthesize multiple sources with the goal of understanding what Americans knew about Kristallnacht.

Also included on our website is the corresponding student packet. This packet helps students learn how to approach a primary source by scaffolding their reading with guided questions. The questions progress from the factual, such as “Where was the article published?” through the more difficult questions such as “What is the author’s attitude toward the subject?” Students will feel more confident interpreting primary sources after working with this scaffolding!

Finally, we have also included on our website a packet of twelve different primary sources from both local Maryland sources and larger national newspapers. Each primary source, from The New York Times to the Baltimore Afro-American reported on Kristallnacht in a variety of ways, and students will have the opportunity to examine the differences between them.

This picture depicts headlines from many of the articles included in the primary source packet including “Nazi Reprisals Believed Doom of Jewish Life” from The Baltimore Sun, “Observer Describes Wrecking of Jewish Shops in Berlin: Outbreak Declared Worst Anti-Semitic Demonstration Ever Seen in Reich” from The Evening Star and “No Regret Voiced: Goebbels Declares that the Nation Followed Its ‘Healthy Instincts’” from The New York Times. With this lesson plan, students will have the opportunity to analyze these articles and more to try and answer the question: what did Americans know about Kristallnacht?

Not a teacher but interested in how Life Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, and The Baltimore Jewish Times reported on Kristallnacht? Check out that primary source packet for excerpts from a variety of newspapers on the Eastern seaboard.

You can access all of these materials here listed under Maryland Jewish Life History Kits. While you are visiting the Education section of our website, please make sure to check out our educational programs for field trip ideas, our living history characters for classroom activities, and our upcoming teacher’s workshop, Summer Teachers Institute 2019: Women in the Holocaust!

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