Genius, surprisingly curious, kind, innovative, and thoughtful- these are the words that first come to mind when I try to describe my students. Many come from tough neighborhoods, most are categorized as low socio-economic status, but all are diligently working towards high school graduation and dreaming of a college degree. Some of my students are immigrants, many are English Language Learners, but all are hoping for a better life for themselves and their families. While many teenagers are focused on driver's licenses and weekend dates, my students are concentrating on after-school jobs and scholarships. Our school is located in a large urban area and our student population is almost completely Latino. We also have a small population of African American students. Despite all these labels, what we value as a school community is each other - all our differences - all our similarities.
Since we are strapped for travel cash, my students and I plan to take most of field trips virtually. With your help and some virtual reality head sets, we will be able to explore the artifacts and exhibits in museums about the history we are studying. In this way, we will be able to interact with objects that will give us greater insight to how people lived and died before us.
We plan to examine how the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum uses artifacts and photographs that illustrate important aspects of Holocaust history such as Torah scrolls rescued during Kristallnacht, a train car, prisoner barracks from Auschwitz, and a gas chamber model.
We will also virtually tour the Museum's architecture and discuss what makes the Museum a living memorial. Through our exploration of the Museum's exhibitions, we will gain a greater understanding of key events and topics related to the Holocaust and we will be to explain the systematic nature, scope, and consequences of the Holocaust. We will use these virtual tours as both foundational learning for our lessons about the Holocaust and as enrichment to supplement our reading of eye-witness testimony.
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