Students should be entirely capable of completing silent discussion independently. Continue to circulate throughout the room as they conduct it, monitoring content and conduct of the discussion and selecting pairs to lead whole-group discussion.

It should go without saying that you should try to choose different pairs from day to day--attempt to give all students a chance to lead off the whole-group discussions.

Desired Learner Outcomes:

Students will be able to…Students will know…
debate constructively and respectfully with their partners and the war continues to affect the residents of the Secret Annexe.
guide their partner's reading of the the safety of the Secret Annexe continues to be threatened.
read the Diary Anne and Peter's relationship both troubles and comforts Anne.
integrate their understanding of Anne as a "historical figure" and of the time period with their understanding of her as a "real person."

Summative Assessment(s):

Describe Performance TasksExplain &/or Reference Criteria
Students will read the section
of the book that has been assigned
and complete their "diary entries."
Use your own grading scale to assess
the completeness and thoughtfulness
of each student's response to his/her
reading. I use 1-2-3-4 (1 being the
lowest, 4 being the highest), where a "4"
entry not only summarizes what was read
correctly, but engages in questioning
and extending what has been read.



Students should begin the lesson with their partner (note: an odd number of students in a class may permit the use of a triad, which also works pretty well). Aim for three paper exchanges in this silent discussion. It should be timed as such:

  • 3-5 minutes: Each student writes something to his/her partner. Remind them of the discussion starters referenced in the introductory lesson if they struggle.
  • While students write, circulate around the room with a notepad or clipboard and note students' discussions that are particularly cogent, thoughtful, or provocative. Make sure to choose students who touch on the most important events or ideas in the reading. You may use this as a formative assessment/classwork grade, or it may give you a good sense of who to "call on" in the whole-group discussion.
  • Announce "switch!" after 3-5 minutes. Students should switch papers and respond to what his/her partner wrote. Again, remind strugglers of tools for constructive disagreement and extension.
  • Announce another "switch!" after 3-5 minutes.
  • Announce a final "switch!" after 3-5 more minutes.
  • Then conclude the silent discussion. This should take a total of 15-20 minutes.

In the whole-group discussion, I usually choose three pairs of students whose silent discussions were particularly productive. Touch on these points in your whole-group discussion:

  • Summarize the circumstances Anne describes in her entry for 11 April 1944. [This is a very lengthy entry and may challenge students who find it difficult to summarize or distinguish relevant from irrelevant students.] [The men of the Secret Annexe investigate a possible burglary and fear that they may have been discovered by neighbors also investigating with a flashlight; therefore, all the residents of the Annexe spend the better part of two days in darkness and silence, afraid even to use the toilet--the neighbors, when they have a chance to speak to Henk, promise not to call the police.] How did they feel? How would you have felt? Reading aloud the excerpt that begins "Now there are debates going on all the time...." on p. 207 may help to illuminate Anne's frustration and disgust for students.
  • After all that, Anne and Peter still find a way to be together (see "Do you still dare to go down to the front attic?") What does this say about their personalities and their relationship? [Bravery, strength, true friendship and care, etc.]


The entry of 11 April 1944 may be difficult for students to digest--you may wish to make that entry its own separate homework or classwork assignment, with an outline or timeline to scaffold it.

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