Learning Narrative for Zoë Mitchell, Dartmouth Learning Network For Holocaust Education Week: Educators' Workshop

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Learning Narrative for Zoë Mitchell, Dartmouth Learning Network

For Holocaust Education Week: Educators' Workshop

Project based Learning & Integrating the Holocaust into the Curriculum

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Guest Speakers:

Norman Conrad, Director of Irena Sendler Foundation

Edna LeVine, Director of Atlantic Jewish Council
This workshop provided me with the chance to learn a little more about the experiences of victims and survivors of the Holocaust and the opportunity to learn about the many examples of "unsung heroes" that came as a result of the terrible actions and influence of the Nazis in Germany during the Second World War.  Discovering these 'Unsung Heroes' is an excellent way to continue to discover and tell the stories of Jewish people, other survivors and the victims, but also provides us all with the opportunity to continue to learn about tolerance, compassion and empathy at the same time.  Specifically learning more about Irena Sendler today and her efforts to rescue individuals from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942 was both, emotional, and inspiring.
Attending this workshop, I gained information, connections, resources and specific examples of ways to incorporate project-based learning about the Holocaust into my classes.  

A few of the valuable pieces I would like to share are the following organizations:

  • Atlantic Jewish Council (www.ajc.ns.ca), which has a wonderful website with access to free Holocaust Survivor stories & lesson plans - contact them to find out more

  • Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, which has information about many project-based learning that has been done across the country and around the world, with respect to the Holocaust, but also about other historical events and times (www.lowellmilkencenter.org)

  • Atlantic Jewish Film Festival taking place next week, November 13th- 16th in Halifax, NS, which presents stories of Jewish people, their lives and experiences through film

  • The Azrieli Foundation, (www.azrielifoundation.org) which collects, preserves and shares Holocaust Survivor Memoirs, produces intimate, personal profiles of published memoir authors and many other free resources to accompany these books and short films for learning purposes

Also, the following resources:

  • Life in a Jar, student-written play created as an Unsung Hero project-based learning unit in 1999 in Kansas, USA - playing in Halifax on November 7th and 8th, 2014

  • The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, Hallmark movie

  • The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs and other free resources available through the Azrieli Foundation (see above)

  • Voices into Action, free online educational program which explores human rights, genocides, immigration, understanding prejudice and discrimination and personal action with respect to these ideas (www.voicesintoaction.ca)

  • Last, but not least, Nova Scotia Archives, which will be hosting an exhibit with the Atlantic Jewish Council in January 2015 - schools will have the opportunity to come in and tour the exhibit

Finally, a few ideas and thoughts that stand out from my notes and the presentation on this day:

  • Irena's father's message to Irena before he died regarding compassion and helping others: "...if you see someone drowning, you jump into the water to save them, whether you can swim or not."

  • Unsung Heroes idea: creating project-based learning with students that allow them to discover, research and tell the stories of lesser known or unknown heroes of specific times or places and events

  • "The legacy and importance of these projects are that they change people, and therefore change the world" ~ Norman Conrad

  • Discovering Unsung Heroes and project-based learning, specifically with respect to history and social studies, promotes the idea of understanding diversity and tolerance outside of our own "bubble" of experience

  • These projects allow us to think about the abuse of power and the roles and responsibilities that individuals, organizations and nations have when confronted with civil rights violations and/or policies of genocide through the discovery of “ordinary” heroes within historical events

I would highly recommend that other educators that have not looked at the resources provided by these projects and organizations, check them out for use within their learning environments.

Respectfully submitted by:

Zoë Mitchell, Dartmouth Learning Network

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