World War II and The Holocaust are often taught in classrooms, but how many of our students actually have that moment when they realize exactly what it means? They memorize the dates and names and then forget it after the test. It often saddens me when I hear of people talking about The Holocaust in the same manner they might refer to The Trojan War. What many students can't comprehend is that The Holocaust took place less than one hundred years ago.
At the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, a separate memorial was placed for the children that were killed. The memorial is extremely simple with just a few candles and mirrors. However, the message is clear: not only must we remember those that died, but the infinity mirrors are used to represent all those that will never be born.
It is those somber thoughts which make me want to complete this project I have begun. I am going to bring Holocaust survivors to classrooms through a Google Hangout on Air (GOA). I am currently messing around with a few different formats which include one long HOA or multiple short HOAs. Using the Connected Classroom Google Community, I have connected with another GCT and we are working together to create this learning experience for our students. I have also emailed a few organizations to help connect us with survivors. My hope is that we will be able to connect with classrooms that might not otherwise have the opportunity to hear first hand accounts.
The hardest part of this program, and future conversations, is that while these people persevered and survived The Holocaust, they are all senior citizens. My step-father is the son of a survivor and his father died about ten years ago of natural causes. We must hear their stories while they are still here to tell them. Future generations of students might become even more disconnected from the events of generations before them. It is important that we preserve the stories from people that lived through it to keep the memories alive and prevent history from being repeated.
Action Plan - Google Doc