After the students finished reading Surviving Hitler, they began the Holocaust Resistance Museum project. We started talking about people that resisted Hitler and the Holocaust, and then, we read two articles from Scholastic Scope. When they had sufficient background knowledge (Surviving Hitler is perfect for a sixth grade reader), we began the project.
Each student was assigned a rebel that resisted Hitler during the Holocaust. We used the United States Holocaust Museum website to research. The students did their research by reading the identification card, which can be accessed on the website, about their specific person. After they did their research, the students wrote a short (paragraph) summary about their rebel, and then, they wrote a “Day in the Life” entry using the facts from the identification cards. Finally, they connected their person to one of the Positivity Project (the character education program that we use) traits and gave a short explanation. As the grand finale, they presented their information in a museum setting to other students in the school building (yesterday).
Today, the students will write a reflection about the project experience. Here is my reflection (to show the students):
As the students progressed through the project, I kept a record sheet for when they completed their first draft and final draft. This was a great way to keep all of the information organized and to be sure that every student was ready on Friday (prior to the museum on Monday). The project should have taken about a week, but because of the snow days and delays, we needed to extend the project to about a week and a half (almost two weeks).
The students did a really nice job researching their specific rebel and writing the summary and the “Day in the Life” entry. They were well prepared and their work looked like sixth grade work (honestly, it looked a little better:). I was really impressed with the final written pieces. Prior to the museum, I set up all twenty-five stations for the students. The students stood behind their work and answered any questions.
Next year, on a suggestion from a student, I am going to organize the rebels between passive resistance and aggressive resistance. This sparked good conversation between some of the students, and I believe that if I structured it this way next year, we will have good conversation with the entire class. I am also going to let the students set up their own work. Since they are the ones that worked so hard on the written work, I feel like they should organize the work as they wish it to look.
We had about sixty visitors (students and teachers). I wish that we had more visitors because I know that the students were hoping for another class or two to visit, but this is a busy time of the year. This year, I sent an email to fourteen teachers and the administrators. Next year, I will send an email, and when we are three days away from the museum, I am going to put a typed reminder note in their mailboxes. I know that I always need a reminder.
All in all, I was very pleased with the students’ work and their behavior during the museum. I explained to them that we were honoring these people for their bravery and that we needed to be mature and keep the museum silent (like the real museum) during the presentation. They did an awesome job!
Next year, I am going to add an aspect to the project. The students are going to design a tile (with color) with an important aspect from the Holocaust (example: butterfly, pebbles), and I’m going to make a small 4’x8’ tiled wall that we can set up in the library.