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OWP Young Adult Literature Workshop

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The following activities for Marika are intended for classroom or supplemental use.  Many of the activities are developed from or also listed at:  


Acitivty 1
As an introduction or companion to Marika, have your students read Terrible Things by Eve Bunting.  This children's book is an allegorical reference to the Holocaust. Discuss how the roles of oppressor, victim, bystander, and caring individual are demonstrated in the story.

Variation 1:  Have your students create and perform their own script version of the story, changing props and characters based on resources available.

Variation 2:  Have your students write an allegorical story or poem based on another instance of discrimination or social injustice. 

Activity 2
Allow your students time to listen to selections from Dvorak.  While listening, students can record words and images that come to mind and then write a poem.  The Minnesota Orchestra has some Dvorak audio clips available on its website.

Activity 3
The Dot Game:  In a classroom of twenty to thirty children, give each child a card with a dot on it. Tell the children that some of them have cards with dots and some have cards with X's. They should not show their cards to anyone. The children are told that they must get into groups of four people with dots. They lose if one or more members of the group have an X. The children then begin to doubt their classmates. They think that somebody must have an X. Let this continue for about ten minutes. Then tell the children that actually everyone has a dot. This activity shows children what happens when an authority figure tells them something that isn't true. The children see how this affects their behavior even toward friends. Make parallels to the rise of Nazism.


Activity 4
Pick another companion piece for students to read while reading Marika.  Depending on grade level and interest options might include:
Maus by Art Spiegelman:  A graphic novel that tells the story of the narrator, Artie, and his father Vladek, a Holocaust survivor
Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol:  A nonfiction book about racial segregation in America's schools.
The Things They Say Behind Your Back: Stereotypes About Jews by William B. Helmreich:  Discusses nine American ethnic groups and the stereotypes about them.

Activity 5
Develop a timeline of Marika's life in combination with a timeline of events happening in Hungary.  The website is a helpful resource.

Email a desription of an activity you'd like to have posted here.