Our school serves 500 students in the poorest Congressional district in the country. For many students, our school is the only outlet they have to express themselves and experience different areas of New York City. Imagine living in a city where a Broadway play, Central Park, and countless art museums were a mere train ride away but also an entire world away: many of our students have never traveled to Bryant Park to ice skate; have never seen a Broadway play; have never seen the Great Lawn at Central Park; have never seen the millennia of art collected in the Metropolitan Museum.
Despite their struggles, our ninth and tenth graders are inquisitive, sensitive, and open to intellectual rigor.
Though many of our students enter our school with reading and writing abilities below grade level, they thrive when provided with multiple inroads to understand concepts.
Our students are most engaged when we are able to provide them with interpersonal learning experiences that call upon them to ask further questions, make their own connections, and do their own thinking. Our goal is to provide them with the experiences and resources that they need to become interested, investigative experts on their material.
Students will visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) at the halfway point of an 8-week unit on the Holocaust and World War II. Before visiting the museum, students will have read Night by Elie Wiesel and written a literary analysis, focusing on themes of morality, survival, trauma and identity. Through Wiesel’s first-person account, students often develop a strong sense of Wiesel’s experience, however they still need a larger context for understanding the global impact of the Holocaust, from its unfolding to its immediate aftermath to its historical and personal legacy.
By traveling to Washington D.C., not only will students learn simply by getting out of the building and encountering a different environment (most have never left the South Bronx), but they will also gain the immersive experience of viewing and interacting with historical artifacts, photographs, and film.
Furthermore, students will get the incredible opportunity to hear a Holocaust survivor speak and share their story. Importantly, our students are part of a generation who will be among the last to meet and learn from a living survivor, and the value of this interaction is inestimable.
Particularly for students who struggle with literacy, real-world experiences reinforce concepts and ideas that were previously only textually-based. For example, students often encounter difficulty when placing historical events on a timeline, and the in-person experience can both illustrate the historical moment of the Holocaust as well as fit it onto a larger scale of world events. The museum visit will also support students in generating their own questions, which they can use for their culminating historical research essay. Especially for students with diverse learning needs, such as students with disabilities and English Language Learners, viewing sources in-person as well as hearing from an actual survivor can greatly aid in the writing process.
DonorsChoose is the most trusted classroom funding site for teachers.
As a teacher-founded nonprofit, we're trusted by thousands of teachers and supporters across the country. This classroom request for funding was created by Ms. Paula and reviewed by the DonorsChoose team.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.
Browse bundles of books that prominently feature Black, Arab, Asian, Indigenous, Latinx, and Pacific Islander characters, and the LGBTQ+ community. With each ColorPop book bundle purchased, $5 is donated to our Book Donation Fund, which brings identity-affirming books directly into public school classrooms.