Lesson Plan: The Ukrainian Famine/Genocide

Short story from: A Hunger Most Cruel, Olena Zvychayna

“ Without Doctors and Priests, without Graves and Crosses” ………… p.273 - p.284

  1. Hand out passage to participants.

  2. Read short story with these words in mind: intolerance, stereotypes, prejudices,discrimination, scapegoating, democracy and human rights, individual and collectiveresponsibility, bystanders, rescuers, perpetrators.
    Define the words. (15 minutes)

  3. Divide participants into six groups. Assign parts in each group.
    (Do this before handing out the story or while they are reading, as this will save time)

  4. Groups will have a choice of doing the following: (20 minutes)

    (a) You are investigative reporters and have read the above script. Start writing a feature story which would reveal one or more of the italicized words in section

    Feature stories deal with human interest, personal or historical issue and/or an expose.

    (b) You are an editor and are taking a position on the situation presented to you in the script.

    Editorial writing puts forward a position, supports it with researched facts, statistics, details andillustrations and then discusses what should be done about the situation. If you have any biasesconfirm them up front. (Keep italicized words and script in mind when composing the editorial)

    (c) Write a diamante poem, using one of the italicized words and script in mind.

    Line 1: consists of a subject noun
    Line 2: consists of adjectives about the subject noun
    Line 3: consists of participles that refer to the subject noun
    Line 4: consists of nouns that relate to the subject
    Line 5: consists of participles that refer to noun-opposite of the subject
    Line 6: consists of adjectives that tell about the noun opposite
    Line 7: consists of the noun-opposite of the subject.

    This diamante is an ideal form to use with a tangram pattern. Both tangram and diamante haveseven parts; both have geometric flavour. Designing the seven pieces into a shape thatcommunicates a message reinforcing the verbal message of the seven lines of the diamante is areal challenge.

    (d) Create a series of tableaux from the script that represent the italicized words.

    (e) Create a choral reading making sure italicized words are used in the choral reading in a dramatic fashion.

  5. Each group will briefly show or read or demonstrate the work that they have completed. (10 minutes)

Prepared by Oksana Kuryliw





Lesson Plan: Daily Life During the Ukrainian Famine/Genocide

The Holodomor


It is important for students to try to understand the tragedy of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933 on individual citizens and its consequences on the society in which they lived.


  1. A Hunger Most Cruel: The Human Face of the 1932-1933 Terror- Famine in Soviet Ukraine,
    A. Dimarov, Y. Hutsalo, O. Zvychayna. Language Lanterns Publications, 2002 (short stories)

  2. Kobzar’s Children, “The Rings”, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch Fitzherry & Whiteside, 2006.

Lesson Development:

1. Introduction: Show an excerpt from “Harvest of Despair” DVD, showing conditions of life inEastern Ukrainian villages in 1933. Specific attention should be placed on the plight of childrenduring the Famine/Genocide. A discussion on conditions of life and human rights of Ukrainians inSoviet Ukraine should follow by using a mind-mapping diagram.

2. Each student is to select one short story from the 2 resources listed above.

They are to read the story and then complete the chart enclosed. Instructions: Many important events took place in the story. Select the 5 events that you consider to be most significant and list them in the order in which they happened.

  1. ______________________________________________________________________
  2. ______________________________________________________________________
  3. ______________________________________________________________________
  4. ______________________________________________________________________
  5. ______________________________________________________________________

Of these events, which do you think is the:

Saddest? _____________________ least believable? ______________________

Happiest? _____________________ most believable? ______________________

Strangest? _____________________ most terrifying? ______________________

3. Place yourself as the main character in the story, write a letter to your aunt, explaining yourfeelings about your situation. (1 page)

4. Students are asked to depict their impressions of the story by drawing an image that most depicts how they felt, and write a one sentence caption to explain their drawing.

5. What do you think will be the consequences of these events on the life of the main character inthe story? Select 2 possible scenarios.


Prepared by Valentina Kuryliw



Short Story on the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide - The Holodomor

From A Hunger Most Cruel or Kobzar’s Children, “The Rings” (excerpt) :

Title of story: _________________________________________________________________

Author: _____________________________________________________________________

Description of the main character: ________________________________________________


Main Plot: __________________________________________________________________


Living Conditions: ____________________________________________________________


Victims were: _______________________________________________________________

Perpetrators were: __________________________________________________________

Henchmen were: ___________________________________________________________

Bystanders/Observers were: __________________________________________________

Rescuers were: ____________________________________________________________

Examples of Human Rights Abuse:

1. _________________________________________________________________________

2. _________________________________________________________________________

Examples of Discrimination:

1. _________________________________________________________________________

2. _________________________________________________________________________

Effect on human condition:



Two key items I learned from the story were:

1. _________________________________________________________________________

2. _________________________________________________________________________