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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Book Club-Characters, Themes, Symbols, Vocab

In this 5-week course, we will read aloud together The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, and discuss characters, themes, symbolism, and learn new vocabulary.
Kathy Pudil
36 total reviews for this teacher
1 review for this class
Completed by 3 learners
year old learners
US Grade Level
learners per class


per week
Charged weekly
$18 per class
Meets 2x per week
Over 5 weeks
50 minutes per class

Available times

Table of available sections


Class Experience

  Students will learn about the themes of friendship, innocence, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, courage, humanity, and obedience versus conformity. We will study relevant vocabulary and discuss characters' choices in reflection of what we learn about the different themes the story brings to light. Symbolism of the swastika and Jewish Star of David will also be discussed.
I have used this book multiple times as a read aloud in a middle school classroom setting. It generates meaningful discussion of the themes represented in the novel. Maturity of the student(s) will be considered to determine how in depth the controversial subjects like discrimination, bullying, prejudice, and violence will be discussed. Although as a middle school social studies and language arts teacher, I used this book as a great interdisciplinary tool alongside a historical study of the holocaust, it is not, in itself, an accurate representation of historical events.
We will read the text together aloud in class.  If a student chooses to read ahead, that is fine. I only ask that they not give away any details to other learners. We will have weekly vocabulary enrichment activities to promote authentic use of new words. These will be completed in class as much as possible. An end-of book project can be completed as a response to the story.
A copy of book: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne A pencil or pen and paper to record thoughts, reflections, and vocabulary words & meanings
Informal assessment in class of engagement, understanding, and learning will assist in determining how in depth our discussions may develop, or how much review we need before continuing to the next piece of the text. Comprehension questions are for showing understanding and connection to the literature. For the end-of-book project, a 4-point evaluation will be provided:  4-excellent understanding shown in work & details , 3-good understanding shown in work & details, 2-adequate understanding shown, although some ideas may be overlooked, 1-improvement needed to show full understanding of text and themes.
1 hour 40 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 0 - 1 hours per week outside of class.
Sensitive subjects include discrimination, prejudice, violence, events of the holocaust. These will be approached in class with compassion, and empathy, aiming to understand why the characters behave the way they do.
We will emphasize that The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a FICTIONAL story, and contains many inconsistencies to what true historical events were like. Please be clear that we are NOT examining this novel as a historical study, or in order to understand historical events. Rather it is a study of humans, how they interact, and how we can make choices that promote positive interactions among one another, regardless of our differences.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
m-w.com Merriam-Webster Online dictionary and thesaurus
Time allowing, we may read excerpts from real survivor stories to gain historical understanding of events around WWII and the holocaust. One of my favorites is called   I Am A Star: Child of the Holocaust by Inge Auerbacher (student does not need to have a copy of this book)


Kathy Pudil
Lives in the United States
I try to be flexible in my schedule, so if you do not see a time/day that works for you, please suggest a time and I will accommodate if I am able.
36 total reviews
70 completed classes

About Me

Hello! My name is Teacher Kathy, and I look forward to seeing you in my classroom!  I teach students of all ages to become better readers and writers through integrated, interactive, and hands-on learning. I enjoy incorporating art and music into... 
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