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AN OUTLINE SUMMARY OF SEVEN ELEMENTS FOR TEACHING

                   "SCHINDLER'S LIST"

                            Shel...
LITERARY TERMS:

As we read the book, I introduced several literary terms that I felt were
appropriate for understanding t...
the rest of the class. Then I typed up a page with their work for the log. If the
student participated, he got 5% in the f...
the class what these items were and how I could somehow make order out of
them.

Right away the students said to put them ...
3. I told the class I wanted to summarize the whole story. This is called
      SYNTHESIS. It brings everything we read al...
Task: Do the "Reflections" task by answering the three questions. The work
is handed in and I give some kind of reaction t...
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Applying Thinking Skills When Teaching a Novel

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Applying Thinking Skills When Teaching a Novel

  1. 1. AN OUTLINE SUMMARY OF SEVEN ELEMENTS FOR TEACHING "SCHINDLER'S LIST" Shelly Ganiel, Yeshiva Tichonit Hispin 1. PRE-READING: We had a class discussion about WWII in Europe and the Holocaust. I spoke to the History teacher beforehand and he had prepared a lesson on this so that the students were quite knowledgeable about the topic and we were able to have a good discussion. We ended with talking about those "righteous Gentiles" who helped Jews like Wallenberg and the Japanese Diplomat. Objective: This was to introduce the class to the book about Oscar Schindler and how he, as a German, helped the Jews in WWII. 2/3. BASIC UNDERSTANDING (LOTS) AND WHILE READING: (Vocabulary and Basic Questions of Understanding) Deductive Methodology—Stage 1: a) I began by reading the book, chapter by chapter. Students asked about words they didn't understand or foreign expressions unknown to them. Many were glossed in the book. The others were explained either by other students or by me. Deductive Methodology—Stage 2: b) I had prepared a booklet of basic questions for each chapter with summary questions after every 3-4 chapters. The students had to finish reading the chapter we had read in class (if I hadn't done so) and answer the questions in their booklets for homework. This was an excellent way to go over what we had done in class. It also helped them when reviewing the material for the "Summative Assessment". Task: Do the work in the booklet. This counted as 10% of the unit grade. Examples of LOTS questions: 1. During what years does the story take place? 2. What kind of family life did Oscar have? 3. What was Itzhak Stern's job? 4. Who was the SS boss of the Cracow ghetto? 5. What was the job of the four jewelers?
  2. 2. LITERARY TERMS: As we read the book, I introduced several literary terms that I felt were appropriate for understanding this novel. a) Characterization: We discussed how the main characters are described by the author and how they develop and change in the text. b) Conflict: Throughout the book, there are conflicts. I had the students look for them and talk about them. (i.e. Schindler with the Nazi ideology, Schindler against Goeth, etc.) c) Foreshadowing: Kenneally often introduced elements that hinted at what was to come. Sometimes the students caught this. If not, I pointed it out. (i.e. Schindler sees plans for mass extermination in 1941, before the wholesale gassing began. Therefore he believed the stories of a few who escaped and returned to the ghetto and told about it.) d) Plot: We discussed how the plot develops as the story goes on. (i.e. In the beginning, Oscar Schindler just wants to make money. In the end, the money is no longer important. Saving "his Jews" becomes paramount to Schindler.) e) Setting: This we explained when first starting the text. The setting is WWII, but the cities in Poland/Czechoslovakia change as Schindler moves his factory. f) Suspense: I often stopped reading a chapter just when the suspense was high. (i.e. In Chapter 11, three hundred of "Oscar's Women" are sent to Auschwitz instead of Brinnlitz.) I let the students finish the chapter on their own. Many sat and continued reading into the next lesson (not English) and then ran to tell me that Schindler saved "his women". They felt the suspense and couldn't wait to see what would happen. g) Theme: The class decided on the theme of the novel and saw that it followed though to the end. (i.e. How one "Good Non-Jew" was able to save 1200 Jews during the horrors of WWII.) 4. ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION: SPIRALING IN PREVIOUSLY LEARNED THINKING SKILLS AND INTRODUCTION OF NEW THINKING SKILLS (HOTS) a) Comparison and Contrast (Spiraled in) At the end of Chapter 6, the characterizations of Schindler and Goeth are very clear. I had the class break up into groups of 3-4 students each. The groups had to make a graphic organizer comparing the 2 characters using six different parameters. After fifteen minutes I had them present their work to
  3. 3. the rest of the class. Then I typed up a page with their work for the log. If the student participated, he got 5% in the final unit evaluation. b) Generating Possibilities (Spiraled in) 1. In Chapter 4, there is a story about a little girl named Genia. I asked the students to write a short composition (40-50 words) about: "What do you think her life was like before and after the war?" This was graded and put in the log (5% of the unit grade). We discussed the various possibilities that the students had given. A very active and lively discussion arose as students disagreed with each other. Since there is no documentation about Genia other that the episode in the text, no answer could be considered wrong. 2. After finishing Chapter 11, I asked the students:"Why did the Nazis murder so many Jews but helped small numbers of them?" This question was the result of the story of how Pfefferberg got his name on the "List". The class divided up into groups. They had to give four reasons to answer the above question. The groups presented their ideas to the class and we discussed them. Many were rejected as not being accurate or realistic. I then typed up a page of their work for the log. If a student participated, he got 5% in the final unit evaluation. 4c. DEDUCTIVE METHODOLOGY—STAGE 3: Introduction of New Thinking Skills: 1. I used Inductive Methodology #1 to introduce the skill of CLASSIFYING. Stage 1: Reading text (See elements 2/3) Stage 2: Checking comprehension through LOTS (See elements 2/3) Stage 3: Introduction of thinking Skills (See elements 4a/b) Stage 4: Application of HOTS to text (See element 4c) |Stage 5: Application of HOTS to other areas (See element 5) I wanted to introduce the thinking skills of CLASSIFYING. I wrote 18 items on the board in a disorderly way (6 foods, 6 classroom items, 6 colors). I asked
