Teaching The Diary of Anne Frank Play

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In October 1955, stage production of 'The Diary of Anne Frank' by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett premiered on Broadway. This lesson plan provides ideas for teaching this Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play to secondary students.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Summarize the play
  • Identify the characters in the play
  • Explain the impact the setting had on the characters
  • Describe the historical context of this play


This lesson will take 60-120 minutes.


  • chart paper
  • markers
  • poster board

Curriculum Standards


Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.


Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).


  • Annex
  • Holocaust

Lesson Instructions

To activate prior knowledge, create a K-W-L chart about the Holocaust with students. Students will work together to fill in the first two columns to determine what they know and what they want to learn. Return to the final column at the end of the unit of study so that students can indicate what they have learned.

Watch the video lesson Diary of Anne Frank by Albert Hackett & Frances Goodrich: Summary & Characters with students. Pause at 0:58 to ask:

  • Why was this play written?
  • What is the historical context of this play?

Continue watching the video. Pause at 2:18. Ask:

  • What are some conflicts among the characters living in the annex?
  • How are Miep Gies and Mr. Kraler different from the other characters in the play?

Watch the remainder of the lesson with students. Ask students the following questions:

  • Why do you think the playwright chose a nonlinear rather than a chronological structure for this play?
  • How does the setting impact the characters?
  • What are some of the emotions experienced by the characters in the play? How do you know?
  • What does Otto Frank learn from his daughter's diary?

Use the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.

Conflict Analysis

The play is filled with various examples of conflict, from the internal conflicts related to Anne growing up and developing her identity to the societal conflicts of anti-Semitism.

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