Teachers Teaching Teachers #133 – Holocaust Educators Network: Teachers on a Journey – 12.17.08

On a snowy, windy night last week, Dr. Sondra Perl, Lehman College and Gradate Center, CUNY, NY and five National Writing Project  teachers from the Rural Sites Network joined us to describe their journeys as teachers of Holocaust studies.  These are the teachers who you’ll hear on this podcast:

  • Danielle Bethune, McCool Junction Schools, Nebraska
  • Kristi Bancroft Boucher, Oxford Hills High School, Maine
  • Gail Desler, Elk Grove School District, California
  • Ilka Hanselmann, Wind Gap Middle School, Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania
  • Susan Hodgin, Moscow Senior High School, Idaho
  • Larry Neuberger, Miller High School, Springfield, Missouri

We took a look at their experiences in 10-day semHolocaust Survivor, Irving Rothinars that Dr. Perl led this summer and last summer. We learned more about how these teachers have integrated teaching about the Holocaust into their work with students. Perhaps you will be inspired by these teachers to begin your own journey into studying and teaching about the Holocaust.

The purpose of the Holocaust Educators Network (HEN) is:

…to provide a forum for faculty interested in studying and teaching the Holocaust. The Network extends the work of the summer seminars sponsored by the Memorial Library. Located at Lehman College of the City University of New York, HEN uses an inquiry-based approach to focus on how educators can engage students with difficult material and how writing and dialogue can help move students from shock and denial to empathy and action. We look to support educators from middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities in the following ways:

  • By examining teaching practices both critically and generously;
  • By sharing resources and devising new approaches in workshops and in online forums;
  • By inviting noted scholars and researchers to present new work to the group; and
  • By developing and conducting workshops in teachers‘ own schools and communities.
(Image: Holocaust survivor, Irving Roth)

This summer the Holocaust Educators Network will once again offer a ten-day summer seminar led by Dr. Sondra Perl to middle school, high school, and college teachers from rural sites within the National Writing Project. To find out more or to apply for this summer’s seminar, please send an e-mail to [email protected]

Don’t delay! Applications for this summer need to be in by mid-January.

For the 2009 summer seminar, we invite applications in two formats: 1) applications by individual teachers who are already members of the National Writing Project (NWP) and 2) applications by teams of two teachers from different subject areas in which at least one is a member of the NWP. Click here to download an individual application form; Click here to download a team application form. Please note: applications for the 2009 summer seminar must be postmarked no later than January 16, 2009. Applicants will be notified of all decisions by March 2009.

This year, rural teachers outside of the National Writing Project may also apply. Click here for a flier with more information about the program; click here to download an application form.

Click Read more to see a transcript of a chat that was happening during the webcast. 

