8th Grade Lesson Plan – Bill of Rights and Two Regimes: Witness to War

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Two Regimes: Witness to War

Purpose

The purpose of this lesson is for students to examine and apply rights and principles in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights in the past, present and future using primary and secondary sources.

 

Support Materials 
All support materials for this lesson can be found at this Google Link:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rFDzPRNp2pytm3j7hO37Wrxi8NMY8coq


Support Materials which are included in the above link are listed below.
NOTE:  Be sure to preview all materials before using with your students

  1. Historical Overview for Two Regimes by Dr. Jonathan Grant
  2. Historical Overview of the Holocaust by Dr. Michael Berenbaum
  3. Teodora Verbitskaya Biographical Information
  4. Nadia Werbitzky Biographical Information
  5. 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition video
Print Outs
  1. Excerpts Depicting Rights Violations from Two Regimes – A Mother’s Memoir of Wartime Survival by Teodora Verbitskaya PDF
  2. Bill of Rights List
  3. Bill of Rights Summary Worksheet
  4. Bill of Rights Scenarios Worksheet
  5. Vocabulary List
Also Available
  1. Teacher’s YouTube Videos for 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition
  2. RUSSIAN – 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition PDF
  3. SPANISH – 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition PDF
  4. Holocaust Hyperlinked Resource Material

 

Online Resources

  1. Bill of Rights (1791) https://www.ourdocuments.gov/print_friendly.php?flash=false&page=&doc=13&title=Bill+of+Rights+%281791%29
  2. 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition video – Narration in easy to understand American English  https://youtu.be/UAuzGRpK840  
  3. 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition video – Narration in English with a Russian accent  https://youtu.be/GQZrT8Q6NhY
  4. World War II: Timeline, Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007306

 

Florida: Next Generation Sunshine State Standards

  • SS 8.C.1.5 Apply the rights and principles contained in the Constitution and Bill of Rights to the lives of citizens today 
  • SS 8.A.1.7 View historic events through the eyes of those who were there as shown in their art, writings, music, and artifacts
  • FS 1003.42 Required Holocaust Education Mandate Public School Instruction


Authors

Amy Burch and Kelly Bowen


Formative Assessment

NOTE: Be sure to preview all materials before using with your students.

  1. Teacher will assess students’ ability to define and give examples of rights via verbal feedback through their verbal responses during “Rights” Brainstorm activity and discussion.
  2. Teacher will assess student’s ability to identify right violations in past historical events via verbal feedback through their verbal responses during discussion of Excerpts of Depicting Rights Violationsfrom Two RegimesA Mother’s Memoir of Wartime Survival by Teodora Verbitskaya.
  3. Teacher will assess students’ ability via verbal feedback to student’s verbal responses during 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition video.
  4. Teacher will assess students’ ability to explain the rights protected by each amendment via verbal and/or written feedback to students’ written responses to Bill of Rights Summary Worksheet.
  5. Teacher will assess students’ ability to create a role play scene that depicts rights violations via verbal feedback to their comments and participation in Role Play Bill of Rights.
  6. Teacher will assess students’ ability to analyze a scenario and identify rights violations via written feedback to their written responses on Bill of Rights Scenarios Worksheet.
  7. Teacher will assess students’ ability to apply rights contained in Bill of Rights to lives of 18th century and 21st century Americans via verbal or written feedback on Exit Ticket.
  8. Teacher will assess students’ ability to examine, identify and apply rights and principles of Constitution’s Bill of Rights in lives of citizens in past, present and future via written response to their assessment essay describing the impact of a right from the 18th century Bill of Rights on individuals or on groups of citizens in 21st century America.

 

 Feedback to Students

  1. Students will receive verbal feedback to their verbal responses during “Rights” Brainstorm activity and discussion.
  2. Students will receive verbal feedback on discussion of Excerpts depicting Rights Violations from Two Regimes – A Mother’s Memoir of Wartime Survival by Teodora Verbitskaya.
  3. Students will receive verbal feedback to their verbal responses during 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition video.
  4. Students will receive verbal feedback to their written responses to Bill of Rights Summary Worksheet.
  5. Students will receive verbal feedback to their comments and participation in Role Play Bill of Rights.
  6. Students will receive written feedback to their written responses on Bill of Rights Scenarios Worksheet.
  7. Students will receive verbal or written feedback on Exit Ticket.
  8. Students will receive written response to their assessment Essaydescribing the impact of a right from the 18th century Bill of Rights on individuals or on groups of citizens in 21st century America.

