World War II Thematic Unit


 This website is about World War II and the Holocaust. The information on this  site is for Graduate School work to develop a cross curriculum study about World War II and the Nazi Concentration camps. Utilizing the novel Number the Stars by: Lois Lowry through a literature circle method and pair up with social studies during the same time World War II is being studied.

 Many middle school students find it difficult to concentrate therefore comprehension skills suffer. I believe by creating this unit, students can get a reinforcement, background information and visuals of what life was like during World War II.  Social Studies class can create the mindset for the student laying the foundation to the novel Number the Stars.  

The only way to teach a child is to let them experience it! Take the student and put them into the time in history and let them absorb the novel. Kentucky state standards will be addressed in both English Language Arts and Social Studies. 

Kentucky State Standards Covered



Students will formulate questions to guide reading.


Students will scan to find key information.


Students will skim to get the general meaning of a passage.


Students will interpret literal and non-literal meanings of words or phrases, based on context.


Students will interpret the meaning of jargon, dialect or specialized vocabulary used in a passage.


Students will explain the main idea of a passage.


Students will identify and explain the characteristics of short stories, novels, poetry or plays.


Students will locate key ideas or information in a passage.


Students will paraphrase information from a paragraph, a section of a passage or an entire passage.


Students will apply the information contained in a passage to accomplish a task/procedure or answer questions about a passage.


Students will analyze the relationship between a speaker’s or character’s motivation and behavior in a passage, as revealed by the dilemmas.


Students will identify or explain an author’s purpose in a passage.


Students will explain or analyze how a conflict in a passage is resolved.


Students will analyze the use of details that support the main idea or explain their importance in a passage.


Students will identify or explain an author’s position based on evidence in a passage.


Students will use evidence from a passage to formulate opinions in response to a reading passage.


Students will interpret the use of literary elements (e.g., characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view) in a passage.


Students will identify and explain the use of literary devices (e.g., symbolism, irony, analogies, imagery, foreshadowing, figurative language).


Students will analyze the author’s use of literary devices in a passage (e.g., symbolism, irony, analogies, imagery, figurative language).


Students will evaluate the author’s word choice, style, content, or use of literary elements.


Students will compare and contrast elements, views, ideas, or events presented in one or more passages.


Students will analyze the organizational patterns (cause and effect, comparison or contrast, sequence, generalizations) in a passage.

 Writing State Standards


In Transactive Writing,

Students will communicate a purpose through informing, persuading or analyzing.

Students will develop an effective angle to achieve purpose.

·       Students will communicate as an informed writer to clarify what the reader should know, do or believe as a result of reading the piece.

·       Students will apply characteristics of the selected form (e.g., letter, feature article, editorial, speech).

·       Students will sustain a suitable tone.

Students will allow voice to emerge when appropriate.



In Reflective Writing,

·       Students will develop the connection between literacy skills (reading and writing) and understanding of content knowledge.

·       Students will describe own literacy skills, strategies, processes or areas of growth.

·       Students will analyze own decisions about literacy goals. 

·       Students will evaluate own strengths and areas for growth.

Students will support claims about self.



In Transactive Writing,

·       Students will communicate relevant information to clarify and justify a specific purpose.

·       Students will develop a deliberate angle with support (e.g., facts, examples, reasons, comparisons, diagrams, charts, other visuals).

·       Students will develop explanations to support the writer’s purpose.

·       Students will apply research to support ideas with facts and opinions.

Students will incorporate persuasive techniques (e.g., expert opinion, emotional/logical/ethical appeal, repetition, rhetorical question) or  propaganda techniques (e.g., testimonial, bandwagon, personal attacks) when appropriate.


In Reflective Writing,

·       Students will engage the interest of the reader.

·       Students will communicate ideas and details in meaningful order.

·       Students will apply a variety of transitions or transitional elements between ideas and details to guide the reader.

·       Students will apply paragraphing effectively.

Students will create conclusions effectively.


In Transactive Writing,

·       Students will establish a context for reading.

·       Students will apply the accepted format of the genre.

·       Students will develop an appropriate text structure (e.g., cause/effect, problem/solution, question/answer, comparison/contrast, description, sequence) to achieve purpose.

·       Students will arrange ideas and details in a logical, meaningful order by using a variety of transitions or transitional elements between ideas and details.

·       Students will apply paragraphing effectively.

·       Students will incorporate text features (e.g., subheadings, bullets, fonts, white space, layout, charts, diagrams, labels, pictures, captions) when appropriate.

Students will create conclusions effectively.


In Reflective Writing,

·       Students will adhere to standard guidelines for grammar and usage or apply nonstandard for effect.

·       Students will apply language concisely.

·       Students will incorporate language appropriate to the content, purpose and audience.


In Personal Expressive/Literary Writing,

·       Students will adhere to standard guidelines for grammar and usage or apply nonstandard for effect.

