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Authentic Lesson Plan

Lesson Title:  The Man of Steel: Hypocrisy in American Foreign Policy.  (WWII)
Date:   November 14-16, 2008.  3 days.
Grade Level: 11th




Section A: Lesson Preparation.

Rational: Students should know what really occurred in the Soviet Union leading up to and during WWII.  Most history texts do not cover the atrocities of Stalin because he was our ally.  The horrors of Stalin's "terrors" cannot be forgotten.

Description of Learners:  25 students.  1 has sight issues, 1 has dyslexia.  To accommodate different learning styles, I will use various tools in class: computers, TV projector, Internet, directed discussion, art and writing.  Differentials: For students who need larger print, I will create larger print run offs of readings/ have them set up on universal access on their Macs.  For learning disabled/ dyslexia, I will allow them to take readings home, and use other in-class tools authorized in their IEPs.  Consideration given to low SES students- On day one, students will have to opportunity to print out the website sections they visit to take home with them to help them prepare for day 2.  Or, they can send the URL to themselves if they have computers at home or use public libraries.

Objectives/ Learner Outcomes:
  • Students will be able to discuss Stalin's various "purges."-  (generally) who were some of the victims, how people were implicated and why as well as how family members of those suspected were treated.
  • Students will understand what "Collectivization" and "Industrialization were.
  • Students will be able to discuss why Stalin's behavior/ psychosis.
  • Students will be able to discuss the Ukrainian "Famine" of 1932-33.
  • Students will be able to name various Soviet agencies (such as the NKVD) and understand their purpose.
  • Students will be able to intelligently speak about life in the gulags.
  • Students will know what Stalin's "Five Year Plans" were and what major projects were completed.
  • Students will be able to speak openly about Stalin and relate his actions to others in history we have studied previously.
  • Students will understand how cooperation with Stalin occurred and the Alliance was formed.
  • Students will use critical thinking skills to draw correlations, pose thoughtful questions and engage one another in debate and conversation leading to their own conclusions.
  • Students will demonstrate their ability to work well in groups.
  • Students will demonstrate their proficiency with computer and Internet technology.

Standards Addressed:  NCTE
  • Students will continue developing their Internet and computer skills.
  • Students will further develop their critical thinking skills to pose thoughtful questions, challenge views of status quo, and work together to resolve complex issues by making connections between previous and new knowledge.
  • Students use spoken, written, research, artistic, cooperative skills to meet their goals.
  • Students will understand what was occuring in Stalin's Russia leadng up to and during WWII.
  • Students will understand the alliance between the US and the USSR during WWII.

Materials/ Technology:  Use of Internet sites, images/ historic personal letters, documents, etc. and selected in class readings from "Forever Flowing" by Vassily Grossman (Chapter 14).

Section B: Introduction to Lesson.

Purpose:  To help students understand the phrase "history is written by the victors." Expose the ethical and moral double standard that often occurs in politics in the name of "peace."

Prior Learning:  We just covered WWII and focused a great deal on Hitler.  We will make connections between Hitler's crimes against humanity and Stalin's, as well as relate Hitler's psychology to Stalin's.

Motivation:  The horrors of Stalin's Russia are staggering.  Therefore, the story almost sells itself.  Sell the tragedy and how it was overlooked/ the US turned a "blind eye".  This lesson will make history come alive, as they will be reading primary sources of the various assassinations and purges.

Section C: Content/ Procedure/ Sequence.

Day 1- Hold short lecture on Stalin, giving background on Stalin's life and rise to power.

Break students into groups, assign each group a topic and have them read and discuss it together (  Have them pick out the most interesting facts.  Be ready to tell class what they learned when the appropriate subject comes up the following day.

Day 2-  Use computer and TV projector to go through subjects.  Have each group BRIEFLY talk about what they learned with the class (5-6 minutes per group).  I will augment what is not covered or clarify where needed.  Using the TV projector/ computer, show images of people and events where relevant.

Internal Workings of the Soviet System

   * Repression and Terror: Stalin in Control
   * Repression and Terror: Kirov Murder and Purges
   * Secret Police
   * The Gulag
   * Collectivization and Industrialization/ Five-Year Plans
   * Attacks on Intelligentsia
   * Censorship
   * Suppressing Dissidents
   * Ukrainian Famine
   * Deportations

For HW, they will read the 2 TIME articles for Man of the Year, be prepared to talk about them the next day as part of the Summary.  I will print out copies of the articles and provide the URL on each.,16641,19400101,00.html,16641,19430104,00.html

Day 3- Read excerpts from the book mentioned together in class aloud.  Using the computer and TV projector, show pictures from the Ukrainian Famine. Discuss. Ask students to talk about how it made them feel. 25 minutes.

Section D: Closure.

Summary: Day 3- Have an open discussion that leads students to answer for themselves why they feel Stalin was portrayed as he was at that time, by the US (TIME mag's man of the yr 1940/43, etc.), why we overlooked his crimes, and why it is important to remember and learn about what really happened during this time period and how it relates to their lives today and tomorrow.  Further, relate to other events they may know about in history, even if we have not covered them.


Assignments/ Assessment:

Create a Propaganda Poster that favors Stalin from the Soviet perspective or a Political Cartoon from the US of Stalin, the American Ally. You can also take the other side against Stalin as either a Russian or American.


Imagine you are a Soviet citizen and you have been arrested as a spy and sent away to one of the many gulags to do hard labor.  Write a letter to Stalin asking him for help and claiming your innocence.  Describe your living conditions (types of torture, food, etc.)  Please create this assignment as a blog.  Include a few images to make it interesting.


Provide students with the following links for further consideration and to aide them with their homework/ print out/ send to their student email accounts:,16641,19400101,00.html,16641,19430104,00.html




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