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Lesson Plan

Fighting Injustice by Studying Lessons of the Past

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Joan Schauder

Temple, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



Learning from past mistakes can help prevent one from repeating those mistakes. The purpose of this lesson is to educate students about the past and prepare them to become concerned and active students. Students study the experience of European Jewish citizens during the Holocaust. Through a reading of a novel set during the Holocaust period, students gain a better understanding of the social injustices and atrocities that occurred. Students then research the experience of the Cherokees during the Trail of Tears and the Japanese Americans during World War II. To compare these three events, students use an online Venn diagram tool. Students write about their reactions to these events in journals and discuss them during class. Critical thinking is encouraged to allow students to come to their own conclusions about these events.

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Venn Diagram: Students can use this interactive Students can use this interactive tool to compare three historical examples of social injustice—the Holocaust, the Trail of Tears, and Japanese internment.



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Wood, K.D. (1988). Guiding students through informational text. The Reading Teacher, 42(8), 912–920.

  • Readers combine their own knowledge with the text to formulate knowledgeable conclusions.

  • Skimming a text guide before reading allows students to predict the information they will encounter.


Kane, S. (1998). A view from the discourse level: Teaching relationships and text structure. The Reading Teacher, 52(2), 182–184.

  • Discourse knowledge refers to students' understanding of the language organization that determines meaning; it includes knowledge of a variety of genres and types of writing.

  • Discourse knowledge must often be taught explicitly to students.

  • Students learn discourse knowledge when they are taught to notice patterns of organization, or relationships among sentences, paragraphs, and chapters in the texts they read.

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