Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

In the Kingdom of Night, Part 2

A Call to Action

Lisa Loughlin, Michell Eike | Published: March 18th, 2024 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course World Literature
  • Time Frame Time Frame 200-215 minutes
  • Duration More 4-5 class periods


This lesson revisits Elie Wiesel's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech from "In the Kingdom of Night, Part 1" lesson, but this time with a focus on analyzing what makes it a good speech. Students examine the calls to action in three speeches relating to the Holocaust. Students create a list of what makes a good speech great and compare that list to those speeches before writing their own Holocaust Remembrance speech in honor of Yom HaShoah to present to the class.

Essential Question(s)

Why is it important to learn history? How can we inspire change?



Students use the Round Robin strategy to create a list answering the question: What makes a great speech?


Students watch Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech and note what makes it a great speech.


Students read and Why-Light two Presidential Holocaust Remembrance Speeches and formalize their understanding of a call to action.


Students write their own Holocaust Remembrance speeches.


Students present their Holocaust Remembrance speeches.


  • Lesson Slides (Attached)

  • Speech 1 handout (Attached; one per student)

  • Speech 2 handout (Attached; one per student)

  • Speech Rubric handout (Attached; one per student)

  • Elie Wiesel’s Acceptance Speech handout (Attached; one per student)

  • Internet Access/Printer Access

  • Notebook Paper

  • Pens/Pencils

  • Highlighters

  • Smartboard/Projector/Printer Access

  • Copy Paper

  • Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman (optional)


10 Minute(s)

Introduce the lesson using the attached Lesson Slides. Display slide 3 to share the Essential Questions with students. Go to slide 4 to share the Lesson Objectives. Review each of these with students to the extent you feel necessary.

Transition to slide 5 and pose this question: What makes a great speech? Ask students to list 3-5 things on a sheet of notebook paper that make a great speech. Allow 2-3 minutes to complete this.

Display slide 6 and share the Round Robin strategy. Ask each student to share one thing from their list. As students share ideas, write those responses on the board. Remind students that if everything on their list has already been said, they can simply say, "Pass." This is a brainstorming activity that is quick, low stakes, and enables every student to have input.

Student responses will vary. But ensure that some variation of "call to action" is on the list. This concept will be further explained later in the lesson. This can be done in a number of ways. Consider asking the class the guiding questions below, as needed:

  • What might make a persuasive speech a good speech?

  • How could you get an audience to think about what you said in your speech, even after it’s over?

  • What is the purpose of persuasive speeches?


30 Minute(s)

Transition to slide 7. Have students get out their Elie Wiesel Acceptance Speech handout. Preview the activity with the students and explain that they are going to watch Elie Wiesel present this speech. Advise students to listen carefully and list the things he does to make this a good speech. Refer to the list that was created during the Engage portion of the lesson.

Display slide 8. Click the image to view the "1986 Nobel Peace Prizes" video (Clicking the image will open a browser tab to view the video). Start the video at the 3:02, and end the video at the 17:15 timestamp.

After students have watched the video, facilitate a brief discussion where students share their answers to the question that was on the previous slide: What things did Elie Wiesel do that made this a good speech?

Transition to slide 9. Have students find a partner or assign partners. Direct students to compare their notes from the speech with their partner. Invite them to answer the following questions:

  • What did you list that was the same in the written and the oral versions? Different?

  • What was the "why" for the things that differ?

  • Did you find anything we should add to our list from earlier? If so, what did you notice?

  • Is there anything you noticed today that you didn’t notice the first time we read this speech?

Allow 10 minutes for this activity or adjust as needed. Ask students to share out some things they noticed and listed. Facilitate a brief discussion and allow students to share out their answers but bring it back to a "call to action" (This will be the focal point of the lesson).


35 Minute(s)

Show slide 10. Ask students to make inferences about the quotes displayed: What do all of these quotes have in common?

Transition to slide 11. Explain what a call to action is and why it is important.

Ask students to review the Elie Wiesel Acceptance Speech again and ask them to identify where they see an inspiring call to action. Have them underline it.

Display slide 12 and distribute the Speech 1 and Speech 2 handouts. These speeches are also Holocaust Remembrance Speeches. Using the Why-Lighting strategy, have students read the speeches and highlight anything they think is important, profound, or that they have questions about. Have students use a pen or pencil to explain why they highlighted those things in the margins of their highlighted handout.

Allow 15 minutes to complete this or adjust time as needed.

Transition to slide 13. Have students work with their partners comparing their annotations. Invite them to answer the following questions:

  • What did both of you highlight that was the same? Different?

  • What was the "why" for the highlights that differ?

  • How do these two speeches compare to Elie Wiesel’s speech?

  • Where is the call to action in both of these speeches?

Direct students to underline the call to action in both speeches.

Allow 10 minutes to complete this or adjust time as needed. Ask students to share out some things they noticed or learned. Ask students to share what they underlined in both speeches.


65 Minute(s)

Display slide 14 and explain to students that they will be creating Holocaust Remembrance speeches of their own in honor of Yom HaShoah.

Transition through slides 15–16 to review the expectations for the remembrance speeches. Display slide 17 and distribute the Speech Rubric handout to each student. Review the rubric with the class.

Give students time to write their speeches (between 1 and 2 class periods), adjusting time as needed.


60 Minute(s)

Display slide 19 and have students present their speeches. Collect the students' speeches and use them to assess their understanding of a call to action.

Supplemental Resources