Introduction to Anne Frank Lesson

Download a PDF of the Lesson here

Young people have always found ways to be heard. In diaries, letters, and artwork, hundreds of teens and young adults recorded their lives during hard times in the 20th century. Today, their work is studied by historians, published in books, included in films and exhibitions, and used by teachers all over the world. The Diary of Anne Frank is a good way to share one voice of the Holocaust to students. Many times, middle school students have not read any nonfiction Holocaust literature, and Anne Frank’s story is one they can connect to. It does not contain the horrors of the camps Anne and her family went to, but it is one of the most well-known dairies of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust. Her diary was 5 notebooks and over 300 pages of loose-leaf paper kept safe after they were taken to the camps. In this lesson students will be able to read some of Anne’s words, do a virtual tour of the Annex she, and 8 others hid for 761 days, and listen to people who knew her.

Grade Level: 7-8

Subject: English Language Arts

Duration:  2 class periods (90-minute classes) or 4 class periods (45-minute classes)

NC Standards Addressed:


  • RI.7.2 Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • RI.7.7 Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium’s portrayal of the subject
  • W.7.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • RI.8.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • RI.8.7 Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums to present a particular topic or idea
  • W.8.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

Essential Questions:

  • What can we learn from diaries written during the Holocaust?
  • Can we evaluate Holocaust-era diaries as historical sources?
  • In what ways can young people today document modern life for future historians?

Learning Objectives:

After the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Learn about other young people who kept diaries during the Holocaust
  • Think critically about diaries as historical sources
  • Recognize that as individuals and members of communities, their voices matter; they too are historical actors

Previewing Vocabulary:

  • Conspicuous: easy to notice; obvious
  • Immigrate: come into a new country and change residency
  • Loathe: to hate or dislike greatly
  • Indignantly: angrily aroused by something mean, unjust, or unworthy
  • Oppression:    the act of keeping someone down through harsh and unjust use of power
  • Remorse: a bitter regret or guilt after having done wrong


(Links to Google Docs, Forms, and Slides will ask you to make a copy):


The activities (except #1) will be done in stations as students work in journals.  Have students work through 2 stations a day (90 minute class) or 1 a day (40 minute class). Each station will have a question about how students lived through the COVID 19 quarantine, and then will have entries from Anne’s diary to read and discuss, except station 4. That station will still have a prompt for them to respond to, but they will be touring the Anne Frank House online.

  1. Before doing any other part of this lesson, please make sure you go through the Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust as a whole class.
  2. Station 1: Begin with the present
    1. Write a response to this prompt:
      1. Where are you? How long were you in quarantine? What happened each today?  What were your main concerns at the time?
    2. Read Anne’s entries for June 14, 1942, June 20, 1942, and July 8, 1942
    3. Discuss what similarities and differences you experienced with Anne and her family. What textual evidence can you use to show this connection?
  3. Station 2: What do you miss?
    • Write a response to one of these prompts:
      • When were you allowed to go outside? What was it like and what did you see or do?
      • Were there things that were a part of daily life for you that you have “forgotten?” Or are there things that you vividly remember? What are they?
      • What news do you remember hearing about the spread of Covid-19? How did you know what to believe?
      • What did your eyes see and your ears hear? Do you think sharing this helps people understand what you are feeling? (PS. It’s OK to say no. Just tell us why not.)
    • Read Anne’s entries for December 23, 1943, December 24, 1943, and May 26, 1944
  • Station 3: Where are you?
    • Write a response to one of these prompts:
      • Draw, paint, sketch, photograph, or create an image in any medium of your home, your street, the view out your window, or anything that reflected your surroundings during the pandemic.
      • If you prefer, describe where you spent your time in writing. What is your room, apartment, house, street, or community like? Give us details that help us to have a window into your life in quarantine.
    • Read Anne’s entries for July 9, 1942, July 10, 1942, and July 11, 1942
  • Discuss what similarities and differences you experienced with Anne and her family. What textual evidence can you use to show this connection?


  • Have students take their journal entries to create their own diary. Allow them to edit the entries like Anne did with hers. When they are finished, publish them on them here.e form exit ticket to have students respond to reflective questions at the end of the lesson.

E-Learning Adaptation:

Online Introduction to Anne Frank


As a follow up lesson or resources that you can use to extend student learning on this topic.

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