My second year of teaching, I really worked to find reading materials that would naturally engage my students. Even though I was lucky enough to work in a school where my administrators did not care if I stuck to the traditional book list or not, EVERYONE cared about whether I was meeting the 8th grade Virginia Standards of Learning. Unfortunately, our standards at that time were so broad that you could pretty much teach anything and connect it to an SOL in some way. They are more focused now, but as a new teacher, even the broad standards were helpful in giving me something concrete to latch onto.
A handful of the standards required that the students read a play and understand stage elements. I did not want to teach Shakespeare again because the year before I was trying to teach my students how to read the language and how to read a play and it was too much. I wanted something that would allow me to focus on the play and its elements.
Lucky for me, The Diary of Anne Frank was included in our textbooks. The creators of this play adapted the book The Diary of a Young Girlby Anne Frank into the play The Diary of Anne Frank. I think the book itself is amazing, but since I had to teach a play and I had a bunch of high-energy students, I opted for the play version in the textbook. Not everyone loved our brand new textbooks, but for a new teacher, they were a godsend. They already had pre-reading activities and questions built in. Not all of the activities were great, but it was enough to make planning a lot easier. These textbooks are long gone but I wish I still had a copy. (Now I understand why, during “textbook adoption” all the experienced teachers started hoarding their old, favorite textbooks. Once the new textbooks were ordered and in the building, we were supposed to clear out the old textbooks, which were sent away and never seen again. Although there’s always new, great stuff in the new textbooks, it’s always nice to hang on to the good stuff in the old textbooks as well.) I found this PDF version of the play that I am pretty was was the one from my lost lost textbook.
You can also purchase books of the play on Amazon:
Anyway, The Diary of Anne Frank was a “self-seller.” The kids already had knowledge of the Holocaust from 7th grade history, and they enjoyed reading the play out loud. Because I was so reliant on the textbook, I did not create a ton of materials myself, but I have posted them here in case you need them. There’s a vocabulary list, some discussion questions, and two versions of a tiny reading quiz. Enjoy!
At the end of the unit, I showed the kids this movie version of The Diary of Anne Frank and they almost fell off of their chairs in anticipation even though they already knew the story. I highly recommend watching this at the end of the unit.
I hope these materials are helpful to you!
There are lots of movies to watch along with The Diary of Anne Frank. One good one for school is The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Two boys, one inside the concentration camp, and one outside befriend each other, and the story goes from there.
If you have any resources that you feel would be helpful to others, please feel free post them in the comments section below!