Holocaust Seminar 2014

“There is no Future without Memory; Exploring the Holocaust and Social Justice”

Sunday evening, June 8th – Friday morning, June 13th

The purpose of the Seminar is to provide opportunities for educators in grades 6 – 12 to acquire the tools they need to adequately and thoroughly teach the lessons of the Holocaust to the next generation. We will introduce our participants to the local connections between Nebraska and the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and genocides. Through a variety of media, we have planned a five-day seminar that will begin in O’Neill, Nebraska and culminate in Lincoln. Holocaust survivor, camp liberator, synagogue tour and other speakers will  help us to  instruct, inspire and motivate teachers to return to their classrooms armed with resources and knowledge.

The free seminar is limited to 20 participants, lodging and materials will be provided to qualifying teachers. Arrangements may be made for UNL graduate credit. Early application is suggested.

Planned Seminar Schedule

Sunday (evening); O’Neill, Nebraska
What matters to us?  Placed-based examination of local social justice, Holocaust, and genocide issues Valuing our educators and what we bring to the table

Monday 9:00 – 4:00; O’Neill, Nebraska
Exploring age/grade appropriate curriculum, materials and other content variables Sharing social justice issues and concerns on our individual, local level Using place-based education to explore our community concerns

Tuesday morning O’Neill, Nebraska; afternoon/evening Lincoln, Nebraska
Honoring the Individual;  History of the Holocaust Delving into the context and history of the Holocaust Developing access to multiple resources and Jewish history and heritage Expanding cross curricular approaches to Holocaust studies

Wednesday 9:00 – 4:00 Lincoln, Nebraska
Exploring the Holocaust and Social Justice through inquiry-based lenses; Post 1945 to present genocides Connecting and recognizing patterns in genocide development Investigating fresh approaches and practices in Holocaust and Social Justice curriculum and instruction Searching for moments of resilience in Social Justice/Holocaust participants and educators

Thursday  9:00 – 4:00 Lincoln, Nebraska
Holocaust Educators Network — Partnerships, Relationships, Networks; Teaching methods and the pedagogy of teaching trauma Realizing our ability to translate and manage the enormity of what we have learned Sharing lessons or best practices for successfully processing materials Creating a local support network of Holocaust educators

Friday – 9:00-12:00pm Lincoln, Nebraska
The Sharing of Story;  Action plans developed and shared Discovering what matters to us in the classroom and community Processing what we know for use in the classroom Cultivating ideas through peer collaboration to be realized in our work

Focus: We are left to tell; it is our responsibility to explore and understand what happens when individuals, organizations and governments fail to take a stand against injustice. The reality that was the Holocaust must be disseminated for the next generation so that they may learn from the mistakes of those who came before.

TO APPLY:

**Deadline: May 1, 2014, notification by May 21, 2014. Apply by email to the facilitators listed below.
Include: your name, teaching position and school, and specify your preferred contact information.

  • Submit a 1-2 page narrative; describe how your teaching has included Social Justice, and/or specifically the Holocaust, or how you hope to explore these topics in your classroom
  • Submit a 1-2 page narrative; describe how your teaching has included Social Justice, and/or specifically the Holocaust, or how you hope to explore these topics in your classroom
  • Describe your background in Holocaust studies, your interest and education in the area
  • Share your concerns and questions about teaching the Holocaust/Social Justice in your particular classroom or community.

**As this free professional development seminar fills quickly, early application is recommended.

FACILITATORS:

Tom Seib,  M.A.  40 years in education; 13 years teaching social justice and the Holocaust. Nebraska Writing Project Administrator of the Year-2005,  Social Studies Department Chair, Institute for Holocaust Education-Nebraska Consortium Member, Nebraska North Central Council State Representative.  tom.seib555@gmail.com

Katrina Gotschall, M.Ed. 10 years of teaching experience.  5 years of teaching the Holocaust. Nebraska Writing Project, Nebraska Writing Project Advisory Board, Holocaust Educators Network, Holocaust Memorial Library Summer Seminar, Holocaust Memorial Library Nebraska Satellite Seminar, Echoes and Reflections Training.  katgotschall@gmail.com

Funding, training and continued professional development provided through the Memorial Library; New York City http://www.thememoriallibrary.org

Holocaust Seminar 2013

“There is no Future without Memory; Exploring the Holocaust and Social Justice”

June 17th-21st, 9:00am-4:00pm

The purpose of the Seminar:  To provide opportunities for educators to acquire the tools they need to adequately and thoroughly teach the lessons of the Holocaust to the next generation.  We will do this by introducing our participants to the local connections between Nebraska and the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and genocides.  Through a variety of media, we have planned a five-day seminar meant to instruct, inspire and motivate teachers to return to their classrooms armed with resources and knowledge.

