The Faithful Spy Archives

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Purpose of this Website

The Youth Advocacy Department of SDUSD is interested in building school spaces that are affirming and inclusive for all of our students. This is a team effort. And the effort lives in places where students themselves can be agents of positive change. . .but it is not easy work. Sometimes it is the hardest work there is because it often requires great courage in challenging and resisting existing social and systemic paradigms.

This site is devoted to a man who sacrificed his own life in challenging social and systemic paradigms. And it revolves around a biographical graphic novel text called The Faithful Spy about the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The book is written and drawn by John Hendrix. The story centers primarily on the personal transformation of a devout religious leader (Bonhoeffer) with a significant amount of influence within German society. To be clear, Bonhoeffer was a flawed figure who's actions and motivations reveal a person of unquestionable heroism in one sense and who's inactions and statements on the record are yet problematic from a historical perspective.

Who was Dietrich Bonhoeffer? What does his life and pathway communicate to today's youth about courage? What were the existing hurdles that found him at a crossroads within his own society? What placed him in a unique position to leverage his power and privilege in a way that would help others and imperil himself? From a modern perspective, what parallels can be drawn between Bonhoeffer's pathway and the experiences of people today--youth and adults alike?

We wanted to begin exploring these questions by providing educators with resources they could use in the context of their own classroom instruction. Below are the raw materials that any educator (recommended grades 6-12) may use to build their own Google Classroom experience.

Please note: If you are an educator in SDUSD and would like to CLONE the already-prepared Google Classroom, please email a quick request to Mick at mrabin@sandi.net. If you are not in SDUSD, it is not possible to do the clone process, but you will find the pathway and all the components below. I've created a step-by-step job-aid for creating this G-Classroom from all of those components in the YouTube video--March Archives: Overview and Tips--directly below.

Pathway

STEP 1: Foundational Discussion

We recommend that educators ask their students what they already know about Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

Most secondary students have a degree of familiarity with Jews being targeted for genocide by the Nazis and, to some extent, the enormous cruelty and horror that the Nazis were responsible for; but few have read any anecdotal information beyond the Diary of Anne Frank and fewer still have ever had a chance to hear directly from a holocaust survivor or have a sense of the rise of German nationalism and the origins of fascism. Scroll down to access some videos and other primary sources for educators to use as foundational references for a group reading of The Faithful Spy.

We also recommend visiting the official The Faithful Spy website maintained by the publisher, Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams Press.

  • https://abramsbooks.com/product/faithful-spy_9781419728389/

STEP 2: Read and Discuss the Narrative of the book, The Faithful Spy with your class

The above link provides a curriculum guide and discussion questions that help educators facilitate strong conversations around the reading of The Faithful Spy. Additionally, we encourage educators to frame the reading of The Faithful Spy around topics and themes that relate to the identities and experiences of the students themselves (and of their peers).

Here is a short list of topics and themes that arise in The Faithful Spy as well as other texts that examine the human experience.

Choosing ONE of the themes from the above list--oppression--we could build a text-talk discussion that references a pivotal moment of the narrative in The Faithful Spy. Refer to pages 52 & 53 (see below left) for the sequence where John Hendrix outlines Bonhoeffer's very public articulation for resistance. Below right is a simulated class conversation that references this sequence. It starts with a question about Bonhoeffer breaking from church protocol and culminates with a question that prompts students about taking positive action.

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STEP 4: Plan for an online discussion with your own class, another classroom from your school, or a partner school.

This Google Classroom is designed to allow teachers from different classes/schools to facilitate collaboration and communication about student allyship, culturally responsive curriculum, and youth voice and empowerment. Before engaging in this discussion, all students should have A) read The Faithful Spy B) viewed the primary source video "John Hendrix," and C) discussed and reflected on the reading/viewing of A & B with their classmates.

You are welcome to clone this class and share as you see fit within SDUSD.

Please note: Educators may need to go to "Stream" section of the General settings (below) and select "Students can post and comment" if it's not selected in the general settings.

Faithful Spy Q&A Template

To the right of "1. Methods of Resistance" title, you can see three dots. If you hover right under those three dots, another three dots appear and one of the options is to "Edit" which will allow you to add more to the description.

Classwork #1 Methods of Resistance

1. In the "Question" section of your "Classwork" tab, paste this:

1. John Hendrix Prompt: Methods of Resistance

"On page 52, Dietrich Bonhoeffer crafts a bold statement outlining 3 methods that he hopes to inspire resistance against an oppressive government: 1) Question the state and its methods. 2) Aid the victims of state action. 3) Strike back.

What are ways that WE can follow Bonhoeffer’s playlist in responding to current forms of aggression against marginalized communities?"


2. In the "Instructions" section, paste this:

Synthesizing what you read in The Faithful Spy, viewed in the "John Hendrix" video, and your own life experiences, view John Hendrix's prompt (below) and compose a unique post.

