5 Powerful Reasons for Teaching Anne Frank Activities
June is a particularly poignant month to teach an activity related to Anne Frank.
Born in 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany, Anne Frank has become a symbol for the battle against discrimination and prejudice around the globe.
With Anne Frank museums, trusts and even schools, all over the world; this thirteen year old has impacted the world, for over fifty years, with her courage, thoughts and writing.
This June, it will be her birthday. A poignant opportunity for our children to reflect on the ideas of: discrimination, social injustice, prejudice, courage, self expression and the power of words.
As an educator, the beauty of Anne Frank is that she enables children to access these heavy topics through the eyes of someone not much older than themselves. Being able to see and hear her philosophical thoughts on the page, in all of their maturity, grace and dignity, is more powerful than anything else we could conjure up. Anyone can relate to Anne Frank. She merely wonders.
‘Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!’ Anne Frank, theguardian.com
And that wonder about humans and difference, is the reason why there continues to be an Anne Frank house, Anne Frank: movies, books, museums, schools, diaries and more. We all ponder these things, still, just like she did. Her musings are as relevant today, as they were over 70 years ago.
‘It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I believe, in spite of everything that people are truly good at heart’. Anne Frank,powerblog.com
For two years, Anne Frank and her Jewish family managed to hide from the Nazi secret police- the Gestapo. Between 1942 and 1944, Anne and her family lived, hidden from sight, in a secret annex behind a bookshelf in her dad’s office. The diary that Anne kept was published in 1947 by her father, and its’ impact can still be seen today.
Annefrank.com says, Anne’s ‘message of courage and hope in the face of adversity has reached millions. The diary has been translated into 70 languages with over 30 million copies sold.’ 3
BU 4274 from the collections of the
Imperial War Museums.
Arrested in August 1944 with her family, Anne died in 1945, in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. On what would have been her 88thbirthday this June, it is more than fitting that we take a little time out to allow our children to reflect on the power of her words, and how they have indeed, changed the world.
A really rich topic for teaching activities across the curriculum, there is so much more that we can teach around the topic of Anne Frank than Anne Frank’s diary or Anne Frank’s House.
Here are my 5 ideas for teaching activities about Anne Frank this June:
1. Anne Frank schools
Anne Frank Schools can be found all over the world. Founded on a commitment to social justice, equality and anti-discrimination, annefrank.org says that there are currently 250 Anne Frank schools across the globe.
A really interesting unit of work can be done around the questions: do we need Anne Frank Schools? Is every school an Anne Frank school?
Whether the curriculum focus is discussion or persuasive writing, PSHE or something else, after initial work about the concept of an Anne Frank school, delve deeper by looking at the simple charter that every Anne Frank school must sign up to.
From discussion writing and persuasive letters, innumerable PHSE activities, to creating your own Anne Frank charters for your classroom or school, or even signing up to become an Anne Frank school yourself, the list is endless and the children will remember the unit of work for many years to come.
2. Anne Frank Inspirational Art
One cannot help but be inspired by the astonishing grace, sophistication and motivation in Anne Frank’s most famous quotes from her diary, now famous all over the world. The elegance of her prose and perceptiveness of her topics, for a thirteen year old, is astounding.
Anne’s quotes conjure up beautiful images and powerful emotions as we read. Children will be inspired to produce moving abstract art to represent the feelings, ideas and images that her stunning quotes evoke.
3. Anne Frank Quiet Games
Any time spent learning about Anne Frank- whether simply reading her wonderful quotes, watching a clipabout her life or reading her incredible diary- leaves you feeling reflective.
Allow the children some time to reflect with one of these quiet games before, after or instead of a reflection time.
4. Anne Frank reflection journal
Children can’t help but be inspired by Anne Frank’s diary. The legacy that her words have created, as well as her quotes on free speech, demonstrate the power of journaling.
Task all of your children with keeping their own private journal for a week, free from any specifications, children can write and doodle anything that they like for a week, you may want to give them time in class or set it as homework. At the end of the week, children that want to, can share extracts with a friend, or the class.
5. Anne Frank Ambassadors
If you feel really inspired to act, why not join The Anne Frank Trust’s Ambassador Programme for schools?
Choose children from your school to train as ambassadors through the Anne Frank Trust’s Schools Programme, and be a force against discrimination and prejudice in your school.
Alternatively, get your children to write a job description for an Anne Frank Ambassador for your school – what would they need to do.