Posted on August 17th, 2015 by Rachel
Yesterday afternoon, Rachel Kassman (Development and Marketing, Intern Wrangler, and Official Candy Provider), asked me to write a final blog about the Summer Teachers Institute (STI) that occurred a few days ago. In a nutshell, the STI is an annual workshop that provides educators the tools and resources to teach the Holocaust to their own students. The topic changes, and this year, the focus was on Auschwitz. I helped prepare for it by doing administrative tasks such as making copies and folders for each participant, but this is really our Deputy Director, Deborah Cardin’s baby.
This year’s Summer Teachers Institute flyer
In the last 24 hours, I began thinking about all the things I could ramble about and decided to keep the spotlight on the purpose of this workshop: the educators and their students. One of my post-STI duties was to go through the teacher evaluations and analyze the results. The evaluation was in the form of a survey broken down by each session with attendees marking a 1 for the lowest score to a 4 for the highest score. Here are some statistics for you:
*100% of the participants gave Louise Géczy, the Senior Project Coordinator at The John Carroll School, the highest score citing her presentation to be “valuable” and “eye-opening.”
*100% of the participants gave the highest score in their overall experience at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the tour of their permanent exhibit.
*95% of the participants gave the two highest marks (3 or 4) on all the sessions on the first day, 92% of the participants gave the two highest marks on all the sessions on the second day, and 89% of the participants gave the two highest marks on all the sessions on the last day.
*When responding to survivor testimonies and what participants saw at the USHMM, the words “powerful,” “moving,” and “touching” were commonly used.
*When responding to speakers, the words “informative,” “knowledgeable,” and adjectives such as “wonderful” and “fascinating” were commonly used.
“At first, I thought this would be relatively simple, as I’ve visited before and studied the Holocaust rather extensively. But touring the exhibits brought me to pieces emotionally, and I can definitely relate to my students’ upheavals in studying the Holocaust.”
To end this blog post, here’s a short anecdote for you:
On the second day of STI, the location of the workshop was being held at the USHMM. STI provided buses at two stops, but I chose to meet the group at the museum since I would be staying in DC after. On that particular morning, I either forgot to set my alarm or slept through it, waking up late and scrambling out of my house. By the time I arrived two hours late sweating, and rushing through the metal detector, a very nice security officer pulls me aside and simply states he needs to do a random inspection. Instinctively, I start opening my purse, but he says it’s not necessary. Instead, he grabs a special piece of paper, rubs it on my red Rebecca Minkoff, and feeds it through a machine.
“Can I ask what that does?” I ask timidly.
“It checks your bag for explosive residues, which yours does not have,” he says as he’s reading the results.
I don’t think much of it as I hurriedly searched for Deborah in the lobby. During lunch, I tell the other interns about what happened, knowing I feel something but unsure of what that emotion exactly is. Someone jokes, “It’s because you’re Asian! None of us got randomly inspected.” But what I felt wasn’t a race issue- I’m used to being stereotyped. As the interns approached the main entrance of the museum to re-enter after lunch, I notice two security or police officers walking around outside and three more managing the security inside. That’s when I knew what that feeling was.
Permanent Exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
In all of the museums I’ve visited, none has a tighter security than the USHMM. I felt such sadness and disheartenment that this place of education and living memorial has to be strict in security due to antisemitism that still occurs today, 70 years after the end of World War II. At the same time, I felt hopeful that I was attending a workshop with dedicated and passionate educators who were spending three days out of their summer vacation to learn how to better teach their students.
So, to Rev. Robert Albright, Judith Cohen, Louise Géczy, Dr. Lauren Granite, Josh Headley, Heller Kreshtool, Shiri Sandler, Rabbi Josh Snyder, Joseph White, and every single educator who attended at least one day of this year’s STI: thank you, thank you, thank you, for loving our younger generation. To me, you’re not just teaching about the pain and atrocity that occurred years ago, but you’re fighting antisemitism, and teaching kids how to be compassionate and kindhearted.
For other educators who could not join us this year, here are some resources from this year’s Summer Teachers Institute:
Centropa: Where Jewish history has a name, a face, a story
USHMM: Resources for Educators
Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
Graphic Novels recommended by Josh Headley:
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Moving Pictures by Kathryn and Stuart Immonen
Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco
Palestine by Joe Sacco
Jerusalem by Boaz Yakin and Nick Bertozzi
Zahra’s Paradise by Amir and Khalil
Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier, Greg Salsedo, and Marc Lizano
Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv by Jack Baxter, Joshua Faudem, and Koren Shadmi
A blog post by Education Intern Eden Cho. To read more posts by interns click HERE.
Posted on August 15th, 2013 by Rachel
The JMM convened our annual Summer Teachers Institute on July 29 at Chizuk Amuno Congregation. This three-day program focusing on Holocaust education was devoted to the theme, Confronting Genocide: Heroism During the Holocaust. The following are program highlights:
For our first day, we invited Wanda Urbanska of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation to speak about Jan Karski, a Polish diplomat who tried to alert world leaders about the horrors of the Holocaust. Her presentation included a review of the complex history of Poland as well as details of the dramatic exploits of Jan Karski which included smuggling himself into the Lodz Ghetto as well as a transit camp where he witnessed first-hand Nazi atrocities towards Jews.