Additionally, please respond to at least two other students' posts. Be sure to use academic language, proper punctuation, and respectful dialogue.

Attached is a discussion rubric and expectations for facilitating online communication.




Click on the above video, open it in Youtube, copy the URL, and paste it into your Google Classroom

Classwork #2 In the Pursuit of Liberation

1. In the "Question" section of the Classwork tab, paste this: 2. John Hendrix Prompt: In the Pursuit of Liberation

"On pages 86-92, we find Dietrich Bonhoeffer deliberating about how he--as a pacifist--can justify his role in plotting the murder of the tyrant. At this time, he feels that he has no other alternatives than to join the plot against Adolf Hitler. The brutality of the Nazis was proven over and over again, but very few Germans made attempts to challenge his tactics. Was Bonhoeffer’s decision justified? What would YOU have done? What would your motivations have been?"


2. In the "Instructions" section, paste this:

Synthesizing what you read in The Faithful Spy, viewed in the "John Hendrix" video, and your own life experiences, view John Hendrix's prompt (below) and compose a unique post.

Additionally, please respond to at least two other students' posts. Be sure to use academic language, proper punctuation, and respectful dialogue.

Attached is a discussion rubric and expectations for facilitating online communication.



Click on the above video, open it in Youtube, copy the URL, and paste it into your Google Classroom.


Discussion Rubric

Classwork #3 Changing Perceptions of the "Righteous Struggle"

1. In the "Question" section of the Classwork tab, paste this: 3. John Hendrix Prompt: Changing Perceptions of the "Righteous Struggle"

"Bonhoeffer recognized the existential threat that Hitler posed to Germany, his own country, as well as to its own people. But Bonhoeffer had committed to engaging in a plot that carried extreme risks. Can you think of moments in our history in the USA when individuals undertook great risks on behalf of a righteous cause? What did they risk? Can you think of instances in our own history when the perception of a cause that was once called righteous was downgraded to “less than righteous?” How and why have perceptions of certain righteous causes evolved over our history?"


2. In the "Instructions" section, paste this:

Synthesizing what you read in The Faithful Spy, viewed in the "John Hendrix" video, and your own life experiences, view John Hendrix's prompt (below) and compose a unique post.

Additionally, please respond to at least two other students' posts. Be sure to use academic language, proper punctuation, and respectful dialogue.

Attached is a discussion rubric and expectations for facilitating online communication.


Click on the above video, open it in Youtube, copy the URL, and paste it into your Google Classroom

Classwork #4 Acting in Solidarity

1. In the "Question" section of the Classwork tab, paste this: 4. John Hendrix Prompt: Acting in Solidarity"

"Bonhoeffer is an example of a historical figure who was moved to take action against injustice despite the injustice not having any direct effect on himself. Are there injustices that you see around you that may not affect YOU directly, but that you feel an urgent need to address? In what ways can you act with solidarity on behalf of people or entities that do not share your privilege?"


2. In the "Instructions" section, paste this:

Synthesizing what you read in The Faithful Spy, viewed in the "John Hendrix" video, and your own life experiences, view John Hendrix's prompt (below) and compose a unique post.

Additionally, please respond to at least two other students' posts. Be sure to use academic language, proper punctuation, and respectful dialogue.

Attached is a discussion rubric and expectations for facilitating online communication.


Click on the above video, open it in Youtube, copy the URL, and paste it into your Google Classroom

Additional resources:

Dietrich Bonheoffer: The Church and the "Jewish Question"

An essay expanding on the complicated motivations of Bonhoeffer as expressed in his writing and teaching. "Bonhoeffer still believed that the 'Jewish question' would be resolved [not through policies grounded in equity] but ultimately through the conversion of the Jews."

How to Find Your Visual Voice

Faithful Spy author/Illustrator, John Hendrix talks about drawing, visual culture, and his philosophical approach to illustration and idea generation.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Memories and Perspectives

A collection of interviews about Dietrich Bonhoeffer as recounted by those who actually knew him.

Bonhoeffer Research and Creative Process Deep-Dive

Explore the creative pathway that John Hendrix travelled in the creation of The Faithful Spy. It digs into the artistic and literary decisions he made as the project evolved.

The John Hendrix Website

A glimpse into the design and imagery conjured by the mind of John Hendrix.

The Faithful Spy Wakelet

A collection of resources educators can use to explore The Faithful Spy. Wakelet created by Joanna Sargent in Poway Unified.

Holocaust Survivor Testimonials / Memoirs

A curated YouTube playlist with a growing amount of video testimonials from Holocaust survivors including some local San Diegans.


FREE copy of The Faithful Spy


OK, if you're here for your free copy, you'll have to jump through this here single hoop (while supplies last):
1.
Register for a free copy of The Faithful Spy that I'll send you. My copies are NOT in hand yet, but as soon as I receive them, I'll send you a copy through school mail. Visit the link to this G-Form and fill it out.