20:31:52 SusanEttenheim: hi jennifer welcome!
20:32:24 SusanEttenheim: hi mightysharkie
20:41:44 Paul Allison: http://paulallison.tumblr.com/post/65458718/teachers-from-the-holocaust-educators-network-are-on
20:41:53 Paul Allison: http://www.holocausteducators.org/
20:42:26 jennifer: hi room
20:42:42 Ernie Easter: Hi Jennifer
20:42:56 jennifer: how much longer?
20:43:07 jennifer: about 25 mins to start?
20:43:44 Paul Allison: Hi
20:43:57 Ernie Easter: Saw this on Twitter and retweeted it.
20:45:19 Paul Allison: Welcome all. We’ll start in about 15 min.
20:45:27 jennifer: ditto that, Ernie.
20:45:35 jennifer: thanks, Paul
20:46:29 Ernie Easter: My 7th & 8th grade students started a Ning last spring at while we were studying the Holocaust as a place to post work and have a conversation.  Nominated for an edublog award as one of the Best Educational Uses of a Social Networking Service.
20:47:09 Ernie Easter: It is the Maine Holocaust Education Network.  http://meholocaustedcuation.ning.com
20:48:34 SusanEttenheim: hi paul
20:48:36 SusanEttenheim: hi everyone
20:49:50 Ernie Easter: Hi Susan
20:50:08 SusanEttenheim: hi bgwebb welcome
20:50:17 Paul Allison: Wow… so much already… We’re coming!
20:50:53 Ernie Easter: It is being picked up on Twitter. I’m going back and forth at this point
20:52:19 Ernie Easter: typo in Maine Holocaust Education Network address   http://meholocausteducation.ning.com    Sorry about that
20:58:07 SusanEttenheim: hi chris hi ernie and kristi and peggy!!
20:58:09 PeggyG: Hi everyone
20:58:48 danielle: test
20:59:08 SusanEttenheim: good test danielle!
20:59:26 Chris: which channel tonight?
20:59:35 PeggyG: audio is great for me
20:59:36 Chris: I see "seedling broadcast" on A
21:00:22 PeggyG: hear hear! focused attention 🙂
21:00:55 PeggyG: gee chatting for 15 min already? I missed out!
21:01:06 PeggyG: Hi alice
21:01:14 Ernie Easter: I probably won’t have a mic. Internal not working & didn’t bring my external home
21:01:26 PeggyG: great to see you Ernie!
21:01:35 Ernie Easter: Hi Peggy
21:02:22 Ernie Easter: I’m not getting an audio feed yet???
21:02:36 PeggyG: I have the greatest admiration and respect for all of you webcasters! so much to manage!
21:02:38 Ernie Easter: Hi Alice
21:02:52 PeggyG: @Ernie-did you click on audio for ETT-A?
21:03:41 PeggyG: I’m getting the audio fine
21:03:57 PeggyG: using iTunes
21:03:58 Cathy E: I have audio too
21:03:59 Gail Desler: Hi Peggy G!
21:04:02 Lornaa: I got audio on itunes but not on real player
21:04:07 PeggyG: Hi Gail
21:04:08 Lornaa: strange
21:04:26 alicebarr: Can you hear us in the chat room?
21:04:29 PeggyG: so glad to see all of you! missed the last couple of weeks and had to listen to podcasts
21:04:37 PeggyG: yes I can hear fine
21:04:43 Gail Desler: Yes, I hear you, Alice
21:04:47 Lorna: Hi PeggyG
21:04:56 PeggyG: Hi Lorna
21:05:08 Gail Desler: Hi Tanya!
21:05:09 Ernie Easter: iTunes trying to log in
21:05:14 Tanya Baker: Hi Gail
21:05:22 Jennifer: didn’t have audio, had to log back in
21:05:25 Ernie Easter: no luck yet
21:05:34 PeggyG: maybe the video on skype is using too much bandwidth?
21:05:52 Jennifer: now have audio.  have never used skype; I’ll try it
21:06:01 SusanEttenheim: thought it was just me
21:06:40 PeggyG: I usually open itunes before I click on the link and it always starts right up
21:07:09 PeggyG: that was a long pause Alice–sounds like a challenge
21:07:34 alicebarr: This is interesting, lots of po=eople to bring in tonight
21:07:38 PeggyG: how many people are on the skype call?
21:07:57 PeggyG: we had 8 people on Parents as Partners and it went well but we worried a bit
21:09:00 PeggyG: how are you doing Ernie?
21:09:09 PeggyG: any luck with audio yet?
21:09:11 Ernie Easter: Am trying EdTechTalk A with the speaker.  Nothing seems to be coming out for sound???
21:09:33 PeggyG: the speaker opens in itunes
21:09:47 PeggyG: can you try the real player? Mac or PC?
21:10:02 Ernie Easter: Is there another way in?  And nothing wants to h appen in iTunes.
21:10:07 Lorna: @ Ernie did you check your volume control
21:10:09 Ernie Easter: Im on an iBook
21:10:22 PeggyG: which browser?
21:10:22 Lorna: I have been know to turn it off
21:10:28 Tanya Baker: Hi kristie
21:10:29 Ernie Easter: Volume is full
21:10:36 Ernie Easter: Fire fox
21:10:37 SusanEttenheim: peggy do you have sound? I don’t
21:10:38 Tanya Baker: ii’m here
21:10:39 PeggyG: can you try a different browser Ernie?
21:10:46 PeggyG: I have sound
21:10:52 SusanEttenheim: ahh good
21:10:54 Lorna: I have sound on itunes
21:11:05 SusanEttenheim: hum I seem to be having the same problem as ernie
21:11:08 Ernie Easter: I’ll try Safari
21:11:17 SusanEttenheim: me too
21:11:20 PeggyG: sure try safari
21:11:30 PeggyG: I have my best luck with flock and firefox