  4. 4. the class what these items were and how I could somehow make order out of them. Right away the students said to put them in groups: colors, food, classroom things. This we did together, on the board. When I asked them what we did they said we were making a selection or classifying different kinds of items. I agreed with them and explained that this thinking skill is class CLASSIFYING. We then discussed when we would use this skill in real life. (i.e. in the army, in school—like for English levels, etc.) Now I gave them a page with about 30 names of characters from the text. I asked them to work in groups and classify the names according to: Jews, "Good" Nazis or Nazis. Each student worked on his own page but they were able to work together. It was a positive way to get them to review the people in the text. This took them about half an hour. We went over this in class by having students put the names on the board in the correct columns. Students who participated in the activity and handed in their page to be checked were given 5% in the final unit evaluation. 2. I used Inductive Methodology to introduce the skill of UNCOVERING MOTIVES. a) I prepared cards with the names of nine people from the novel. b) I arranged three chairs facing the class. c) I asked for three "volunteers" and gave each one a card with a name. These students were now the people whose name they had on the card. d) The rest of the students were told to ask them questions about their actions, their thoughts, their ideas, etc. according to the story. e) Most of the questions (without my prodding) began with "Why did you do this to so and so?" or "What were you thinking when you did such and such an action?" f) After several question to each "actor" new" students took the "Hot Seat" and got new cards. We did this three times. g) I told the students that I call this drama enactment "HOT SEAT". I asked them what we had done just now. Answers were "understanding the characters", "getting to know why the character did something", and even "understanding the motives" of the characters. I agreed that this is indeed the thinking skill of UNDERSTANDING MOTIVES. The students really enjoyed the activity and understood this new thinking skill very well.
  5. 5. 3. I told the class I wanted to summarize the whole story. This is called SYNTHESIS. It brings everything we read all together. We had an excellent discussion of how learning about Schindler helped us to understand the Holocaust and the "Good Non-Jews" better. We summarized the whole story and its part in the history of WWII. 5. BRIDGING TEXT AND CONTEXT a) We saw the movie "Schindler's List". First of all, it made the book "come alive" for the students. Most had not seen the movie and sat hypnotized for three hours. It synthesized the text and made the people in the story real. b) I arranged with the class' history teacher to go to "Yad Va Shem". There we saw real documents concerning Schindler, Goeth and some of Schindlers "children". They also saw a short documentary on Goeth's trial. We went to the "Righteous Gentiles" path and found Schindler's tree. We ended our trip with a visit to Schinlder's grave in a special section on the Mt. of Olives. This brought the text right into their lives and every student felt some kind of identification and greater understanding of this difficult chapter in our history. 6. POST READING AND SUMMARY The new thinking skills were actually all done post reading. I prepare a "Summary Template" for each text that I teach. The "Template" reviews all the above elements, making the students go over their exercises, notes and the text again. It is a good way to review the unit. We usually do this in class so that I know the students are doing their OWN work. Task: Fill-in the "Summary Template". If the work is complete, the student gets 5% in the final unit evaluation. 7. REFLECTIONS I prepare a page that explains the different thinking skills taught and reviewed (spiraled in) in the unit. I also write out exactly which activities we did for each skill. This reminds the students of the work we did when learning the skill in order to make it clearer for them. Then I list three questions on reflections which the students have to relate to.
  6. 6. Task: Do the "Reflections" task by answering the three questions. The work is handed in and I give some kind of reaction to each student's work. If the work is complete, the student gets 5% in the final evaluation. 8. SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT This is a written test done in class. It summarizes all the material learned in the unit and requires the students to show their understanding of the text. The students are allowed to use the text and all their notes and handouts while doing the test but they must do their OWN work. This is worth 50% of the unit grade. The Ministry added this element this year. After two years of not having a final test, I can say that this is a positive and important addition to the LOG requirements. It definitely affects the grade and makes it more "realistic". It requires me to really analyze what I've taught and to determine how I can successfully test it. It is an excellent way to synthesize the unit. 9. ADDITIONAL HANDOUT I prepare a page called "Checklist for the Evaluation of a Unit". The percentages for each element change according to the text and the activities done for each unit. Since the novel is the longest and most heavily weighted, there are more activities required. (A poem has the minimum of four activities.) This page also organizes each student's work so that he knows what he did and what grade he received for each activity. And it makes it easier for me to calculate the final unit grade.

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