Starters and Plenaries


Key question setting

Students can be the ones who set the question or enquiry for a lesson. Show the students a clip and ask them what questions it helps them to answer. They can then think about other questions that they would like to ask as the start of an enquiry. Clips can be chosen to introduce particular topic areas, such as Kristallnacht. Use the topic map as a guide to the content of the clips.

The 5 Ws

An old favourite - choose a clip that will help to give a lead into the topic and ask the students to ask the questions "Who? What? Why? Where? When?" about the clip.  Which of the 5 Ws are asked can depend upon their relevance for the chosen clip. This is a useful way to get students to think about a particular area at the start of a lesson.

Directed Questions

Many of the clips are suitable to be played to students at the start of the lesson. Give students specific questions to answer, based on the content of the clips. It's simple but it does work.


Play a relevant clip in stages, asking the question "What is he/she talking about?" or "What are they describing?".  Play the clip section by section, or even sentence by sentence as the students share ideas.


This only really works with very short clips. Sections of video of different people talking about the same topic can be isolated and played, asking students to identify the similarities and differences.

Empathy Exercises

More simple but very effective. Ask students to work out how the circumstances a survivor describes in a particular section of video must have made that person feel at the time.



The video files can be used in numerous ways for lesson plenaries. Choosing clips that link with any particular aspects of the Holocaust that have featured in lessons will allow for effective review.  Students can pick out things they understand from a clip, or the things they recognise from the lesson. These are a few specific ideas that teachers have found useful as a starting point.

What would you want to know?

Ask the students to consider the objectives of the lesson. Tell them that you are about to watch a video clip of a survivor telling part of their story. Ask the students to discuss in pairs what they hope the clip will tell them, or what question in particular they want answered. Watch the clip and then ask the students to explain whether it answered their question or not. For very able students, ask 'how far' it answered their question.


Tell the students they are going to watch a video clip and they should make notes, separated according to what they already 'knew' and what is 'new' to them. They then feed back this information to the class. This is an excellent technique for students to review what they already know and assimilate new information effectively. When using the film clips as a plenary to a Holocaust lesson, most of the information should be 'knew'. This is not a problem! The effectiveness of the task is in making students aware of what they have already learnt.

Can you identify...

Obviously you will preview the clips you use. One way to keep students focused is to tell them how many ways the clip may answer your key question or relate to your objectives. Tell the students that the clip answers the question in X number of ways and ask them to try to identify all of them. This is effective in ensuring focus and establishing the variety of experiences in the clips.