Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl is one of the most famous pieces of literature in the world. It is now required reading in schools all around the world and has been translated into over 70 languages. From a single book, Anne Frank became one of history’s most well-known and treasured authors. She made a huge impact with what was, quite sadly, a very short life.
During World War II, different groups in Germany and other countries were persecuted and killed by the Nazis. Anne’s family was Jewish – one of those groups that feared the Nazis and their leader, Adolf Hitler. Like many Jewish families, the Franks went into hiding in an attempt to escape being captured. For two years, the family hid in an apartment behind the business owned by Anne’s father. The entrance to the apartment was disguised by a bookcase. During the day, the Frank family, and four other Jews in hiding with them, had to be very quiet to avoid being discovered by workers in the office. Outside, millions of people suffered through the chaos of the war. Inside, eight people suffered through their intense fear of discovery.
It was during her time in hiding that Anne worked on her writing. Despite her youth, Anne left behind pearls of wisdom that still resonate. One of the most famous quotes from Anne’s diary is, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” This seems so unbelievable, considering the terrible experiences the Frank family endured at the hands of other people. It reveals much about Anne and the type of person she may have become, had she lived.
Thank you for being a part of the Professional Educators Network. We hope you enjoy this new installment of History’s ARTifacts. Please watch the educational video with your students and download the poster by this month’s artist, Morgan Peterson. Morgan wasn’t available for a Meet the Artist video shoot, but here’s a little about him:
Meet the Artist: Morgan Peterson
Morgan majored in architecture with a minor in landscape design and design thinking at the University of Minnesota, and received a Bachelor of Design degree in architecture. In 2019, he’ll begin grad school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, working toward his Masters in architecture.
We asked Morgan to describe his favorite artistic project:
Aside from the projects I’ve done at the various architecture firms I’ve worked for, my favorite project so far has been BlueGuard at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. An artist friend and I submitted a design for a treehouse competition the arboretum was hosting and ended up receiving a grant to build our design. The general goal of the design was to allow visitors to have a personal connection with a maple tree we selected by surrounding the tree with transparent rope walls and a hammock floor elevated off the ground. It was largest scale personal project I’ve done, and it was incredible to see the public interacting with it and enjoying it so much, particularly the kids.
Morgan’s primary interest is residential design. He hopes to start his own small design firm one day and also explore other areas of design such as furniture, lighting or ceramics.
Summer Diary Project
As the school year winds to a close for most teachers and students, we here at NTC hope you have an incredible summer and that you join us next year for more History’s ARTifacts. With such a short amount of class time remaining, we would like to suggest just one activity that aligns with this month’s subject, Anne Frank.
We know about Anne Frank’s bravery and perseverance because of her diary. A diary can be a chronicle of personal thoughts and feelings as well as a time capsule describing events and times for future generations to discover. Talk to your students about journaling or starting a diary over the summer months. It can be a great time to write down what happened on summer vacation or to simply record the everyday happenings of an elementary or middle school student. Like Anne, they can include mementos in their diaries like photos, tickets from movies or sporting events they attend, or other bits of ephemera they can incorporate into their work. Throwing a “launch party” can add to the excitement over the project. Students can begin their diary by recording events from the last days of school and sharing their writing at an end-of-the-year celebration before heading off for the summer.