Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching The Children of Willesden Lane
Resources to help you teach the book in middle schools and high schools

Chapters 1–3

Classroom Video:
Choices That Make a Difference

History is made not just by leaders but by everyday people making everyday choices. This idea is key to understanding the historical context in which The Children of Willesden Lane takes place. Students reading the book are challenged to think about situations where free will is denied, and about being forced to make choices they would previously have thought unimaginable.

In the video, Facing History and Ourselves staff member Steve Becton joins teacher Nancy Parrish to help students understand the mounting persecution of Jews in Germany and Austria in the 1930s, and the shrinking—yet still vitally important—choices they had to make. Nancy’s eighth-grade history students have completed basic Facing History activities about their own identities, read through Chapter 3 of The Children of Willesden Lane, and learned about Kristallnacht and the events that led up to it.

  • Steve reviews what students know about the situation faced by Jews in Germany in the 1930s.
  • He asks students to think about the choices Lisa’s parents made in sending her on the Kindertransport.
  • Nancy asks students to write about and discuss a difficult choice that they or someone else has made (see page 24 of the curriculum guide).

Questions for Reflection

  • How do teachers convey the idea that everyday choices shape history? Why is this a valuable idea to explore with students?
  • How does a teacher create a classroom environment where students feel comfortable sharing their feelings about difficult situations they have experienced?
Steve Bechton and Nancy Parrish addressing students


Teachers: Nancy Parrish
with Steve Becton
Grade: 8
Subject: History
Location: Memphis, TN

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