Participants listening to Wanda Urbanski’s presentation.
Thanks to the generosity of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation, each participant received a copy of Karski’s book, Story of a Secret State, published originally in 1944. An afternoon presentation by educator Jonathan Willis demonstrated how teachers can create lesson plans based on the book that integrate Common Core standards.
In the afternoon, teachers were riveted as World War II veteran Sol Goldstein shared his experiences in such seminal events as the D-Day landing, the Battle of the Bulge, and the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp.
For many teachers, it was the first time that they had heard testimony from a liberator and his presentation complemented the morning presentation and emphasized the theme of “Heroism During the Holocaust.”
We spent our second day in Washington, DC at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition to viewing the permanent exhibit, we also were able to tour a new exhibit Some Were Neighbors: Complicity and Collaboration During the Holocaust. This powerful exhibition documents the actions of ordinary individuals – not Nazis – who participated in a wide range of terrible acts against Jews including looting Jewish businesses, purchasing stolen property at auctions, and even taking part in the shooting squads of Jews in Eastern Europe. One of the most powerful features of the exhibition are interviews with Jewish survivors who talk about how their former friends and neighbors turned on them as well as with non-Jews who describe their participation in the Holocaust as train conductors and shooting squad members.
An afternoon presentation by USHMM scholar, Dr. Ann Millin, focused on an on-line resource created as a companion to the exhibition. Dr. Millin demonstrated many valuable features of the website which includes a vast array of educational resources.
The last day of the workshop took place at the JMM. Teachers toured our historic synagogues as well as one of our exhibits, Zap! Pow! Bam! which provided context for our two morning sessions. Poly High School teacher Joshua Headly facilitated a session on teaching the graphic novel Maus in the classroom which was followed up by a presentation by Kristin Schenning, education director at the Maryland Historical Society, on the topic of propaganda.
The day concluded with survivor testimony by Edith Cord who was a hidden child during the Holocaust.
Once again we were delighted by the response and feedback we received from teachers. Comments such as “Thank you for making me think deeply about the Holocaust and how to teach it” and “I feel better equipped to tackle the daunting task of teaching the Shoah” demonstrate the extent to which our Summer Teachers Institute provides a high quality educational experience for teachers. The JMM is grateful to our program partners: The Baltimore Jewish Council, Maryland State Department of Education, and Chizuk Amuno Congregation; and we are most appreciative of the ongoing support of our generous sponsors, Judy and Jerry Macks.
This year’s group of participating educators was outstanding, true superheroes!
A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts by Deborah, click here.
Posted on June 19th, 2013 by Rachel
The Jewish Museum of Maryland is pleased to announce two summer programs for educators interested in furthering their knowledge of Holocaust history and education. Once again, we are partnering with the Baltimore Jewish Council (BJC) and the Maryland State Department of Education for our annual Summer Teachers Institute taking place July 29-31. This year’s theme is Confronting Genocide: The Holocaust and Beyond.
The program will take place at three venues: our first day is at Chizuk Amuno Congregation; the second at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (we provide bus transportation); and the third is at the JMM. Speakers include an educator from the Jan Karski Educational Foundation who will share educational resources with participants; a scholar from the USHMM who will talk about their newest exhibit, Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration and Complicity During the Holocaust; a Holocaust survivor and liberator who will share personal testimony about their experiences; and master teachers who will share pedagogical strategies for developing lesson plans. In addition to touring the USHMM’s permanent and new exhibits, participants will also have the chance to see the JMM’s most recent exhibit Zap! Pow! Bam! The Golden Age of Superheroes which will serve as inspiration for sessions on propaganda and teaching Maus.
Teachers at last year’s Summer Teachers Institute listening to educator Joyce Witt.
Our Summer Teachers Institute has become a cornerstone of our Holocaust education program. Comments such as “Thank you again for providing wonder-filled and inspirational information, stories, materials, educational ideas, etc., etc. We so appreciate being included in all your terrific programs” are indicative of the outstanding feedback we receive from participants year after year.
While space is quickly filling up, there are still some slots available. To register, applications are available on our website jewishmuseummd.org/summerteachersinstitute. For more information about the program, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New this year is a second summer workshop, the result of a partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, the BJC, and Baltimore City Schools. We are pleased to offer a five-day course August 5-9 taking place at the JMM focusing on Holocaust and Human Behavior. This program is open to high school teachers (who teach in any school) who plan on teaching a dedicated Holocaust course in the upcoming year.
Registration is through Facing History and Ourselves: facinghistory.org/professionaldevelopment.
The JMM is proud to serve as an educational resource for teachers on Holocaust education. If you teach or are just interested in the subject matter, please feel free to join us this summer!
A blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. Read other posts by Deborah here!