Sunday 30 April 2017

More development of the workshop – discovery packs

I’m now working on a further section of materials for my workshop. These are discovery packs. There is one for each of the main characters:
  • Renate
  • Hani
  • Clara
  • Käthe
  • Gisela
  • The school girls
 I’m also bringing in a gender balance so I’m including:
·         Hans Edler (Renate’s father)
·         Christoph (the young man who helped at the house on Schellberg Street)
·         Karl Schubert (the man who ran the school in the house on Schellberg Street)
·         Ernst Lehrs  (Käthe’s brother)
·         Thomas (Gisela’s neighbour)
·         All about the Hitler Youth

These are all taking quite a long time to create. I’m providing six sheets of A4 for each character. Each sheet contains a mixture of materials:
·         Facsimiles of real documents
·         Useful links
·         Public domain pictures or ones to which I own the copyright
·         Extracts form the novels

Groups of up to six students should work on one character. There are probably twice as many characters as needed here. Each sheet hints at information and should prompt further questioning in the students. I’m suggesting in an hour’s lesson they spend forty minutes or so on this, aiming for each group to spend up to five minutes presenting to the rest of the class any extra information they’ve found out using the packs. They could of course also lead to a much larger piece of work.          

I also intend to create some creative writing prompts to go with each activity.  

Friday 7 April 2017

Workshop at Hartford High

Friday 31 March found me at Hartford Church of England School delivering a Schellberg Cycle Workshop. We arranged it there slightly differently from the way I normally do. You can read more details about this on my Writing Teacher Blog.    

I was very pleased with how attentive the students were and how hard they worked. Their teachers really engaged with the material as well. I’d sent the workshop pack over in advance so they were able to study the details. Each teacher worked with their class in slightly different ways so different emphases came out in each group. I was pleased to see discussion of the following topics:
·         How difficult it must have been for Renate, finding out only a few days before she came to England, that she was Jewish
·         Why we only rescued 10,000 Jews and all of them children
·         How life wasn’t all bad then – it had its ups and downs (This comes out very much in the board games and the Hanna Braun letters)  
·         Why the girls liked the BDM uniform
·         Seeing the Allies as the “baddies”   
·         The subtle indoctrination that made the girls appreciate camaraderie and duty.

Interestingly, I’d suggested to the teachers that they might include a gender balance in the groups. There are in fact three male and three female roles in each board game. They didn’t do this but allowed the students to stay in single gender groups. However, the boys happily took on the female roles and the girls the male ones.

If you’re a teacher wanting to learn more, sign up here to get updates on the workshop, which is still evolving, and download the teachers’ notes will give you a real insight as to how the workshop functions.