Wednesday, July 19, 2018
Hello! Miss Champion here from Harry Potter: Fiction, Fear, and the Familiar, and The Holocaust: Interpreting History Through the Diary of Anne Frank. Just a quick background on me: I will be entering my fifth year of teaching this coming school year in the Marion Independent School District, teaching 8th grade Literacy. Teaching is my calling, and I love working with middle school students. I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan, and have enjoyed teaching and discussing the culture with the next generation of die-hard Harry Potter fans! I am also very impassioned with discussing and evaluating the Holocaust with middle school students. We have been looking at the historical events that have led up to this unimaginable time in history, while also focusing on the positivity, warmth, and courage displayed by Anne and her family in the stage adaptation of her diary.
We started our Harry Potter class by looking at the “historical” elements that are used in the story: alchemy (potions class), Nicolas Flamel (a real person!), the beliefs and legends behind magical creatures, monsters, and plants. Students presented their findings to the class. Here’s a student example of Mandrakes, a plant mentioned in the stories, but existing in real life! They were believed to hold magical properties because of their human-shaped roots; an element that is further explored in the books.
Our exploration of Harry Potter continued with identifying theme, and how that theme prevails through all of the stories. Students created a theme house, where the foundation was there theme statements, the bricks were the textual evidence, and the roof was their reasoning why their textual evidence supported their theme statement. Repeated themes were: love, loss, friendship, perseverance, and hope.
Our session is finishing up with exploring Boggarts, the shape-shifting creatures that reflect your innermost fear. Our discussions have focused on how fear manifests itself for different people; as both tangible things like spiders, sharks, and snakes, or intangible things things like loss, boredom, or failure. Students will be exploring what their own fears are, and what shape that would cause their Boggart to take.
Our Holocaust class began with a historical background on what were the events that led to the rise in Adolf Hitler’s power, as well as an exploration in the form of a digital tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Students were then asked to decide “Who Is to Blame?” for the Holocaust by filling out a pie chart. Student response was varied, but you may notice a lot of green (Hitler), blue (minor Nazi soldiers who carried out their orders without question), and purple (top SS officers who designed the “final solution” for Hitler).
We then used the rest of class to explore Anne Frank’s story, and how her family, plus the other four people lived in the Secret Annex of Mr. Frank’s business. In reader’s theater style, we read through the play adaptation of Anne’s diary. We explored each member of the Secret Annex and what kind of character traits we would use to describe them, and why they might display those type of character traits.
For the final project in The Holocaust class, students were asked to think what lesson we should learn from Anne’s experience and attitude throughout her hiding experience. As most know, Anne’s story is a famous one, and is influential it is still taught today. Students were asked what impact they want to have on the world, and how they plan on going about achieving their influence