·       Students will incorporate language based on economy, precision, richness or impact on the reader.

Students will develop ideas through descriptive or figurative language.

Writing Process

To communicate effectively, students should engage in the various stages of the writing process including focusing, prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing and reflecting.  The writing process is recursive; different writers engage in the process differently and proceed through the stages at different rates.



·       Connecting to content knowledge

·       Connecting with prior learning and experience

·       Initiating an authentic reason to write

Thinking about a subject, an experience, a question, an issue or a problem to determine a meaningful reason to write




·       Selecting/narrowing topic

·       Establishing a purpose and central/controlling idea or focus

·       Identifying and analyzing the audience

·       Determining the most appropriate form to meet the needs of purpose and audience

·       Generating ideas (e.g., reading, journaling, mapping, webbing, note taking, interviewing, researching, writing-to-learn activities)

Organizing ideas – examining other models of good writing and appropriate text structures to match purpose and organize information



·       Writing draft(s) for an intended audience

·       Developing topic, elaborating ideas, exploring sentence variety and language use

Organizing writing




·       Reflecting to determine where to add, delete rearrange, define/redefine, or elaborate content

·       Conferencing with teacher or peer(s) to help determine where to add, delete, rearrange, define/redefine or elaborate content

·       Checking for accuracy of content

·       Considering voice, tone, style, intended audience, coherence, transitions

·       Comparing with rubric criteria and anchor papers/models

·       Considering effectiveness of language usage and sentences to communicate ideas

 Idea Development


Students will narrow topic for selected writing. 


Students will identify and compose a topic sentence of a paragraph.


Students will select appropriate supporting details. 


Students will identify extraneous/irrelevant materials. 




Students will correct sentences that are out of chronological/sequential order or insert new sentences in the correct chronological/sequential position.


Students will apply the most effective transitions.


Students will develop effective introductions and closures for writing.

 Word Choice


Students will eliminate redundant words and phrases.


Students will choose the most specific word for use in a sentence.

 Social Studies

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Students will explain and give examples of how, in order for the U.S. government to function as a democracy, citizens must assume responsibilities (e.g., participating in community activities, voting in elections) and duties (e.g., obeying the law, paying taxes, serving on a jury, registering for the military).


Students will compare how cultures (United States prior to Reconstruction) developed social institutions (family, religion, education, government, economy) to respond to human needs, structure society and influence behavior.


Students will explain why and give examples of how human populations changed and/or

migrated because of factors such as war, disease, economic opportunity and technology in the United States prior to Reconstruction.


Students will describe ways in which the physical environment (e.g., natural resources, physical geography, natural disasters) both promoted and limited human activities (e.g., exploration, migration, trade, settlement, development) in the United States prior to Reconstruction.

* I spoke to a Social Studies teacher at Russell Middle School in Russell, Kentucky and she said that for a couple of days she could use the standards above to talk about war and talk briefly about WWII and compare and contrast what they are reading in ELA to what they are learning about wars in Social Studies. She said that the Eighth grade ELA class does an entire unit on  the Holocaust and she does discuss parts of  WWII with the students to help them understand the Holocaust and what went on during the war. *



Students will understand that collaborative and interactive projects use technology to enhance learning.


Students will use technology to engage in interactive projects in the classroom


Students will engage technology to support learning (e.g., online courses, online assessments)


Students will understand that acceptable technology etiquette is essential to respectful social interactions and good citizenship.


Students will explain the importance of safe Internet use (e.g., iSafe skills)


Students will apply safe behavior when using technology


Students will use appropriate behavior related to computers, networks, digital information (e.g., security, privacy, passwords, personal information)


Students will understand that technology supports creative thinking and implementation of new ideas to reach goals.


Students will use technology to express creativity in all content areas


Students will understand that technology supports critical thinking skills used in inquiry/problem solving to make informed decisions.


Students will evaluate the accuracy and appropriateness of electronic information


Students will apply strategies for identifying and solving minor hardware and software problems


Students will use technology to solve problems using critical thinking and problem-solving strategies


Students will understand that technology assists in researching, analyzing and evaluating information obtained from a variety of sources to answer an essential question across all content areas.


Students will demonstrate an understanding of the strengths and limitations of the Internet




Students will apply a research process model (e.g., Big6, Research Cycle) to conduct online research



Students will locate and collect information from a variety of electronic resources (e.g. search engines, CDROM, online periodical databases, Virtual library/online catalogs, interactive video conferencing) and correctly cite sources



Students will organize information that is collected using a variety of tools (e.g., spreadsheet, database, saved files)



Students will understand that technology problem solving strategies is applied to innovative design for authentic, creative and real-world applications.



Students will design, develop, publish and present original, innovative products (e.g., Web pages, video, robotics, online content)



Students will collaborate with peers, experts and others to develop solutions and innovative products (e.g., design/CAD, troubleshooting, helpdesk, models, systems)


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