The seminar is limited to 20 participants and stipends are available for those qualifying teachers. Early application is suggested.

Focus:We are left to tell; it is our responsibility to explore and understand what happens when individuals, organizations and governments fail to take a stand against injustice. The reality that was the Holocaust must be disseminated for the next generation so that they may learn from the mistakes of those who came before.

Planned SEMINAR SCHEDULE

Monday – 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
What matters to us? Placed-based examination of /social justice/Holocaust/genocide issues

Valuing our educators and what we bring to the table.
Exploring age/grade appropriate curriculum, materials and other content variables.
Sharing social justice issues and concerns on our individual, local level.
     Dinner and guest speaker

Tuesday -9:00 – 4:00pm
Honoring the Individual;  History of the Holocaust

Delving into the context and history of the Holocaust
Developing access to multiple resources
Expanding cross curricular approaches to Holocaust studies

Wednesday -9:00-4:00pm
Exploring the Holocaust and Social Justice through inquiry-based lenses; Post 1945 to present genocides

Connecting and recognizing patterns in genocide development
Investigating fresh approaches and practices in Holocaust and Social Justice curriculum and instruction
Searching for moments of resilience in Social Justice/Holocaust participants and educators

Thursday – 9:00-4:00pm
Holocaust Educators Network — Partnerships, Relationships, Networks; Teaching methods and the pedagogy of teaching trauma        

Realizing our ability to translate and manage the enormity of what we have learned
Sharing lessons or best practices for successfully processing materials with students
Creating a local support network of Holocaust educators

Friday – 9:00-12:00pm
The Sharing of Story;  Action plans developed and shared

Discovering what matters to us in the classroom and community
Processing what we know for use in the classroom
Cultivating ideas through peer collaboration to be realized in our work

TO APPLY:  (We expect this seminar to fill up quickly, so early application is recommended)

  • Application Deadline:  May 1, 2013, notification by May 21, 2013
  • Apply by email to the facilitators, include your:  name, school and preferred contact information.
  • Submit a 1-2 page narrative, tell how your teaching has included Social Justice, and/or specifically the Holocaust, or how you hope to explore these topics in your classroom
  • Describe your interest and /oreducation in Holocaust studies
  • Share your concerns and questions about teaching the Holocaust/Social Justice

Facilitators Trained at the Holocaust Educators Seminar:  New York City 2007-2008 and the Holocaust educators Institute:  New York City 2010.

Katie Elsener, M.A.  24  years of teaching experience; 20 years experience teaching the Holocaust;       Nebraska Writing Project, Holocaust Educators; Consortium,  Echoes and Reflections training, written curriculum for Holocaust studies,  English Department Chair, North Central Steering Committee member.  katieelsener@neb.rr.com

Jane Connealy, M.A.  22 years of experience with Holocaust education.  Program Assistant for UNL Faculty Leadership in Writing Initiative, Nebraska Writing Project Co-Director, facilitated numerous NeWP Institutes, member of Holocaust Educators Consortium, North Central Steering committee,BearingWitness training. and Holocaust Educators Network. 
janeconnealy3@gmail.com

Tom Seib,  M.A.  39 years in education; 13 years teaching  the Holocaust, Nebraska Writing Project Administrator of the Year-2005,  Department  Chair, Nebraska State North Central Council Representative.  tom.seib555@gmail.com

Holocaust Seminar 2012

2012 Holocuast Seminar attendees

There is No Future Without Memory:
Exploring the Holocaust and Social Justice; Road Trip, Anyone?

In partnership with The Memorial Library of New York City,  local Nebraska Holocaust institutions and the Anti-Defamation League, Nebraska Writing Project teachers facilitated a week-long seminar for teachers grades 7-12 on how and why to include the Holocaust as part of their curriculum. Music teachers, speech, history and language arts teachers spent the last week in June exploring how twenty-first century social justice issues in urban and rural Nebraska connected to the most horrific time period of the twentieth century.  One participant reflected:  “I know that the Holocaust is absolutely somehow a part of me. The seminar gave me a chance to explore why this is so and I feel I have found many answers in that regard.”  