21:11:33 Tanya Baker: yay!
21:11:37 PeggyG: hooray!!!! progress!
21:11:46 PeggyG: way to hang in there!
21:11:50 Gail Desler: Hi Adina (from Alice Mercer’s friend)
21:11:54 Cathy E: Earnie open a new window and paste in this url
21:11:59 adinasullivan: Hi Gail!
21:12:18 PeggyG: Hi Adina-great to see you
21:12:31 adinasullivan: Hi Peggy.  It’s been a little while
21:12:39 PeggyG: wonderful well deserved break for all of you
21:13:53 PeggyG: fingers crossed for you Ernie!
21:14:01 alicebarr: Ernie: Are you able to hear?
21:14:38 Ernie Easter: noting
21:15:18 Ernie Easter: I’ve had issues before connecting to audio
21:15:29 PeggyG: Ernie-if you open itunes can you hear anything–just music or something so you can see if it’s your sound settings?
21:15:51 PeggyG: still wonder if your sound is muted on your computer
21:16:06 alicebarr: Earnie open a new window and paste in this url
21:16:18 DBragg: Hi Ilka, nice to hear the LVWP represented!
21:16:20 alicebarr: (Thanks for the tip CathyE
21:16:55 PeggyG: aren’t snow days wonderful? don’t get them in AZ
21:17:20 Ernie Easter: I had that one.  Thanks.  My iTunes blasts me off my chair.
21:17:21 Cathy E: I’m with you Peggy – What is a snow day??
21:17:23 PeggyG: fond memories of Spokane-many relatives live there
21:17:58 PeggyG: as a principal I used to have to call the snow days in MA but I honestly don’t miss that!
21:18:19 PeggyG: why does everyone sounde so happy when they say snow days?? 🙂
21:18:29 Cathy E: I’m jealous – it was 65 in eastern NC today
21:18:39 alicebarr: We are just recouping from an ice storm! Some people just got powr back after 5 days
21:18:46 PeggyG: same for AZ-60-65 today
21:18:47 danielle: 8 here, -1 yesterday
21:19:25 PeggyG: that is a fascinating point–everyone from rural places
21:21:27 PeggyG: excellent explanation/rationale for the rural areas–makes so much sense!
21:21:36 Ernie Easter: Snow days, the most wonderful time of the year!
21:22:11 Gail Desler: HI Larry
21:22:21 PeggyG: Have any of you heard the song by Judy Domeny Bowen called Happy Snow Day! It is wonderful!!
21:22:28 Ernie Easter: Cross country Skis & snowsleds & snow shoes. Great fun
21:22:46 Paul Allison: http://www.holocausteducators.org/
21:22:58 PeggyG: http://cdbaby.com/cd/jdbowen
21:22:59 Ernie Easter: I’m also the nodic ski coach for my middle school kids
21:23:19 PeggyG: thanks for the link Paul
21:23:22 Larry Neuburger: This is thew link to the blog Danielle and I will be referring to. http://mccoolmiller.blogspot.com/
21:23:32 dmantz7: 207 and 208 in which state?
21:23:46 Gail Desler: Hi Bill
21:23:50 Ernie Easter: Take a look also at http://meholocausteducation.ning.com
21:23:53 Bill O’Neal: Hi Gail
21:24:53 PeggyG: that’s so valuable when you can connect before the face to face meetings
21:25:17 SusanEttenheim: hi back in chat
21:25:44 SusanEttenheim: wow sound is fine now but now we’re listening on another computer with an older version of itunes
21:25:53 PeggyG: how are all of those sites connected? same people and same program?
21:26:09 PeggyG: welcome back Susan!
21:27:05 PeggyG: teaching about the holocaust must be a very emotional experience!
21:27:08 Tanya Baker: I wonder if Larry can talk about whether such a learning experience focused on  "spirituality" and "self" has impacted the kinds of learning experiences he brings to the classroom for his students
21:27:36 Ernie Easter: It is very emotional
21:27:42 PeggyG: great question Tanya!
21:27:58 Ernie Easter: I’m not getting any audio, so will just be following the chat
21:28:21 PeggyG: great point Danielle-more than an historical event!
21:29:02 PeggyG: tell some specifics about the actual projects the students did to engage the topic
21:29:12 danielle: and in history textbooks it’s WWII, the Holocaust hand-in-hand, that learning has changed as well
21:30:28 PeggyG: yes what does it look like in the classroom 🙂
21:30:33 dfield: hello all.  I just arrived at my Florida apartment and logged in.
21:30:42 danielle: hello david
21:30:44 PeggyG: welcome dfield
21:30:49 Larry Neuburger: Wecome happt traveler
21:30:55 Larry Neuburger: Happy
21:32:06 Bill O’Neal: Here’s a laugh from today’s observation by an administrator. While most of us were engaged in a writer’s workshop, one student was working on youthvoices: "One student was on the computer using technology.  She was on a student centered blogging website however she was not able to articulate why."
21:32:43 danielle: www.mccoolmiller.blogger.com
21:33:14 dfield: My wife and I attended Risha Mullins project in KY last Friday and it was fabulous.  Irving Roth spoke to about 150 students and parents and later in the day, we took 40 students to the synagogue in Lexington KY for Friday night services where the Jewish children conduted the services with the guidance of the Rabbi.  
