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Lesson Plan by Lauren Martin M.Ed.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Pixton Lesson Plan on The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Make Historical Fiction come to life with comics!

Including these awesome activities:
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Featured Layouts

When students complete the activities in this lesson plan, they will use the following comic layout types.

  • Character Map
  • Plot Diagram
  • Comic Strip
  • Storyboard
  • Graphic Novel
  • Poster
  • Mind Map

Your students will create amazing images like these in no time!

Pixton Lesson Plan on The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Pixton Lesson Plan on The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Pixton Lesson Plan on The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Main Characters

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

When you import any of the activities below, you can choose to share these ready-made characters with your students.

  • Bruno from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Bruno

    Nine-year-old protagonist and narrator, son of a Nazi Officer

  • Gretel from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Gretel

    Bruno's twelve-year-old sister

  • Mother #2 from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Mother

    Bruno's unnamed mother, loving but stern and resents the move to Auschwitz

  • Father #2 from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Father

    Bruno's unnamed father, Nazi Commandment and head of Auschwitz

  • Shmuel from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Shmuel

    Bruno's friend, Auschwitz prisoner and "the boy in the striped pajamas"

  • Grandmother from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Grandmother

    Nathalie, Bruno’s grandmother, and Father’s mother, loves singing and drama

  • Grandfather from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Grandfather

    Grandmother's husband, proud of Father's role in the Nazi Party

  • Pavel from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Pavel

    Elderly Auschwitz prisoner and former doctor who works in Bruno’s house and heals his knee

  • Beautiful Woman from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Beautiful Woman

    Eva Braun, Hitler’s lifelong girlfriend whom he brings to Bruno’s house for dinner, is unnamed in the novel

  • Maria #2 from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Maria

    The family’s maid

  • Lars from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    Lars

    The family’s butler

Featured Props

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Bed
    Bed
  • Bed
    Bed
  • Fence
    Fence
  • Ground
    Ground
  • House
    House
  • Room
    Room
  • Room
    Room
  • Suitcase
    Suitcase
  • Towel
    Towel
  • Tower
    Tower
Print this Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

Discuss student thoughts concerning the following themes:

  • Innocence vs. Ignorance
  • Boundaries
  • Family & Friendship
  • Nationalism
  • Complicity
  • Gender Roles

Opening Discussion

Discuss the following:

  • What do you know about the Holocaust?
  • What do you know about Auschwitz?
  • Who was the "The Fuhrer" and what does the actual word mean?
  • Knowing that the novel is set during WWII, who do you think the boy in the striped pajamas is?
  • Based on the title, make a prediction about what the story will be about.
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Character Map
    Character Map

    Begin at the start of the novel, and make additions throughout the unit.

    View Activity
  • Make a Plot Diagram
    Conflict and Plot

    Complete at the end of the novel.

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic Strip or Storyboard
    Themes & Symbolism

    Complete after class discussion.

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Graphic Novel (Extension / Modification)

    Create a short Graphic Novel to summarize the book (1 panel per chapter).

  • Extension / Modification
    Poster (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Poster to illustrate setting and/or imagery in the novel.

  • Extension / Modification
    Mind Map (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Mind Map to compare and contrast the novel and the film.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Discuss the followings:

  • What were the main themes and lessons in "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"?
  • How were the main characters different from each other?
  • What connected or bonded the main characters together?
  • What is the difference between ignorance and innocence? What are some examples from the novel?
  • What is the meaning of "complicity" and how does it play a role in the novel and in history?
  • What is "nationalism" and what are the positive and negative side effects of nationalism?
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Pixton Activity: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 1 Character Map

Featured Layouts

  • Character Map

Intro

Determining character traits is an important skill necessary to understanding the conflicts and themes of the plot. The characteristics that make up the main character and supporting characters help shape the outcome of the narrative.

Instructions

Choose three of your favorite characters from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and create a Character Map for each one.

  • It's important to add as many details as you can to all the parts of the map.
  • Include an appropriate illustration based on the character traits outlined in the novel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Character Map

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The character map is thoughtful; descriptions are detailed and informative. The character map is fully developed; accurate details and insightful descriptions. The character map is complete; descriptions are simple and settings are accurate. The character map includes basic details, but is not fully developed. The character map does not accurately reflect the characters.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• summary is clear and highly detailed
• descriptions are thoughtful and highly developed
• significant details that make characters unique and dynamic
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• summary is clear and accurate
• logical descriptions that clarify and develop the idea
• characters are similar; includes relevant details
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• summary is short, but accurate
• descriptions are simple and consistent
• characters similar to description
• some relevant ideas
• summary has several errors
• descriptions are brief and lack detail
• characters vaguely looks like description
• often very brief
• summary is has significant errors
• descriptions are difficult to follow
• characters do not look like description
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence • proper organization
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total
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Pixton Activity: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 2 Conflict and Plot

Featured Layouts

  • Plot Diagram

Intro

Track conflict and key events throughout the reading and complete the plot diagram at the end of the novel.