The seminar provided opportunities for educators to acquire the tools they need to adequately and completely teach the lessons of the Holocaust to the next generation.  We toured a synagogue, visited the Nebraska Holocaust Memorial and listened to the remarkable story of a Holocaust survivor, Louis Leviticus, and  liberator, Roy Long. Participants discussed their individual local connections between Nebraska and the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and modern genocides and the importance of uncovering more than just one narrative to create those connections. 

The twenty-one participants earned small stipends and came away with an armload of books and resources to be used in their classrooms. A trip to the Holocaust museum in Skokie Illinois is planned for January 2013 for participants as we continue to explore our understandings and create new memories with like-mined, caring educators.  Taking our  work forward one participant summed it up best: “I learned a lot about tolerance and for that I am grateful. I also know how sensitive I felt about learning all of this and how it impacted me. It is very important that we are aware, even more so, how it will affect the students we teach.”

If you are interested in participating in next year’s Seminar June 24-28, 2013, please contact NeWP TCs Katie Elsener, Jane Connealy or Tom Seib at:

katieelsener@neb.rr.com
janeconnealy3@gmail.com
tom.seib555@gmail.com

Holocaust Seminar 2011

Nebraska Educators at the first Holocaust Satellite Seminar 2011

From as far away as O’Neill, Columbus, and Norris educators converged in Lincoln for the Holocaust Seminar. This amazing week once again demonstrated the extraordinary talents our Nebraska educators have. Elizabeth Dixon, who teaches in Lincoln commented: “Honestly, this has been the BEST workshop ever. I would gladly stay for another week. I have learned so much.”

From digital stories, to action plans, to personal reflection pieces, our teachers shared what they learned and helped each of us to grow in appreciation for, and an understanding of, teaching, reading and writing the Holocaust and incorporating Social Justice issues into our classrooms.

A support network used the Nebraska Writing Project’s NING, to post information, ideas and resources. Teachers involved benefitted from guest speakers, field trips and the camaraderie that was generated. While we are exhausted from the investment in this year’s Satellite, we are already looking eagerly forward to the 2012 Satellite.

If you are interested in participating in next year’s Seminar, please contact Katie Elsener, Jane Connealy or Tom Seib at:
katieelsener@neb.rr.com
jlconnealy@windstream.net
tom.seib555@gmail.com

Holocaust Educators Present at NWP in Orlando

Holocaust Educators Network (HEN) Group at Friday social
Dani Bethune with student
Dani Bethune with student

Set against a backdrop of Cinderella’s Castle, bright sunshine, and swaying palm trees, my experience was magical.  In November 2010, I presented at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting at sunny Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

I was a part of the Holocaust Educator’s Network presentation group. I shared methods of integrating both the Holocaust and technology into teaching and curriculum. Along with my HEN fellow Larry Neuberger from Missouri, I discussed the use of blogs, video diaries, GoogleDocs, Prezi presentations, and Glog projects in my Social Justice Literature course.  In addition to this, I shared my students’ collaborative work with Missouri students via a blog and ning.  We showed how our students read Elie Wiesel’s Night “together” and conversed through technology.  All together, four different aspects of the Holocaust Educator’s Network were presented to a packed house.  My presentation highlighted the classroom level.  The other levels addressed included district, regional development, and writing project outreach.

Dani with David and Ellen Field. David is on the Memorial Library Holocaust Educator's Network Board of Directors
Dani with David and Ellen Field. David is on the Memorial Library Holocaust Educator’s Network Board of Directors

The Holocaust Educator’s Network also awarded me a $1,000 grant to fund books for my new Social Justice Literature course.

Both the Nebraska Writing Project and the National Writing Project Annual Meeting allow me the networking capabilities I need to be a creative and passionate educator.

Though 2010 was a magical experience, I am already looking forward to Chicago in 2011!

“There is No Future Without Memory: Exploring the Holocaust and Social Justice”

Holocaust Study Group

Teaching the Holocaust is a challenge for any teacher. How should a teacher engage students with difficult material such as hatred, prejudice, and state-sanctioned genocide? What role does writing have in moving students toward inquiry, empathy, and action? How do we help students with the trauma that threatens them in such a study?