21:33:16 Gail Desler: @ Bill so was that a positive or negative observation
21:33:16 PeggyG: love it Bill!
21:33:46 Bill O’Neal: Well, he was very happy, just a little disaapointed that the stduent did not know the objective….
21:33:58 Gail Desler: @dfield – so glad Risha brought this experience to your community
21:34:22 PeggyG: with teens it’s not that they don’t know but sometimes don’t want to say–
21:34:51 dfield: Not my community but hers in MT Sterling KY
21:35:42 Jennifer: I teach at the community college and in my REACH (high school kids taking early college classes in the summer), I showed them Freedom Writers, and indirectly ended up talking about the holocaust because it was the catalyst for what Erin Gruwell started with her students.  It had a profound impact on my students.
21:36:04 PeggyG: that sounds powerful Jennifer!
21:36:29 Ernie Easter: Not getting the audio is hard. Transcript of this later to listen to or read?
21:36:43 PeggyG: is it hard for the students to express this in writing? or easier than talking about it?
21:36:57 alicebarr: Yes Paul puts this up later on edtechtalk.com
21:37:06 dfield: The Memorial Library is reasdy to help the teachers of our seminars to conduct projects which promote the understanding of the necessity of tolerance and to promote cross-culteral expiences.
21:37:12 Ernie Easter: They also express it well with art
21:37:15 danielle: i think there is a bit of security in both the writing and the anonymity in a sense
21:37:26 Jennifer: being able to have them tie this to bullying, gang warfare, and hate crimes…in the big city of Mesa, Arizona was powerful
21:37:31 PeggyG: Ernie-can you skype me after the show and let me see if I can help you with your audio? we can try some things-both using Macs
21:38:00 PeggyG: good point Danielle
21:38:26 danielle: david, i spoke with risha his afternoon and it sounds like the project was amazing
21:38:37 Ernie Easter: We write a lot during my 8 week unit on the Holocaust.  I also use a number of literature books ranging form Number the Stars, a very easy read to Night
21:39:07 Ernie Easter: I’ll try skype.  Have to admit, I never have used it
21:39:22 danielle: in my holocaust lit course my students have think journals, purely for the documentation of emotions, thoughts, and questions while reading
21:39:33 dfield: One final commercial.  We have our 2009 Holocaust seminar in July of next year in New York City and are now taking applications.  If you want more info contact
21:39:39 danielle: to bring to the large group discussion
21:39:50 Ernie Easter: We also keep a literature response journal
21:39:57 dfield: Sondra Perl at [email protected]
21:41:08 PeggyG: my skype name is pgeorge1-try to call me after the show
21:41:35 Ernie Easter: Additionally, on StudyWiz, a program on the Maine MLTI laptops, we have a discussion feature where they all respond to my post, then respond to each other.  Some great discussions.  And the best part is they can also do it from home.
21:41:40 PeggyG: do you have to teach them vocabulary to express these emotions?
21:41:59 Ernie Easter: @peggyg I’ll try to call you
21:42:00 dfield: Good nite all.
21:42:07 danielle: good night
21:42:11 PeggyG: thanks for saying your names-very helpful!
21:42:55 Bill O’Neal: Here in NJ the hs students see a production by a troupe entitled "And then they came for me" about the Anne Frank story. Of course, Edel Wiesel’s novel is also part of the curriculum
21:43:28 PeggyG: all of those examples are so helpful-you are all doing some amazing, engaging things!
21:43:39 danielle: i had the link wrong – www.mccoolmiller.blogspot.com
21:43:54 Ernie Easter: I’m downloading skype now
21:44:31 PeggyG: great Ernie
21:45:06 Bill O’Neal: http://www.dramaticpublishing.com/p64/And-Then-They-Came-for-Me:-Remembering-the-World-of-Anne-Frank/product_info.html
21:46:48 Ernie Easter: My students have always gotten very involved in the holocaust unit. We are on a two year curriculum, but I doubled up wanting to put the unit with World History where it belonged.  Last year’s eighth graders put together the holocaust education network ning with me.
21:48:05 Ernie Easter: I’m always very impressed with the involvement.  This is often "the thing I liked the best about school this year" comment druing my end of the year survey.
21:48:17 Tanya Baker: I’m wondering if people can speak to the role of the Holocaust Educators Network in supporting their thinking/teaching SINCE their summer institute experience?
21:49:10 PeggyG: great questions!
21:49:20 Jennifer: this is why it’s important to help them draw contemporary connections…so they can be hopeful about the present as well
