A History of Anti-Semitism

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It has been a little more than two weeks since the domestic terrorist attack on a Pittsburgh  synagogue. Hate crimes have become so frequent, it seems that we move on from them too quickly, thoughts and prayers pushed to the back of our minds, until the next one occurs. It is however, imperative to teach, share and discuss the history of hate based crimes that are deeply woven into the fabric of America (and the world).  This article and articles like it, help to facilitate the development of student knowledge, critical thinking, and discussion about American prejudice.

Genre - Non-fiction

Text Structure -Article

Lexile Level  -940

Themes -

Rings of Culture represented -

National: USA

Religion: Judaism

Why it’s VABBulous -  This text might not be considered responsive in terms of it’s “engagement” factor. It is informational, and reads like an encyclopedia article. The content however is relevant and important. There are many instances when teachers must utilize texts that are not necessarily “engaging” as reading material to students. This is easily remedied with the use of CLR instructional strategies.

  • Provides historical context for discrimination against Jews

  • Illuminates socio-political facts connected to the Rings of Culture and Iceberg of Culture

  • Provides many opportunities for deep, reading and conversation.

Ideas for CLR -

Set it Off (Into the Text)

Journal Prompt (Moment of Silence)  + Musical Shares + Somebody Who

How would you feel if you had to wear a tag or symbol on your clothing that identified you as an “inferior human being” to everyone that saw you? Discuss/Explain


Explain how you would feel about being treated badly by  someone (or treating someone else badly) just because they were different from you.

The Get Down  (Through the Text)

Possible Vocabulary from Text -

Tier 2 -

Hostility persecuted rivals expelled

Prejudice converted segregate vital

Discrimination emerged envy hesitant

Persisted homeland distinguish

Tier 3 -

Semites Anti -Semite Nazis Judaism

Christianity Messiah trade guilds ghettos

Pogroms scientific racism Aryan Islamic


Graffiti Vocabulary
link for variations/other vocabulary ideas


  1. Select 5-7 words to teach at a time.

  2. Write one vocabulary term (in bubble letters) in the center of a chart paper, and post around the room.

  3. Create sentences, one for each selected vocabulary word and make sure they contain context clues.

    1. You can project sentences or give students a handout with sentences.

  4. Give every student a marker.


  1. Use Choral Read to read sentences aloud.

  2. Have students use a Moment of Silence to think about definitions/meanings of words, they can even jot down some notes.

  3. Use an attention signal like “Time To - Move” and tell students they will have 3-5 minutes to get up and move around the room to the various chart papers, drawing/writing their words, images, definitions for the posted words ‘graffiti style’.

  4. After time is up, assign 4-5 students to each chart, to read/synthesize the information on the chart, and determine the connected, accurate meanings/definitions.

  5. Use Train/Pass it On to share out.

Lydia McClanahan