Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hi Everyone

I have been pretty much a lurker these last couple of weeks. I arrived home in time to go to Columbia, MO to do a demonstration on podcasting in front of some teacher consultants. I then had a couple of days to do some reading and writing in preparation for my writing project site's advanced institute where we are researching our local communities. We are using a book titled Writing: Our Communities. In order to build upon my NY experience, I spent three days researching the Jewish community in Springfield. I was surprised to find there has been some useful records kept at the Missouri State Library, as well as several brief historical accounts. As I move forward with the research, I hope to meet some of our local Jewish academics (yes they are here) who might be able to point me to some primary sources. I don't know what I will do with all of this, but opportunities will present themselves I am sure.

I have had time to read Night and Five Chimneys. A writing project fellow has promised to give me 21 copies of Night. This is exciting because I now have enough books to develop several activities related to the Holocaust. However, I am stuck as to how to begin. Anybody have any ideas? I'll be doing this with a senior English classes. I thought about having them do a general research paper on the Holocaust, followed with a research paper and powerpoint demo on one of the camps. We could then go into Night with discussions on a class blog. From this point I would have them create and present a mutigenre project. Does anybody have any suggeions on how to start this little campaign off? Is having them start off with a research paper ok? Some feedback from my more experienced fellows would be appreciated.

I am happy to see so many of you posting. I have read some wonderful stuff. If there is anyone out there needing my assistance on posting or getting involved email me at:

One last thing, it would be nice to know how some of you are integrating what we learned into your curriculum.


LeslieL said...

We are reading Night as a community "Big Read." We have several events planned, including a survivor from Albuquerque coming to speak (maybe you could locate one for your class), and we are going to have speakers (myself included) talk about Jewish culture and what Judaism means. I usually begin my Holocaust unit with a movie, "Swing Kids," which shows how kids were encouraged, bribed, and forced into the Hitler Youth. There are some documentaries that also may make an impression on them, such as Gerda Weissman Klein's video or Triumph of the Will (an example of propaganda). Of course, you could show them the video of Gisa and Irving. Hope that helps.

Valerie said...

Larry, I believe it is very important to start any Holocaust unit of study with research. Students must have a context and background knowledge before delving into this topic. I will call you to tell you what I do in my class. (It will be easier to explain than in writing, and then you can ask questions.) There's also a portion of what I do in the booklet of "Promising Practices," which I shared with my curriculum group.

Danielle said...


I have several materials that you might find useful for your class - much of it was my presentation at the seminar. Are you still planning on collaborating with the research? Email me if you want to talk more.


DebiEm said...

Larry - I find that using web searches as an introduction works really well, as it is both motivating and compelling.The web search I use is in the presentation booklet and is totally adaptable should one decide to use only bits and pieces.