ALEX Lesson Plan


Live at Five! The Devil's Arithmetic  Newscast/Podcast

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Michelle Steed
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33240


Live at Five! The Devil's Arithmetic  Newscast/Podcast


Four to five person teams will be created to research and present an in-depth TV news special about the Holocaust for the Passover Seder holiday.  Students will conduct research and assume a specific task of their news team to present a main story in a newscast/Podcast.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (6)
1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RL.6.1]
ELA2015 (6)
5. Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot. [RL.6.5]
ELA2015 (6)
10. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the Grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. [RL.6.10]
ELA2015 (6)
13. Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes). [RI.6.3]
ELA2015 (6)
17. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue. [RI.6.7]
ELA2015 (6)
23. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences. [W.6.3]
a. Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator, characters, or both; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically. [W.6.3a]
b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. [W.6.3b]
c. Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another. [W.6.3c]
d. Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events. [W.6.3d]
e. Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events. [W.6.3e]
ELA2015 (6)
24. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 21-23 above.) [W.6.4]
ELA2015 (6)
26. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting. [W.6.6]
ELA2015 (6)
28. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources. [W.6.8]
ELA2015 (6)
29. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. [W.6.9]
a. Apply Grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics"). [W.6.9a]
b. Apply Grade 6 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., "Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not"). [W.6.9b]
ELA2015 (6)
34. Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. [SL.6.4]
ELA2015 (6)
35. Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information. [SL.6.5]
ELA2015 (6)
36. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See Grade 6 Language standards 37 and 39 for specific expectations.) [SL.6.6]
ELA2015 (6)
37. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. [L.6.1]
a. Demonstrate knowledge of subject-verb agreement when interrupted by a prepositional phrase, with inverted word order, and with indefinite pronouns as subjects. (Alabama)
b. Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive). [L.6.1a]
c. Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves). [L.6.1b]
d. Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.* [L.6.1c]
e. Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).* [L.6.1d]
f. Recognize variations from Standard English in their own and others' writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.* [L.6.1e]
ELA2015 (6)
38. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. [L.6.2]
a. Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive or parenthetical elements.* [L.6.2a]
b. Spell correctly. [L.6.2b]
ELA2015 (6)
39. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening. [L.6.3]
a. Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader or listener interest, and style.* [L.6.3a]
b. Maintain consistency in style and tone.* [L.6.3b]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will conduct research related to the Holocaust to prepare and present a newscast/Podcast.  Students will use the situation when Hannah didn't want to go to the Passover Seder; she didn't want to remember anymore as presented in The Devil's Arithmetic.   Students will research, write a script, and prepare/present a newscast/Podcast on assigned Holocaust events. 

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Desired props and attire necessary for members of newscast/Podcast, Webquest information sheets, Newscast rubric, Group Evaluation rubric

Technology Resources Needed:

Laptop, Interactive Board, video camera (if not presenting digitally), Document camera, iPod (optional), Active Inspire (optional)


Students need to have read or currently be reading The Devil's Arithmetic.  Students need to have an understanding of the Holocaust.  Students also need an understanding of the components of an actual newscast as seen on local TV. If not familiar with Podcasts, introduce and explain to the students using Podcast Tutorials. Podcasts can be uploaded to iTunes, Podcast Pickle, or PodcastAlley for free.


1. Present the idea from the reading that Hannah didn't want to go to the Passover Seder; she didn't want to remember anymore.  Once Hannah is sent to a concentration camp, she realizes how important it is to remember.

2. Explain to the students that they will be organized into teams of four to five to present a newscast/Podcast related to specific events that occurred during the Holocaust.  (Group numbers may need to adjusted to fit class size.)

3. Preassign group members to each topic to be presented. (Concentration Camp Survivor Interview, Jewish Ghetto Interview, Survivor In-Hiding Interview, Kindertransport, and Kristallnacht)

4.  Pass out the webquest information sheets and review each section with the whole group. (see attached sheets)

5.  Allow students to read through the assignment with their group and ask questions.

6. Students then must decide upon roles for each group member and submit the assigned list to the teacher.  (see attached form)

7. Go over newscast/Podcast expectations and grading rubric. (see attachment)

8. Allow students two days in class to work with groups to conduct research and prepare the script and newscast/Podcast. 

9. At the end of the second day, each group will submit a final script to the teacher for review.

10. Students will have one day in class to practice newscast with props, media, etc.

11. Students will present newscasts/Podcast. (Teacher will video each group if not presented digitally.)  Presentations should be 5-10 minutes each and may take two or more class periods to present all groups.  At the end of each presentation, each group member will complete and turn in a peer evaluation from for two respective group members. (It may be necessary to view video recorded newscasts once finished.)

12. After all presentations are complete, allow students to share one new thing they learned about the Holocaust through the presentations using  Teacher must create a Padlet wall, directing students to the web address and guide them on posting their responses as needed.


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Assessment Strategies

Formative assessment of teacher observation during preparation of script/group work and during video recording/Podcast presentations. 

Formative assessment of final script submitted.

Formative assessment rubrics for groups.  (attached)


Students may research other dictators or oppressive leaders present or past, and use a digital format of choice to present findings to share with the class. (PowerPoint, Prezi, Podcast, etc.)


For students who may need extra assistance, redirect them to suggested websites on information sheets and guide them through the text, offer teacher directed group support, invite a local newscaster to share "on the job" tips/experiences. 


Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.