Man participating in gallery walk

In two summer institutes, 2006 and 2007, sponsored by NWP’s Rural Sites Network, in partnership with the Holocaust Educators Network, Memorial Library and Art Foundation of World War II . Katie Elsener, Tom Seib and Jane Connealy were immersed in the study of the Holocaust, writing and developing lesson plans designed to move students toward inquiry, empathy, and action. By the time the group arrived in New York, each participant had read Michael Berenbaum’s The World Must Know, an excellent historical overview of the Holocaust that shows the perspectives of the victims, perpetrators, and bystanders, while dealing with the fundamental themes of the Jewish experience. Discussions about the book had taken place on a Blackboard site prior to the institute in an attempt to draw participants closer as well as to explore the book itself.

Art on display in gallery

Olga Lengyel, a Holocaust survivor who lost her husband, two sons, and parents at Auschwitz, left a legacy to establish the Memorial Library and Art Foundation of World War II. A somewhat fictionalized account of Lengyel’s story was used for the title character’s story in Sophie’s Choice.The foundation’s purpose has been to carry forward Lengyel’s desire to sustain hope by supporting education aimed at preventing future genocides.  In 2010 the group applied for and was chosen a second time by the Memorial Library to attend a second summer institute whose aim was to create a Satellite Seminar to be offered to Nebraska teachers through NeWP in the summer of 2011. As part of her response, to the seminar, Katie wrote, “Irving Roth [Holocaust survivor] said, ‘My parents survived because someone cared. ‘We must care about our fellow human beings in order to mold our world into the place it is supposed to be. That is the message I will take to my students.”

Men participating in gallery walk

As Elsener, Seib and Connealy continue to work with these assignments, they recognize that it is true that the more students read, the more they learn about others; however, it is not until they write that they come to empathize with them. The teams of teachers who came to New York in the summer of 2010 were committed not only to immersing themselves in the subject of the Holocaust, but also to providing inservice learning after they finished the program. The Holocaust and Modern Genocide institute that will be offered in 2011 will offer Nebraska teachers ideas resources and encouragement when it comes to dealing with this difficult subject.

Art on display in gallery

A listserv hosted by the National Writing Project continues to bring all seminar participants together for book discussions and lesson plans and resource sharing. To date a total of six NeWP TCs have attended the summer institutes sponsored by the Memorial Library and these teachers will all be involved in the Satellite Seminar offered in 2011. In addition, members of the various groups have presented at the NWP Annual Meeting in November to share Olga Lengyel’s vision with teachers everywhere.

Group Dining

Reading, Writing, and Teaching the Holocaust: Cultivating the Humanitarian Hope Amidst Tales of Catastrophe

Holocaust museum entrance

In July, McCool Junction teacher Danielle Friesen-Bethune was selected as one of 20 Rural Sites Network teachers to participate in the Memorial Library Summer Seminar on Holocaust Education in New York City: “Reading, Writing, and Teaching the Holocaust.” The seminar, led by New York City Writing Project co-founder Sondra Perl was held at the Holocaust Memorial Library in Manhattan. Teachers heard from Holocaust survivors Gisela Glaser and Irving Roth. They visited the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Participants wrote intensely, presented Holocaust lessons, explored identity, studied Judaism (what does it mean to be a Jew?), discussed how to turn learning into action, and participated in a traditional Shabbat celebration.

Danielle Friesen-Bethune with Holocaust survivor Irving Roth
Danielle Friesen-Bethune with Holocaust survivor Irving Roth
How it transformed my classroom…

As a rural teacher, I constantly search for opportunities to transcend the inherent educational barriers presented by the homogenous pockets in which we teach. I attended this seminar with the goal of expanding the walls of my classroom, and this past August my juniors began a collaboration with students from Missouri. Both groups read Elie Wiesel’s Night, viewed the PBS film God on Trial, and shared discussions through a blog. They were able to see another person’s perspective and openly share their thoughts. The blog “Breaking Down Barriers” was a new and rewarding experience for all involved. Questions that stimulated the most profound responses were about the necessity of faith, the existence of God throughout the Holocaust, and the hope for identity after such an assault.

Elaborate chandelier in a classroom

I also created an elective course entitled Holocaust Literature. The reading includes The World Must Know, TheFive Chimneys, The Book Thief, and The Sunflower. Another focus of this course is turning learning into action.In November and December, students sponsored a food drive. In April, students will be collecting infant and children’sitems such as diapers, baby wipes, and other necessities not offered through Nebraska’s WIC program. The York News Times highlighted this project in a recent article that was featured on the National Writing Project’s site (“Nebraska Kids Turn Despair to Hope”). I also participated in a live webcast with EdTechTalk and Teachers Teaching Teachers (“Teachers on a Journey”). This hour-long discussion highlighted the work of a few teachers who have been active in the Holocaust Educators Network.