 

Summative Assessment

Summative Assessment Task:

Students will write an essay that describes the impact of a right from the 18th century Bill of Rights on individuals or on groups of citizens in 21st century America. 

Teachers will determine their own grading criteria.  However, written responses should include demonstrating their understanding of the need for protection of individual rights in a civilized society and how those may or may not look different in 21st century America than they did in the 18th century.

 

Learning Objectives

Students will interact with primary and secondary sources to:

  • Examine, identify and apply rights and principles of Constitution’s Bill of Rights in lives of citizens in past, present and future.

 

Guiding Questions

  1. What is the primary purpose of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
  2. What consequences might we face if we are unaware of the Bill of Rights?
  3. As effective citizens, what responsibilities do we have (individually and as a community) to ensure our rights?

Prior Knowledge

  1. Students should have some background knowledge of forms of government.
  2. Students should have some background knowledge of WWII and the Holocaust.
  3. Students should have some background knowledge of the overthrow of the government of Nicholas II and the socialist government takeover of Stalin.

 

Pre-Teach Vocabulary as needed:

Socialism: form of government where the economy is controlled by the government

Economy: the wealth and resources of a country or family, especially with goods and services

Holocaust: Mass killing of Europeans, especially the Jews, by the Nazis during WWII

Republic democracy: form of government where the power is with the people

Collective farming: small farms that are owned and controlled by the government

Concentration camp: a place where large numbers of people are imprisoned to await death by mass killings

Steppe: large area of flat, unforested grassland in southeastern Europe and Siberia

Kremlin: location in Moscow of the central offices of the Russian government

Trench: A large deep ditch

German prison camp: a prisoner of war camp where outdoor work is done for the government

The following vocabulary will be introduced to students in Historical Overview of Two Regimes by Dr. Jonathan Grant:

Autocracy: a form of government where one person has unlimited power

Communism: a form of government in which a single ruling party owns and controls the entire economy, and in which no private ownership is allowed

Dictator: a military leader who becomes the head of a country, often by force

Direct democracy: a form of government in which the power to govern is directly in the hands of the people rather than elected representatives

Monarchy: a form of government headed by a king or queen who inherits the position, rules for life, and holds power that can range anywhere from between limited to absolute

Oligarchy: a form of government in which a small group (often of wealthy people) has total control and power

Ratification: the action of signing or giving formal consent to a treaty, contract, or agreement, making it officially valid

Representative democracy/republic: a form of government in which the people elect representatives to make laws for them

Socialism: a form of government in which the government plays a major role in running the economy, but private ownership is also allowed and leaders may be elected by the people


Teaching Phase


Introduce lesson by telling the story of a Ukrainian woman named Teodora Verbitskaya and her daughters, Lucy and Nadia who experienced the military occupation forces of Nazi Germany in late 1941 during World War II.  They witnessed the deportation of 7,500 Jews from Mariupol who were later murdered.  The Germans forced Teodora and her daughters to move to Germany and serve as slave laborers. They were liberated from German control by American forces at the end of World War II. 

Explain that Teodora Verbitskaya kept diaries of her life experiences that were later published. Then explain that her oldest daughter, Nadia Werbitzky, went on to become an artist and that many of her paintings are memory paintings from her life experiences as a young person.  

Explain to students that in this lesson they will review the Constitution’s Bill of Rights while learning how the rights contained in the Bill of Rights were ignored in the Ukraine and Russia during WWII and the Holocaust.  They will examine, identify and apply the Bill of Rights of citizens in the past, present and future.  This will be accomplished in part by interacting with excerpts from the primary source memoir of Teodora Verbitskaya and paintings of her daughter, Nadia Werbitzky. Share that works of these two women were later published in a book entitled Two Regimes – A Mother’s Memoir of Wartime Survival.

For background information see Support Materials:

Historical Overview of Two Regimes by Dr. Jonathan Grant

Historical Overview by Dr. Michael Berenbaum

Teodora Verbitskaya Biographical Information

Nadia Werbitzky Biographical Information

 

First review Bill of Rights by sharing with entire class:

Bill of Rights (1791) https://www.ourdocuments.gov/print_friendly.php?flash=false&page=&doc=13&title=Bill+of+Rights+%281791%29


Present
Historical Overview for Two Regimes by Dr. Jonathan Grant to entire class.

Next, present 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition video to entire class.

