Holocaust Collection Classroom Activities

1. Since over 60 years have passed since the end of World War II, teachers may want to introduce Holocaust study with a K-W-L strategy to determine what students know and what questions they have. Knowledge may have come from films such as Schindler's List , The Pianist, or Sophie's Choice or from television programs such as those on PBS or the History Channel.

Since the study of the Holocaust covers many areas, teachers may want to focus on one or two. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum provides an outstanding web site with an enormous variety of resources, including a guide entitled Teaching About the Holocaust, a virtual map, an encyclopedia with a glossary, and prize-winning lesson plans.

2. Using the Holocaust Collection of books, teachers can ask students to choose a Holocaust role to explore further: someone who went into hiding; a person from the Warsaw ghetto or a concentration camp; someone who took risks in hiding or helping others; or a survivor. Students select a book from the category of their choice. If the class is large enough, pairs or small groups can explore a role, discussing the similarities and differences expressed in the books they have read. Individuals or groups work together to prepare an oral presentation to the class using visuals (copies or downloads of photographs perhaps), or write an article for a classroom magazine, or a Readers' Theater performance. As a result, the Holocaust can be seen through many points of view.

3. Important questions arise about what factors contributed to the Holocaust and whether a holocaust could happen again. Classroom strategies such as Discussion Webs and Agree? Disagree? help channel different points of view. Several web sites offer information on hate and tolerance and others compare the conflict in Darfur with the Holocaust: Holocaust Teacher Resource Center ; the Anti-Defamation League (see the ADL Curriculum Connections on preventing genocide) ; the Teaching Tolerance project of the Southern Poverty Law Center ;and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,

The number of excellent online Holocaust materials is vast. The following are only a selection.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Anti-Defamation League
The Holocaust Teacher Resource Center
Teaching Tolerance (The Southern Poverty Law Center)

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