Anne taught Holocaust to 6th, 7th, and 8th-graders in a Catholic school for about 15 years. She taught for three weeks each year, from one to two hours a day, using Literature and Religion periods. She would get the trunk during those three weeks, and used the trunk in these ways:|
1) She gave each student a copy of Tell Them We Remember and used that as a textbook during those three weeks. She liked this book because it devotes two pages to each of a wide variety of topics: Jewish life in Europe before the Holocaust; Antisemitism; Hitler comes to power; the Nazi terror begins; Nazi racism; the boycott of Jewish businesses; Nazi propaganda and censorship; the Nuremberg race laws; “Enemies of the State;” locating the victims; “Night of Broken Glass;” the Evian Conference; the voyage of the St. Louis; the war begins; the murder of the handicapped; Germans occupy western Europe; Ghettos in eastern Europe; life in the ghetto; the mobile killing squads; the Wannsee Conference and the “Final Solution;” deportations; on the train; at the killing centers; Auschwitz-Birkenau; prisoners of the camps; rescue; the War Refugee Board; resistance inside Germany; the Warsaw Ghetto uprising; killing center revolts; Jewish partisans; death marches; liberation; the Nuremberg trials; the survivors; afterword: remembering the children.
2) During those three weeks she decorated the classroom with posters from the trunk.
3) On two or three occasions during the three weeks, there was a silent reading period in which the students could pick something from the trunk that they wanted to read, and they would read quietly in class.
4) Anne did not use the DVDs in the trunk very much, but she coordinated her teaching with another teacher in the school, who did show several of the DVDs to his class.
5) An assignment was given to the students from the trunk using the photographs of about 50 children of the Holocaust. These photographs are allowed to be duplicated, and each student was given one. The students would go online and look up the biography of the child, telling what his or her life was like before the Holocaust and what happened to the child during the Holocaust. Another assignment was to use the poem, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” and the students would make a three-dimensional butterfly in honor of one of the children.
6) Anne would sometimes read to her class a booklet from the trunk entitled Terrible Things, a 28-page allegory of the Holocaust. She would use this allegory to talk with the students about things such as bullying.
Anne says that 8th grade is a good level for teaching the Holocaust because they are very capable of empathizing with the sufferings of others. One of her biggest challenges was to get the students to take their focus off of Hitler and place it on the broader picture. Occasionally students would object to learning about the Holocaust because “it is too sad.” Anne had to maintain a sensitivity to students' feelings. On a couple of occasions she had parents tell her that none of this had happened, but for the most part she had the support of parents in her teaching of the Holocaust.