In my school, the focus is on small group instruction, specially targeting reading. On a daily basis, I am looking at pulling small groups to focus on a literacy skill. During Holocaust Education Week (November 1-9), I pulled my small groups and we read “My Secret Camera”, an article in the Nelson literacy grade eight text that focuses on making inferences.
With each small group, students took turns reading the photo essay. I also looked at vocabulary as on each page, students came across words that they were unsure of. So we made sure to define unknown words, especially as for some, this was new learning and a very sensitive topic. Students had some prior knowledge and were able to use that as well as looking at the photos to make inferences. Students were shocked as the photos in this photo essay were quite telling as they painted the picture of the harsh realities during the Holocaust.
After reading the essay, I gave students a chance to answer orally. We have been doing a lot of written responses and I thought it was a great opportunity (especially seeing as I wanted to be finished with the activity in one class) to answer orally. Students were asked to answer one of the three questions:
- Do you find it easier to make inferences by viewing the photos or reading the text?
- How does the author want you to feel after reading this photo essay?
- What inferences about the Łódź Ghetto can you draw from the photos?
Students were able to refer to specific parts of the text and certain photos while answering each question.
I was able to work with each student by the end of the week and felt that everyone learned a lot and were able to give it their all. As many schools have copies of the Nelson Literacy text, I encourage you to have your students read this photo essay as it was a very powerful lesson for my students.
For more information about Holocaust Education, please visit this ETFO resource page which was featured in our member news on November 8th:https://www.etfo.ca/socialjusticeunion/anti-semitism/resource-links
Additional resources can also be found here: Link