How it transformed me…

At the conclusion of the seminar we were asked to write a final reflection but mere words proved inadequate. Honestly, how does one reflect upon a life-changing experience? What words and phrases will seem sufficient? As I look back on it all now, certain images come to mind — all of the firsts — taxis, the subway, Broadway shows, meeting Jewish people, Shabbat. However, what stands out most are the emotions of it all. I experienced the kaleidoscope of human emotions — from sorrow and grief, to exhilaration and hope. When all was said and done, I left the seminar a changed person. This experience shifted my views on life — it made me a stronger teacher, a more generous person, a mother with increased patience. Likewise, it has increased my passion for living, for educating, for learning.

Journal Excerpt…
The Journal Excerpt was written after an emotional afternoon going through the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. One room made me more emotional than all the others – Children of the Holocaust. One part of it was filled with pictures of children in concentration camps, being tortured, and the specific photo that made me stop to take notice was one of a dying Jewish boy in the middle of the street as other Nazi youth walked past him, laughing. The other part of the room was filled with pre-war family photos of victims – smiling faces, content families, a room of hopes and dreams that would never be.

          Emotions are not deliberate. Despite my greatest effort, emotion cannot be controlled, is impossible to harness. At moments there is a bubbling up of something that must escape, it cannot be held down.
          I did not intend to cry. I saw the dying boy in the street as the others walked past him and I simply couldn’t. I heard the story of mothers throwing their children to the outstretched arms of strangers. I saw the hope in the eyes of parents as they looked lovingly upon their new child. I could not control the tears. The more I fought, the more they persisted. I, physically, needed to grieve for this assault of inhumanity. I did not intend to cry, but that is what I did.
          In the purging of sorrow my body became drained, numb. I was left exhausted and unable to continue trying to make sense of it all.

Poem excerpt…

This poem is an excerpt of a longer poem that I wrote at the conclusion of the seminar. I wanted to show the brutality and horrors of the Holocaust juxtaposed against our necessity to teach it – to tell the stories.

Sing for the child alone in a sea of corpses, calling for his mother.
Let your song blend with his desperate cries.
Allow the music on your lips to envelop his thin, naked body.
Sing until he is calm.
Hum the melody of a child’s song as he kneels beside his mother’s cold body.
Watch as he rests his head upon her breast.
See as he closes his eyes.
Feel as his spirit dies in a sea of ashes and flesh.
Breathe his last breath.
Walk forward with his story upon your lips.
Close your eyes, envision his life that will never be.
Find solace in your ability to speak.
Tell all of his song – screams stifled by hatred.
And always. . .sing for the child of the sea.


NWP Holocaust seminar participants
Additional Press…

The Riverdale Press interviewed participants while in New York (“Holocaust History Brings Rural Educators toTears”).

Referenced Links

“Holocaust History Brings Rural Educators to Tears”
“God on Trial”

“Breaking Down Barriers”

“Nebraska Kids Turn Despair to Hope”

“Teachers on a Journey”

“Holocaust Educators Network”

About the author: Danielle Bethune

Danielle Friesen-Bethune

Danielle Friesen-Bethune is in her seventh year of teaching secondary English at McCool Junction Public School. In addition to English, she teaches Newspaper and Holocaust Literature. She is the Drama director, Speech Team coach, Junior Class/Prom sponsor, McCool Education Association President, and McCool Community Club treasurer. Danielle and her husband, Craig, have three children–Cameron (8), Rheagan (4), and Kinsleigh (2). Danielle graduated from Henderson Community School, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is working toward her master’s degree in Instructional Technology at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Danielle has been involved with the Nebraska Writing Project since 2003 when she took the Rural Institute in Juniata. She has also been involved in the NeWP Leadership Institutes in Aurora (Level I & II), was on the RSN Teacher Inquiry team in 2005-2006, presented at the Rural Institute in North Platte in 2006, was on the committee that organized the Ted Kooser Poetry Event/Celebration in 2007, and has received three mini-grants from NeWP.

In March, Danielle will be presenting her work with the Holocaust at the national Rural Sites Network Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan.