Frequently Asked Questions for the 2012-2013 Holocaust Learning Trunk Project
Frequently Asked Questions for the 2011-2012 Holocaust Learning Trunk Project: Pilot Program
The Holocaust Learning Trunk Project is sponsored by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust with The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. and the Georgia Department of Education. The project provides a total of 35 trunks to schools throughout the entire state of Georgia for use in middle school classrooms. Each trunk contains a full complement of educational materials about the Holocaust, WWII, and genocide. These trunks and the materials within are meant to supplement curriculum already in place and assist educators.
Trunks are available for check out to middle school teachers through their respective RESA (Regional Service Educational Agency.) There are a total of 16 RESA districts in the state of Georgia. To check out a trunk please contact your school's RESA Arrangements for transporting the trunk from the RESA office to the school are to be determined by your RESA and/or media specialist.
The trunks are meant to supplement curriculum already in place by providing educators with materials he/she can use in the classroom. Therefore, it is the educators responsibility to create a lesson plan since the trunks do not provide instructions. Suggestions on how to teach the lessons and history of the Holocaust can be found in the Holocaust Learning Trunk Project: Guide and Resources book which can be found in each trunk and is available for free download on www.holocaust.georgia.gov. There are other resources on the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust website, including project plans teachers who have already used a Learning Trunk have sent in.
In addition, there are materials in each trunk specifically included to assist teachers:
- Teaching the Holocaust by Simone Schweber & Debbie Findling - Although it is not a detailed history of the Holocaust, this text provides excellent topic overviews, explanations of major themes, teaching ideas, and resources for the classroom.
- Teaching About the Holocaust: A CD-ROM for Educators by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - This disc provides content that can be used by educators in presentations and/or student activities (individual or group.) It consists of museum content that includes animated maps, videos of survivor testimony, historical film footage, and much more.
- What Do You Stand For? A Kid's Guide to Building Character by Barbara A. Lewis - This text is written for students and includes units addressing topics such as and not limited to self-knowledge, self-esteem, and positive attitude. It consists of chapters that explain and provide activities for characteristics that run parallel to the lessons of the Holocaust such as citizenship, courage, empathy, justice, integrity, leadership, respect, and responsibility.
A large portion of the contents consists of books but no two books are alike. There is fiction and non-fiction, the Pultizer prize-winning comic book series Maus as well as five copies of the short one-act play I Never Saw Another Butterfly by Celeste Rita Raspanti. There are many ways to use the trunks and each individual material within. If you would like to submit detailed explanations for how you used a material please contact Emma Ellingson at 770-206-1555 or email@example.com.
The completion of evaluation forms are a requirement of the sponsoring grant organizations and are the only means to measure the success and scope of the Holocaust Learning Trunk Project. It is the educator's responsibility to copy, distribute, and have each student that accessed the contents of the trunk while it was in your classroom complete the Student Evaluation Form. In addition, educators must copy and complete the Teacher Evaluation Form. This must be done within two weeks after utilizing the trunk and the contents. The original copies of the evaluation forms must remain in the folder that accompanies the trunk. Digital copies of these forms are available for printing on this webpage.
Evaluations must be returned via post in a sealed envelope to: Georgia Commission on the Holocaust Attn: Holocaust Learning Trunk Project 5920 Roswell Rd. Suite A-209 Sandy Springs, GA 30328
Unless other arrangements are made between an educator and their RESA, the trunk is checked out for a period no longer than three weeks. To ensure an educator can fully utilize the trunk in that length of time, it is suggested that he/she become familiar with the trunk contents so he/she is fully prepared when the trunk arrives in the classroom. Each RESA has an Inventory of Trunk Contents and it is also available on this webpage. The aforementioned Summary of Materials section of the Holocaust Learning Trunk Project: Guide and Resources book can also assist educators prepare.
The contents of each trunk are identical with the exception of the color poster from The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous which varies from trunk to trunk.
Two of the three full length films provided in each trunk have an R rating. Therefore, it is suggested that while these films cannot be shown to students in their entirety, certain clips can be used. In such a case, an educator may watch the film(s) themselves and choose specific scenes that display accurate portrayals of historic events, society, morality, and/or religion. Examples:
- Schindler's List - Page 113 of Teaching the Holocaust suggests the scene which follows a single, upper-class Jewish family as they are expelled from their home in a matter of minutes, as their home is then occupied by Schindler, and as the family is joined in an already crowded and furniture-less apartment by a large Hasidic family. (This excerpt is especially useful in discussing the pejorative views of Eastern European Jews, so-called Ost-Juden that assimilated, Western European Jews sometimes held. The scene positions the viewer in the place of the later rather than the former.)
- The Pianist - Page 114 of Teaching the Holocaust suggests "a number of scenes depict[ing] the class distinctions among Jews incarcerated in the Warsaw ghetto."
The third full length film provided in each trunk, La vita e bella (Life is Beautiful), is an award-winning film written, directed, and starring Roberto Benigni. It has a PG-13 rating. It is in Italian but English subtitles are available. This film shows a unique, distinct, and surprisingly humorous or uplifting perspective on the Holocaust as it follows an Italian Jew as he, his wife, and young son become camp prisoners. The father shields his son from the horrors of the reality and tries to preserve his innocence and belief in humanity by telling stories and constructing games for him to follow. A longer plot summary is available in the Summary of Materials section of the Holocaust Learning Trunk Project: Guide and Resources book which can be found in each trunk and is available for free download on this webpage.
The Short Life of Anne Frank is highly recommended for classroom showings. It is a 28-minute long look at Anne Frank's life, produced by the Anne Frank Center USA, narrated by Jeremy Irons, and includes the only film footage of Anne Frank. It is appropriate for students and is an excellent tool because it teaches about the Second World War and the Holocaust through the lens of a phenomenal young girl with whom many students can identify and admire.
The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust welcomes and encourages educators of all disciplines to utilize the state-wide Holocaust Learning Trunk Project. Educators may work together or share the contents of the trunk during the standard three week check-out period.
The trunks were decorated by students at schools in metro Atlanta ranging from public, private and religiously affiliated. Each trunk has a story. The welcome letter in the blue/black folder in each trunk identifies who decorated the trunk. For a full list of the schools who participated in decorating trunks visit this webpage. Pictures and videos of trunks being decorated, quotes from students involved, and artists' statements are also on the website.
If your RESA cannot answer a specific question please contact the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust's Emma Ellingson at 770-206-1555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.