View 8th Grade Two Regimes Exhibition video –  YouTube (Narration in English with a Russian accent)

OR view 8th Grade Two Regimes Exhibition video – YouTube  (Narration in easy to understand American English)  https://youtu.be/UAuzGRpK840

After viewing Exhibition, have students work in pairs or small groups to brainstorm the word “rights”.  Encourage students to explore all aspects of the word that come to mind.  Then have groups create a definition of the word “rights” that they will then share with class. 

 

After sharing as a whole class, further discussion might include:

  • What rights are granted to you as a citizen of the U.S. that were not granted to those you learned about in Two Regimes?
  • Do you feel all people today have equal access to these given rights? Explain.
  • Describe a time when you felt that one of your rights was violated. Describe your feelings and response to the situation. How do you imagine that those from Two Regimes felt when their rights were violated? 
  • What current events or events in recent history can you think of that relate to rights or the denial of those rights?

Next, display or distribute Excerpts Depicting Rights Violations from Two Regimes – A Mother’s Memoir of Wartime Survival by Teodora Verbitskaya PDF that illustrate rights violations.  After reading in pairs, small groups or whole class, discuss how it might have felt to be Teodora Verbitskaya, Nadia Werbitzky and others in Two Regimes who experienced these violations of rights.

See Support Materials for:

Historical Overview for Two Regimes by Dr. Jonathan Grant

Historical Overview of the Holocaust by Dr. Michael Berenbaum

 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition PDF

 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition video – YouTube  (Narration in English with a Russian accent)

 8th Grade Two Regimes Witness to War Exhibition video – YouTube (Narration in easy to understand American English)

Excerpts Depicting Rights Violations from Two Regimes – A Mother’s Memoir of Wartime Survival by Teodora Verbitskaya PDF

 

Guided Practice

Distribute to each student a copy of Bill of Rights List and Bill of Rights Summary.  Have each student independently summarize the rights contained in each amendment.  Once completed, discuss answers as a class and allow students to make any necessary changes to their work.

Next, have students work in small groups to Role Play Bill of Rights. Explain to students that they will collaborate with peers to develop a scene depicting a violation of a right protected by the Bill of Rights.  The scenes should be realistic and provide important details.   Explain that as each scene is presented, the audience’s job is figure out which right they believe has been violated.   Once students have correctly identified the rights depicted in scenes, have students think about effective ways to advocate for the violated right in the scene.  Instruct actors to replay the scene.  As they do, class members can yell “FREEZE” at which point the actors stop exactly where they are.  The audience member can then take the place of the victim in the scene and play out options for dealing with the situation and advocating for their rights.  It is important to discuss the replay choices and whether they are sound, civic minded choices or choices that could lead to further consequences.

See Support Materials for:

Bill of Rights List

Bill of Rights Summary


Independent Practice

Distributeor display a copy of Bill of Rights Scenarios worksheet to each student.  Have students complete independently.

See Special Materials Needed for:

Bill of Rights Scenarios

Closure

Exit Ticket:   

Name and explain at least 3 amendments that are important to you, 

 And

Identify 3 rights violations that were experienced by Teodora Verbitskaya and Nadia Werbitzky and others in Two Regimes.

 

Accommodations

Students with visual or hearing difficulties may be seated closer to audio/visual equipment.

Students who are non-sighted will be provided with a verbal description of each painting.  Teacher should seek assistance from student’s ESE service provider in adapting necessary materials to meet student’s needs.

Teacher will stop the video as necessary for clarification and discussion.

Students who are unable to work in pairs for discussions may choose to share their ideas independently in writing.

Students who struggle with motor skills can use word processor or dictate the independent practice and summative assessment task.

Extensions

To further extend this lesson:

  1. Students may research court cases related to rights violations.
  2. Students may choose an amendment to research in depth and present via media of their choice or teacher’s choice.

 

 Further Recommendations

Teacher must determine if the paintings in the exhibition are appropriate for the class.  It is recommended that the teacher listen to the narrative in advance of lesson.

 
Short Summary

Students will examine and apply rights and principles in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights in the past, present and future through a memoir entitled Two Regimes – A Mother’s Memoir of Wartime Survival written by Teodora Verbitskaya with paintings by Nadia Werbitzky who experienced the military occupation forces of Nazi Germany during World War II, witnessed the deportation of 7,500 Jews (who were later murdered), were forced to serve as slave laborers by the Germans, and were liberated from German control by American forces at the end of World War II. 

 

Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the Foundation for Leon County Schools.