The Gizella Abramson Teaching the Holocaust Conference East

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The Gizella Abramson Teaching the Holocaust Conference East

November 15, 2023 @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Harnett County Schools Gentry Educator Development Center

From 8-4 PM at the Harnett County Schools Gentry Educator Development Center in Erwin, NC, ELA and Social Studies teachers from grades 6-12 will hear from a Holocaust survivor, learn from experts in the field, experience hands-on lessons, and explore resources for teaching the Holocaust. Public school classroom teachers will have their substitute paid for if attending the conference.

Before attending this workshop, we recommend that you watch the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum The Path to Nazi Genocide if you have not already done so, as it will give you historical context for the time period of the Holocaust. It is a four part series on You Tube and is under forty minutes to watch for the entire documentary. Access the link below to begin watching the video:

THE PATH TO NAZI GENOCIDE

The Gizella Abramson Teaching the Holocaust Conference East Agenda

Below, you will see the agenda for this conference, which will also have all of the presentations and files embedded for your use by the day of the workshop.

Contact Information for the Conference Facilitators: 

Lauren Piner, Region 1 Director: pinerl@pitt.k12.nc.us

Lee Holder, Region 2 Director: historyhawk308@gmail.com

Jennifer Boleyn, Region 1 Co-Regional Director: boleynj@pitt.k12.nc.us

Lindsay Jones, Region 2 Co-Regional Director: ltjones@ncpschools.net

Gracen Banning, Region 3 Co-Regional Director: gbanning@wcpss.net

Bettina Pope, Region 4 Co-Regional Director: bpope@wcpss.net

AGENDA ITEMS LINKS TO RESOURCES USED

8:00-8:15: Introductions/Housekeeping

8:15-9:15: Challenges of Escape, Christina Chavarria, USHMM Program Coordinator

Why didn’t the Jews just leave? Students often ask this question when they begin their study of the Holocaust, so this lesson incorporates primary sources, survivor testimony, and historical facts to help answer this complex question. By the end of the lesson, students may change their question to “How could so many of the Jews have managed to leave Germany?” USHMM Program Coordinator Christina Chavarria will share this foundational lesson to help teachers avoid simple answers to complex questions.

9:15-9:30: Break

9:30-10:45: Breakout Session #1 (Teachers Choose One): 

Guidelines and Photo Narrative Lesson 

In this session, teachers will explore the USHMM’s Guidelines for Teaching the Holocaust and a lesson using historical photographs from the USHMM’s collection that teachers can use in their classrooms, no matter the age or subject. Teaching Holocaust history demands a high level of sensitivity and a keen awareness of the complexity of the subject matter, and these resources and lessons will help teachers explore responsible pedagogy and help students answer how and why the Holocaust happened. Teachers who are new to teaching the Holocaust are especially encouraged to attend this session, but all teachers who are not familiar with the Guidelines or this introductory lesson to teaching the Holocaust are welcome. 

9:30-10:45: Breakout Session #1 (Teachers Choose One): 

Some Were Neighbors and Deconstructing the Familiar Lesson 

How did non-Jewish individuals respond to what was happening to their Jewish neighbors during the

Holocaust? How did fears, pressures, and motivations shape their decisions? In this lesson, students will examine examples of individuals’ choices from the “Neighbors” section of the Some Were Neighbors online exhibition and think critically about the fears, pressures, and motivations that might have shaped behaviors.  This activity has students examine photographs from the Holocaust which may or may not be familiar to them. By examining the photos, first without a caption and then with a caption, students see the behaviors of ordinary individuals and think about the pressures and motives that might have shaped the behaviors. Looking at the events of the Holocaust through the theme of collaboration and complicity provides educators with a unique understanding of why and how the Holocaust occurred.

9:30-10:45: Breakout Session #1 (Teachers Choose One): 

Americans and the Holocaust: Refugees and Rescuers: The Courage to Act Lesson

In this lesson, students will explore the intertwined personal stories of Jewish refugees who attempted to flee to the United States and the American rescuers who intervened on their behalf. Using a Jigsaw strategy that will allow students to delve deeply into the story of one refugee, students will come to understand how circumstances of time, place, and opportunity in many cases limited the ability of Americans to help and refugees’ ability to escape. This lesson is recommended for those teachers who have more time to teach about the Holocaust and can help their students do a deeper dive into the challenges faced by the refugees and the rescuers. 

10:45-11:00: Break

11:00-12:15: Breakout Session #2 (Teachers Choose One): 

Interactive Timeline Lesson 

How can teachers bring the study of the Holocaust into their classrooms in an engaging way that puts the learning in the students’ hands? This highly-adaptable lesson will help teachers present the chronology of the Holocaust in all its complexity, and it will help students understand the history of the Holocaust and how and why the Holocaust happened. Teachers just beginning to teach about the Holocaust should consider coming to this session to learn how to teach the history of the Holocaust and how it impacted the choices that people made, but anyone who is not familiar with the timeline activity are also encouraged to choose this session.

11:00-12:15: Breakout Session #2 (Teachers Choose One): 

History of Antisemitism and the Holocaust Lesson

 Using resources from the USHMM and an interactive Google slides presentation for students, this lesson will walk participants through a history of antisemitism, Nazi racism, and connections to antisemitism today. Helping students understand how and why the Holocaust happened and how antisemitism manifests itself today in our world, including in North Carolina, are key takeaways from this lesson.

11:00-12:15: Breakout Session #2 (Teachers Choose One): 

Propaganda in the Holocaust Lesson 

How did words, images, and other techniques shape the general public’s thinking in Nazi Germany? What are some ways participants can engage their students in discussion related to antisemitism and hatred? Participants will discuss propaganda and take part in an activity that will help implement the study of Nazi propaganda in their classrooms.

12:15-1:15: Lunch on your own

1:15-1:45: Introduction to the Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act Curriculum Resources

As a whole group, we will explore the process for creating the curriculum resources for the Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act, the intended use for the curriculum resources, and other information about the legislation. 

1:45-2:45: Social Studies and ELA teachers breakout sessions

ELA and Social Studies teachers will break into different groups and rooms to explore content-specific resources for teaching the Holocaust. Teachers will also explore the new North Carolina Council on the Holocaust website and the resources available on it.

2:45-3:00: Break

3:00-3:45: Holocaust Survivor Speaker Alexander “Lex” Silbiger

Participants will hear Lex share his story of life under Nazi occupation, his attempts to seek asylum, and his refugee experiences which brought him to the United States and North Carolina.

3:45-4:00: Q & A, Evaluations

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