Instructions

Summarize The Boy in the Striped Pajamas using a Plot Diagram:

  • Include a brief description and an illustration of each point on the plot diagram (introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion).
  • Identify the key points that are important to that specific point in the story.
  • Think about quotes that could be used to help create meaning in each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Conflict and Plot

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The plot diagram is focused, with advanced use of language/ideas. The plot diagram is accurate, well developed, with consistent use of details. The plot diagram is complete and accurate; lacks consistent use of specific details. The plot diagram is basic; has several errors,or lacks detail. The plot diagram is inaccurate and difficult to follow.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• summary is clear and highly detailed
• descriptions are thoughtful and highly developed
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• summary is clear and accurate
• logical descriptions that clarify and develop the idea
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• summary is short, but accurate
• descriptions are simple and consistent
• some relevant ideas
• summary has several errors
• descriptions are brief and lack detail
• often very brief
• summary is has significant errors
• descriptions are difficult to follow
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • varies language to develop meaning
• varies sentence structure for effect
• images and characters have impact on the meaning of the panel
• language is clear with some variety
• varies sentence structure
• makes attempts to use descriptive language
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structure with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• some variety in sentence length and type
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence (beginning, middle, end) • proper organization
• sequence is highly effective and has purpose
• all panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• logical sequence
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• consistent attention to sequence
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• some attention to sequence
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• no attention to sequence
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total

Example Plot Diagram

Plot Diagram "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" by Student
ExpositionBruno comes home to find his maid, Maria, packing to move the family from Berlin to Auschwitz. Bruno is heartbroken and begs to not leave Berlin but his parents won't negotiate. Main ConflictBruno does not like living in "Out With" or Auschwitz. The house is smaller and less exciting to explore. However, he begins to explore the forest around the house and encounters the Auschwitz camp, eventually meeting "the boy in the striped pajamas". Rising ActionBruno runs into a gate and fence at the edge of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and meets Shmuel, "the boy in the striped pajamas". They are the same age and decide to meet every day. While Bruno does not at first understand the concentration camp or Shmuel's imprisonment, they become very close friends. ClimaxAfter Bruno's mother and father have increasing tensions over their living situation at Auschwitz, Bruno and his mother and sister will move back to Berlin. First, Bruno and Shmuel want to plan an adventure to find Shmuel's father. Bruno dresses like the other Auschwitz prisoners and sneaks under the fence to join Shmuel in their adventure. Falling ActionIn the concentration camp, Bruno is afraid, but he refuses to abandon his friend in his search for his missing father. Shmuel and Bruno get caught up in a crowd of prisoners and get shoved into what they do not yet realize is a gas shower. They are ordered to remove their clothers and are shoved into an even smaller room where the door is locked. DenouementBruno, Shmuel and the other prisoners are killed in the gas shower. Bruno's parents search for Bruno for a year, until one soldier finds his clothes outside of the fence before he changed into the "striped pajamas". Bruno's parents search every option until they accept what really happened to Bruno. Shortly after, the war is over and Americans capture the Auschwitz soldiers. Bruno's father feels so guilty for what he has done, he readily accepts his capture.

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Pixton Activity: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 3 Themes & Symbolism

Featured Layouts

  • Comic Strip
  • Storyboard

Intro

Discuss student thoughts concerning the following themes and symbols:

  • "The Fury"
  • "Out With"
  • Striped Pajamas
  • The Fence
  • Innocence vs. Ignorance
  • Boundaries
  • Family & Friendship
  • Nationalism
  • Complicity
  • Gender Roles

Instructions

In a Comic Strip or Storyboard, illustrate at least three of the major themes and/or symbols:

  • Write the symbol or theme in the panel title
  • Create an image that summarizes the theme or symbol
  • Include dialogue or a description that fits the theme or symbol

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Themes & Symbolism

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The theme is highly developed; examples have significant purpose and are highly detailed. The theme is well developed; examples are specific and provide ample support. The theme is briefly discussed; examples are accurate but not fully explained. The theme is poorly discussed; vague or irrelevant examples. The theme is not identified; lacks any supporting examples.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• develops ideas clearly and logically with details, examples, and descriptions
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• logical descriptions or examples clarify and develop the ideas
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• examples or descriptions are simple and consistent
• few relevant ideas
• examples or descriptions may be poorly developed or illogical
• ideas are not developed
• few details or descriptions
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence • proper organization
• examples are properly referenced
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• examples are not/improperly referenced
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• examples are not referenced
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total

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