Annexed classroom projects

 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt kindly provided us with these project ideas for teachers to use in the classroom. Several of them also serve as great essay prompts, especially when teaching epistolary novels.


• Have your students read Annexed alongside Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Have them discuss, compare, contrast, and examine the intersections of these two works. You might ask them to pay particular attention to those sections of Anne’s diary that describe her interactions with and feelings about Peter, and vice versa. You might then discuss the two accounts’ similarities and differences.

• There are many words used in Annexed that students may be unfamiliar with, as they are in other languages or are related specifically to the times and places described. As they read, have your students keep a log of words that they are learning as they go. Encourage them to first use the context to try to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words, and then to research the words’ meanings to check on their guesses. You might want to create a class word bank or word chart of some sort to display some of these new words as well.

Language Arts

• Dogar has written Peter’s story almost as though he was writing in a diary too. The voice she creates for Peter’s story is very different from the voice of Anne’s diary. Peter is quiet, Anne is talkative. Peter keeps to himself, Anne is social. Discuss with your students how Dogar’s writing fits with what we know of Peter’s personality. Ask your students to either select another character from Annexed or to create a character of their own, and to write several “diary” entries in the voice of that character, taking care to make the writing match what they know (or invent) of the character’s personality. You might discuss such things as Dogar’s frequent use of very short sentences when writing in Peter’s voice, for example, and how that creates a sense of him as one who is not as verbose as chatty Anne.

• Ask your students to imagine what they might do if they were cooped up in a small space for many months as Peter and Anne were. The occupants of the Annex did various things not only to keep busy but to retain a sense of self. Anne wrote. Peter drew. What would your students do? Ask them to think and write about what kind of activity they might take solace in were they in the same situation.


• There are myriad resources for students wanting to learn more about Anne and Peter, or about the Holocaust. Dogar includes a book list at the end of Annexed, as well as two important websites, (The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam) and (Yad Vashem, an organization devoted to documentation, research, education, and commemoration of the Holocaust). Using these resources and others that your students discover, have them research a specific element of life during this time period. You might provide a list of potential topics or ask them to choose their own topics.Working in small groups or individually, have your students research their topics and create presentations to share with the class.

• Have your students research and read firsthand accounts of the Holocaust. The Yad Vashem website provides a database of firsthand documentation in the form of interviews, videos, and photographs. In the spirit of sharing stories that Dogar writes about in Annexed, ask your students to choose one of these testimonials and to either write an essay describing that person’s experience or to prepare a brief presentation for the class.

2 thoughts on “Annexed classroom projects

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  1. Thanks for this informative post. I just read Annexed and LOVED it. I teach an Anne Frank unit and this book would be a great companion to her diary. Thanks for providing great classroom ideas!

  2. Great ideas! My students love learning about this time period. I feel like it’s absolutely essential to allow for students to connect with Holocaust stories (real or fictional) to prevent future atrocities and to connect to other genocides and holocausts that are happening daily. The fight for human rights is not over–these stories serve to keep us vigilant, educated, and empathetic to those who are going through similar struggles today.

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