BFA Poetry & Short Story Students Deepen Learning of the Holocaust

During a four-week unit, Fred Griffin’s students in his Poetry and Short Story class explored the complicated topic of the Holocaust. By researching primary resources, students gained a personal perspective of the pivotal events that took place during this significant historical event. Students then wrote original poems to reflect their understanding of their inquiries. Finally, students used digital tools to design an iMovie narrating their poems with digital images of the Holocaust.

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By adapting the instructional strategy to include multiple disciplines, including the integrated arts, Mr. Griffin provided the students with an opportunity to make relevant connections and develop a deeper awareness. The unit included students reading the book Night, by Elie Wiesel.  In this memoir, Wiesel shares his tragic experiences as a teenager in Nazi death camps. In addition to this literary piece, students also explored primary resources including accounts from Auschwitz survivors to gain insight of the impact of the Holocaust as well as music and art from Terezin.

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In addition to creating original works as means of their personal expression about the Holocaust, students also furthered their digital citizenship skills. In researching primary resources to include in their original works, students ensured to include proper citation of the images and music used.

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The powerful digital stories reflected the central issues of the Holocaust integrating the arts and music as well. Each video included the historically relevant soundtrack of Verdi’s Requiem, a funeral mass performed multiple times by prisoners at Terezín. Finally, students published their work and shared in order to receive peer feedback.

Target 1 – Proficiency-Based Personalized Learning. FWSU students and staff design and engage in proficiency-based personalized learning that integrates collaborative inquiry, problem solving, and creativity.

Action Step 1 – Design, model, and highlight innovative, personalized social and academic proficiency-based learning opportunities that promote collaborative inquiry, problem solving, and creativity for students and staff.

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