21:50:10 Gail Desler: @Tanya The experience has had a huge impact on the way I view the many ways we can connect students
21:50:27 PeggyG: the hopefulness is such an important point but sounds easier said than done
21:50:35 danielle: very true
21:50:48 danielle: learning to action is crucial to this teachin
21:51:23 PeggyG: oh yes Danielle! you are making that so evident in your examples and points
21:54:14 Bill O’Neal: Holocaust resources available at our writing project site are seen by the TCs during the SI when they visit the genocide resource center: http://www.rider.edu/172_5316.htm
21:55:57 PeggyG: I’m not sure all teachers can be as "masterful" as all of you in teaching this–the resources are great but it’s what you do with them. Sounds very difficult!
21:57:04 PeggyG: seems like think time/reflection time is so important in this process
21:58:06 danielle: i agree Peggy
21:59:28 PeggyG: it’s such a different paradigm for teachers –not just read, answer questions, take notes but explore so many different emotions and thoughts in a context–very complicated teaching
22:00:11 danielle: one of the most important things for me is to learn along side my students – to be vulnerable can be scary, but it’s an important process
22:00:23 PeggyG: do you see this respect carrying over in their lives outside of the classroom?
22:00:53 PeggyG: I can see that Danielle–that is a somewhat rare quality in teachers though
22:01:07 Larry Neuburger: yes, I’ve seen them really control their feelings when they disagree.
22:01:13 danielle: i think there is often fear, and fear can paralyze us in our teaching
22:01:33 PeggyG: I’ll bet! learning, unlearning, relearning…
22:02:47 PeggyG: such an important question! is there objection from the parents/community about those kinds of conversations?
22:03:09 PeggyG: your support group seems so valuable!
22:04:03 Ernie Easter: I’ve been teaching about the Holocaust to middle school students since 2002.  So far I’ve only had support from parents.  They are happy that I’m teaching about it.
22:04:46 danielle: same here, the parents support this learning because they see their children learning about empathy, etc.
22:04:47 Ernie Easter: I also use the curriculum from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Us and Them, Shadows of Hate.
22:05:10 alicebarr: I wish more teachers would take advantage of the collaborative nature and support of this kind of group
22:05:13 danielle: important lifelong lessons, versus statistics and facts
22:05:14 Paul Allison: http://www.holocausteducators.org/
22:05:20 Larry Neuburger: Here is a link to a blog created last summer: www.holcausteducation.blogspot.com
22:06:02 PeggyG: I thinnk you have the parent support because of the way you approach it
22:06:46 Ernie Easter: Also the Maine Holocaust Education Ning http://meholocausteducation.ning.com
22:07:02 Jennifer: will the chat log also be posted with the podcast?  and will you tweet when/where to find it?
22:07:16 PeggyG: http://www.holocausteducation.blogspot.com/
22:07:58 Ernie Easter: Also, giving students a chance to publish and have conversations with survivors is very powerful.
22:08:19 Tanya Baker: thanks everyone. I have to scoot home.
22:08:29 PeggyG: those are all such great resources!
22:08:49 PeggyG: @Ernie-I’m sure the conversations with survivors has a very big impact on them
22:09:19 PeggyG: what a fantastic model for collaboration in teaching!
22:10:41 PeggyG: thank you all!! what an inspiration you are! your passion and expertise is so evident!
22:11:24 Ernie Easter: We went back and forth last year with a survivor who was part of our ning. It was a wonderful experience for my students.
22:12:11 Paul Allison: http://www.holocausteducators.org/
22:12:27 Jennifer: lost the sound for a few seconds.  back now.
22:12:58 alicebarr: Sound is breaking up
22:13:04 Ernie Easter: @PeggyG Downloaded skype but got no test message.  I am going to have to figure out what is wrong with this machine.  I will get a hold of you at some point and figure this out.
22:13:06 PeggyG: skype is winning-lost sound again
22:13:13 alicebarr: We are wrapping up. This will be piosted
22:13:17 Larry Neuburger: you can also find the application at nwp.org  lookj under the rural sites network
22:13:26 PeggyG: @Ernie-any time-happy to try to help you
22:13:31 danielle: deadline is jan 16 i believe
22:13:33 alicebarr: ;later so you can download it
22:13:47 Gail Desler: Night all
22:14:03 Ernie Easter: I will be cross posting the links here on the meholocausteducation.ning.com
22:14:12 PeggyG: fantastic show! thank you everyone!
22:14:57 Ernie Easter: Just from the side chat, it reads like the show was wonderful.  I am so sorry I missed it.  I will find it when posted and listen to it

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