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Two Ozarks Teachers Give Students Insight into the Holocaust

Publication: Springfield News Leader
Date: September 15, 2008

Summary: In an opportunity made possible through the Rural Sites Network, two southwestern Missouri teacher-consultants attended a seminar on teaching about the Holocaust. They've developed a curriculum to help students understand such horrendous events, and now they're teaching other teachers what they've learned.


Excerpt from Article

After lunch Friday, about 20 boisterous eighth-grade boys and girls piled into Maerke's classroom for an exploratory class on the Holocaust and World War II. He put them to work researching specific topics such as the Chelmno camp, Kristallnacht and the Manhattan Project.

Maerke's plan is for the students to research general context and then, gradually, in his words—"put some skin on it."

In a couple of weeks, they will be assigned an identity—provided by the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum—of a real child who lived in the Holocaust years. They will first get to know their identity before the war, when they were normal children with normal lives. Based on research, each student will assume the identity and journal as if living in Germany in the 1930s.

"You have to make it personal," Maerke said. "Facts, maps, numbers—they'll forget all of that."

Toward the end of the unit, it will be revealed to each student what happened to their identity.

Copyright © 2008 Springfield News-Leader. Reprinted with permission.
Trotter, Gregory. 2008. "Understanding the Holocaust." Springfield News-Leader, September 13.

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