Information about the Holocaust – the systematic slaughter of millions of Jews, gypsies, Poles, Soviets, gays, people with disabilities, and those resistant to supporting Nazi Germany’s policies – is often first received by students as something akin to the plot of a bad horror novel. Their initial reaction to first learning of the Final Solution is often disbelief. The sheer magnitude of the atrocities, and the barbarism with which they were committed, is unthinkable. Yet the unthinkable did occur, and one of the many legacies left by the Holocaust is that we are bound by our humanity to fight hatred and stop atrocities. All humans deserve the right to live their lives in dignity and peace, and the Holocaust has illustrated only too well what can happen when that fundamental right is challenged. The lessons posed by the Holocaust offer a broad range of learning opportunities across the curriculum, from world history, literature, religion, and science, to psychology, character education, social responsibility, and other areas. The possibilities are limitless.
This year, Holocaust Remembrance Day will be observed on May 1. It’s a time to remember the victims, honor the courage of those who resisted the madness, and reflect on ways to end bigotry and intolerance. The lessons learned from the Holocaust must never be forgotten, especially as current genocides, such as that in Darfur, continue to plague the world.
This week’s Joann’s Picks column on the Gateway’s home page, www.TheGateway.org is featuring all-new resources on the holocaust. Peggy’s Corner examines additional holocaust resources and Peggy discusses important things to consider when tackling sensitive topics like this in the classroom. Both columns stress the value of presenting topics throughout the disciplines. Additional resources on the topic are presented and discussed on the Gateway’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Be sure to visit those pages regularly.
Discussions continue on last week’s theme of Tsunamis on both pages. All of the weekly Gateway columns and resource selections are archived on the following blog site: http://thegatewayto21stcenturyskills.blogspot.com/.
Resources covered in this week’s columns include:
The Diary of Anne Frank: Teacher’s Guide
Subjects: English, World history
This guide encourages students to regard Anne Frank's diary as both an historical document and a literary work. It is intended to provide middle school and high school teachers with strategies and materials that support classroom viewing and discussion of The Diary of Anne Frank, based on new information about Anne’s family, life, and death. Discussion questions, activities, reproducible worksheets, and assignment ideas are supplemented by an extensive listing of resources for further exploration. This resource was written in support of the 2010 PBS Masterpiece film adaptation of Frank's diary, addressing historical context, revised diary passages, and exploring the diary form. This resource was created by WGBH, the Boston PBS affiliate. WGBH is PBS’s single largest producer of educational TV programs and Internet content, and offers scores of lesson plans and other materials for classroom and home use.
Investigating the Holocaust: A Collaborative Inquiry Project
Subjects: English Language Arts, World history, Research skills
As students progress though this inquiry project, they explore a variety of resource texts, images, sounds, photos, and other artifacts as they learn about the Holocaust. Working collaboratively, they investigate the materials, prepare response to share orally with the class, and produce a topic-based newspaper to complete their research. This lesson was produced by ReadWriteThink, which offers free peer-reviewed lesson plans aligned to NCTE/IRA content standards.
A Holocaust Monument
Subjects: Math/Geometry, World history, Architecture
In this activity students use geometric shapes or forms to create a Holocaust monument. The lesson is appropriate after students have studied the Holocaust enough that they are ready to express some personal response to what they have learned. The activity is provided at three levels of increasing complexity. Level one uses simple shapes and is appropriate for elementary grades, level two utilizes three dimensional forms, and level three assumes that the students have some understanding of architecture. This activity is the product of the Florida Center of Technology (FCIT) at the University of South Florida’s College of Education. FCIT works with educators to integrate technology into the curriculum, and provides training opportunities as well as lesson plans and educational activities.
About The Gateway to 21st Century Skills
The Gateway has been serving teachers continuously since 1996. It is the oldest publicly accessible U.S. repository of educational resources on the Web and the oldest continuously operating service of its kind in the world. The Gateway is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and supported by over 700 quality contributors. The Gateway to 21st Century Skills is the cornerstone of the Global Learning Resource Connection (GLRC) which is a JES & Co. program.
About Joann Wasik- Author of Joann’s Picks
Joann is the Metadata Cataloger for The Gateway for 21st Century Skills. Her primary responsibilities for The Gateway include locating and cataloging standards-based K-12 lessons and activities for The Gateway, as well as writing the “Joann’s Picks” weekly column. Before joining The Gateway in 2006, Joann had been involved with numerous projects at the Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University, including virtual reference with the Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project; virtual reference competencies and education with the Digital Reference Education Initiative (DREI) project; and metadata cataloging with the Gateway for Educational Materials (GEM). Her previous experience also includes technology training and positions in academic libraries. She also conducts freelance research for business and educational clients. Joann holds B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in English from Boston College, and an M.L.S. degree from Syracuse University.
About Peggy James- Author of Peggy’s Corner
Peggy received her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from The University of Arizona, and continued on to earn her M.Ed. from the U of A as well. She has taught Physical Science and Chemistry at the high school level. She is working toward her endorsement in Gifted Education, and has been actively involved in coaching and volunteering in Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Decathlon. She has a passion for teaching critical thinking and creativity in the classroom. She has done work evaluating and aligning lesson plans to standards as a curriculum consultant with the National Education Association Health Information Network. She is very excited to help create a collaborative environment for educators to discover new resources that will enhance their teaching!
About the GLRC
About JES & Co.
JES & Co., a publicly funded 501(c) (3) education research organization, is a leader in research and deployment of education programs based on open standards. With 20 years of experience in interoperability and portability of educational resources, organizations around the world come to JES & Co. for leadership and guidance on education programs and initiatives. Since its establishment in the early 1990s, JES & Co. has led and managed The Achievement Standards Network (ASN), The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, The Gateway to 21st Century Skills (formerly known as GEM), the Dell Academy, the Intel Student Certification Program, and Microsoft’s Partners in Learning. For more information about JES & Co. or the Global Learning Resource Connection, visit www.JESandCo.org.