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"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" Book Club

In this three week book club, students will explore the horrors of WWII and an unbreakable friendship between two unlikely boys.
Jennifer Gerber, MBA, MAT
79 total reviews for this teacher
1 review for this class
Completed by 1 learner
  There are no upcoming classes.
45 minutes
per class
Once per week
over 3 weeks
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does a "Multi-Day" course work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

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Class Experience

1.) Students will use comprehension strategies flexibly as they read the literary text "A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. 
2.) Students will analyze themes, conflict and elements of plot throughout the text and demonstrate their understanding through summarizing and paraphrasing. 
I have been teaching English Language Arts to middle school and high school students for the past 12 years.  Under the ELA standards, I teach a unit each year on the Holocaust using narrative, informational and non-fiction text.  In addition, I have a Masters degree in Teaching with a concentration in English Language Arts and History.  Also, I am a published author and beta writer for other published authors in both academic writing and fiction writing.
There are 216 pages in the book, so each student will be required to read approx. 54 pages between each class meeting time and come prepared to discuss.  Each week, we will also be discussing specific elements of plot, themes, conflict or literary devices.  Students will be asked to find and come prepared to discuss those elements when they attend the next class.  I will post materials and discussion questions on google classroom in-between class meeting times.
Each student will need to purchase a copy of the book "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" by John Boyne. In addition, I would recommend students have highlighters, pen/pencil, paper, and sticky notes.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
45 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
Parents need to know that this intense World War II-set drama follows a young boy whose father, a German officer, has moved the entire family close to his new assignment -- running a death camp dedicated to the mass extermination and murder of Jewish prisoners. The boy befriends a prisoner on the other side of the wire even as his teachers and parents explain to him about how "the Jew" is the enemy. Given the subject matter, the book -- which culminates in a room full of people being killed with poison gas -- could be difficult subject matter for some younger age students. 

PLEAE NOTE: This book is a work of fiction.  As such, even though the book is based upon a historical event, there are elements of the story that would be considered an inaccurate historical depiction of the holocaust.  During the course of this book study, we will discuss some of these inaccuracies.  As with many works of fiction, the author takes liberties when writing their books and creating their characters.   Some of the inaccuracies that critics of this book have pointed out is that the main character is the son of a high ranking German officer.  He is portrayed in the book as having little to no knowledge of the concentration camps and atrocities that are being committed to Jews and other victims of the Holocaust.  In all reality, a son of a Nazi soldier would be serving in the Hilter Youth and unlikely to develop a friendship with a Jewish prisoner in one of the concentration camps.  In addition, Shmuel would not have an opportunity to spend time with the main character due to work requirements in the camp.  The story serves as a starting point for young readers to have an open and honest conversation about the Holocaust.  However, it is not meant to be taken as historically accurate in all of its depictions or characterizations.  It gives the reader and the instructor the opportunity to compare and contrast the story to non-fiction articles and accounts of the same time period which is a critical ELA and Social Studies middle school academic standard.
We will be using articles from News ELA, as well as, documentaries from the History Channel and BBC during this book study.  Also, we will be looking at primary source documents from Yad Vashim (the World Holocaust Remembrance Center).


Jennifer Gerber, MBA, MAT
Lives in the United States
Certified teaching professional with a passion for kids and unlocking their hidden potential.
79 total reviews
69 completed classes

About Me

Hello students and families,

My name is Jennifer Gerber, and I have been teaching middle school, high school, and college level classes for the past 12 years. I have experience teaching English, History, Chemistry, Physics, Earth/ Space Science,... 
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