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5 2 2 a safe heaven (social studies) TG

5.2.2

A Safe Haven
SUMMARY

This informational text describes
how the United States set up a shelter at a
former army base in Oswego, New York, for
more than 900 World War II refugees. The
information extends the lesson concept of
the risks people took to help others during
World War II.

LESSON VOCABULARY

concentration camps customs agents
Holocaust
kosher
quarantine
quotas
tours of duty

translator

INTRODUCE THE BOOK
INTRODUCE THE TITLE AND AUTHOR

Discuss with
students the title and the author of A Safe
Haven. Talk about the meaning of the word
haven as a shelter or refuge, and draw their
attention to the pictures on the cover. Based
on these factors, have students predict what
sort of “safe haven” the story is about.

BUILD BACKGROUND

Ask students to tell what
they know about the term refugee. Explain that
refugees are people who have to flee their
homes to find safety or refuge. Tell them that
World War II created many European refugees
who left their homes for safer places.
Have students whose families fled
difficult situations in their home countries
describe their experiences leaving their native
lands and coming to the United States.
PREVIEW/USE TEXT FEATURES

Have students
preview the book by skimming the headings
and text, looking at the photos, and reading
the captions. Point out the time line on page
3. Based on this preview, ask what students
expect to learn from reading the book.

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AUTHOR’S PURPOSE
MONITOR AND FIX UP

READ THE BOOK

SET PURPOSE Guide

students to set their own
purposes for reading the book. Review students’
predictions about what they will learn and what
they believe is the author’s purpose.

STRATEGY SUPPORT: MONITOR AND FIX UP

Have students monitor and fix up their
understanding as they read. At the end of
each section, have students write a sentence
summarizing the facts from that section.

COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
PAGE 3

What is the purpose of the time line
on this page? (to help the reader recognize the
progression of events in the book by putting
them in chronological order)
PAGE 6

What did Ruth Gruber do for the
refugees onboard the Henry Gibbins? (Gruber
acted as a translator for the refugees and
wrote down their stories.)
PAGES 12–13

How did the townspeople of
Oswego try to help the refugees at the
shelter? (They gave them things such as
clothing, bedspreads, and toys and talked to
them through the fence.)
PAGE 17

What was the author’s purpose
in describing the refugees’ futures as
“hopeless”? (Possible response: to show how
desperate and horrible the situation was for
them)

PAGES 20–21

How did the United States help
the refugees after the war ended? (The government gave visas to the refugees so they could
live in the United States. Seventy communities
in the country helped resettle refugees.)

A Safe Haven

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REVISIT THE BOOK
READER RESPONSE

1. Possible response: The author wanted to
document what happened to the Henry
Gibbins refugees. Page 21, paragraph 2
2. Possible responses: Learned: how the
refugees interacted with the soldiers, were
well-fed, and experienced mild discomforts
aboard the Henry Gibbins. Want to Know:
Answers will vary.
3. Possible response: The grocery store sold
kosher meats.
4. Possible response: Hitler taking power was
the most important event since none of
the other events that followed would have
occurred if he had not been in power.
EXTEND UNDERSTANDING

Have students skim
the headings in the book and discuss how the
titles helped them understand the information
in each section. Ask students to talk about
the purpose of the sections’ headings.

RESPONSE OPTIONS
WRITING

Have students imagine that they are
refugees living in the Oswego shelter in 1944.
Ask them to write diary entries in which they
describe what life is like at the shelter. Tell
them to explain the benefits of living in the
shelter, as well as the problems with living
under quarantine.

SOCIAL STUDIES
CONNECTION
Have students research
first-hand accounts of
European refugees who settled in the
United States during or after World War II.
Students can prepare reports on the refugees
and describe their journeys to America, how
they felt when they arrived here, where they
settled, and what their new lives were like.

Skill Work
TEACH/REVIEW VOCABULARY
List the vocabulary words on the board.
To reinforce the importance of using a
dictionary or glossary to define unfamiliar
words, ask: Which words are unfamiliar to
you? Where might you find the meanings of
those words? (glossary, dictionary)

TARGET SKILL AND STRATEGY
AUTHOR’S PURPOSE Remind students that
an author may write for different purposes—
to inform, to persuade, to entertain, or to
express feelings. Based on their previews,
ask students what they think the author’s
purpose was for writing A Safe Haven. Have
them provide examples to support their
conclusions.
MONITOR AND FIX UP Remind students
to monitor, or check, whether or not they
understand what they read. Tell them that if
they find they do not understand something,
one way to fix up their comprehension is
to quickly summarize the details they have
just read. Suggest that understanding what
they read will help students determine the
author’s purpose in writing all or part of the
selection. For example, students may want
to ask themselves at the end of a section,
“What is the author trying to tell me here?”
Students should then make a quick mental
summary of the facts they just read.

ADDITIONAL SKILL INSTRUCTION

GRAPHIC SOURCES Point out to students
that graphic sources, such as time lines,
pictures, and captions, can help them
understand the information presented in
the text. When students stop to make a
mental summary at the end of each section,
have them also think about how the graphic
sources add to their understanding of the
section.

A Safe Haven

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Name

A Safe Haven

Author’s Purpose
• An author’s purpose is the reason an author writes something. Some purposes an author may
have are to persuade, to inform, to entertain, or to express a mood or feeling.
• An author may have more than one purpose in writing a particular selection.

Directions Refer to the selection and answer the questions below.
1. Reread your answer to the first question in Reader Response. What other purpose do you think
the author had for writing A Safe Haven?

2. On pages 4 and 5, the author describes some ways in which the U.S. government failed to help
war refugees before it set up the shelter at Oswego. Why do you think the author describes
these failures?

4. On pages 17 and 19, the author includes questions in her descriptions of life at Oswego.
What do you think is the purpose of the questions in these sections?

© Pearson Education 5

3. Why does the author describe the many ways that Ruth Gruber helped the refugees aboard the
Henry Gibbins and at the Oswego shelter?

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A Safe Haven

Name

Vocabulary
Directions Use the vocabulary words to complete the crossword puzzle below.

Check the Words You Know
concentration camps
kosher
tours of duty

customs agents
quarantine
translator

Down
1. places used by the Nazis to imprison and
kill people they thought were inferior,
especially Jewish people
2. the term given to the Nazis’ systematic
killing of six million Jews during
World War II
3. numbers that tell how many people can
emigrate from different countries
4. someone who helps people communicate
with each other and is able to speak more
than one language

Holocaust
quotas

Across
4. the amounts of time soldiers serve
their countries
5. rule that keeps people from having contact
with other people for a period of time
6. people who inspect materials that travelers
bring into countries
7. made according to Jewish religious rules
for preparing food
1

2

3

© Pearson Education 5

4

5

6

7

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