Lesson Plan

Retelling Holocaust Survival Narratives Through Digital StoryTelling

Bringing history to using primary sources, Google Earth, and digital story telling apps
Andrew W.
Technology coordinator
Erie 1 BOCES
West Seneca, NY
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My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...

Use the US Memorial Holocaust Museum Website to research Holocaust Survivors

Generate notes and a storyboard using the Notability App to generate notes, ideas and a storyboard.

Use the Popplet app to organize ideas and concepts.

Find key geographical locations using Google Earth

Create a 5-7 slide digital story using Educreations app, Showme App and/ or Google Earth Lit trips.


English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 6 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Have you ever played tag?  Hide and Seek?  The fun of trying to find something that's hidden can be really exciting, can't it?  What about hiding?  Isn't it fun to try and come up with a hiding space that no one can discover you?  It can be a creative experience and one that requires you to try and think of new ways to be secretive.

But... what if the person trying to find you was hurtful, vicious, evil?  What if you knew that you could be sent to a horrific camp with little food or water.  With diseases and harsh conditions?  What if your captor hated you?  Hated your religious beliefs?  What if they didn't care about your survival?  They may not even care if you live or die.

That is the terrifying reality of the Holocaust.  During World War II 6 Million Jews were killed in Concentration Camps during World War II in what was the most sytematic genocide in human history.  

The stories of the dead are chilling.  But what of the survivors?  What of those who either hid from the Nazi's or clung on to life in the horrible conditions of concentration camps?  Their stories are powerful and in the end... their stories are many ways inspirational.  They are stories that must be told again and again?  

Why?  So a horror such as the Holocaust will never happen again.

So your challenge is this.  

  • Research a survivor of the Holocaust
  • Find out their story before the World War II
  • Find out their story during World War II and the Holocaust
  • Find out their story after the Holocaust. 

2 Direct Instruction

Free to Try, Paid

Teacher will use the Popplet App,  Doc/ or spreadsheet program, Kidspiration/ Inspiration program, or Bubbl.us Website to begin modeling the various notes and ideas that could be created around a survivor's life.

This portion of the lesson will can be done as a group led or iPad led presentation. 

Teacher will begin the lesson identifying some of the key features that make Holocaust survivor stories so important?  What is it about these stories that is powerful?  Scary?

Suggested Companion Readings:  Links below are to Schmoop Book Review Sites.

The Diary of a Young Girl:  Anne Frank

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

The Book Thief by Markus Suzak

Night By Elie Wiesel

General ideas to keep in mind:

Think in terms of before, during and after the World War II/ The Holocaust

Try to picture yourself in that person's shoes or from their persptective.

What makes their story unique?  What makes it different?

Sample Survivor:  Otto Frank


3 Guided Practice

Using the Notability App, or similary notetaking app

  • Students will generate ideas, take notes and create a story board.
  • Research information about their Holocaust Survivor
  • Create a story board that highlights key points of Survivor's life.

Notability is specifically suited for creating organized notes on an ipad.   Students can insert pictures, do drawings, add text, quickly and easily.  They can even record their narration on the Notability app

Students may be assessed for:

  • Accuracy of notes from research- Citations are a must!
  • Essential elements and timing a storyboard for their presentation. 

Teacher will be able to:  Assist students independently or in small groups.  Make corrections about their

Sample Notability File


4 Independent Practice

Using Google Earth App (Or Website)

Students will start collecting photos and geographical information on their survivor's life.

Keep in mind Citation information for any pictures from the Google Earth cite that are not public domain.

Students may take photos of Google Earth pictures by using the Google Earth Screen saving tool at the top right of the Google Earth browser.  Permission Guidelines may be found here.

Students will start creating and organizing their digital story using approved pictures, digital storyboard, and script.

They will need to start organizing their work using hte Show Me or Educreations App.

5 Wrap-Up

Students will share their finished products by either embedding into a website or sharing the link.  They may also be able to project their story on to a projector.

Presentations using Showme App should have the following components:

  • At least 5 slides
  • Fair use pictures cited when required.
  • Appropriate spelling and Grammer
  • Narration
  • Creativity/ Originality

Teachers may develop their own rubric for digital storytelling.

Sample:  Otto Frank