My friend Kevin Murphy, who teaches 8th grade language arts at West Middle School in Nampa, Idaho, and I are working on a joint family-research project. He mentioned that he was teaching the Holocaust. His students would study a play based upon The Diary of Anne Frank and other works of literature, then do a research paper. I reminded him that I teach at a Jewish high school and had access to books and people who might be good resources for him. He had a better idea — what if our students collaborated so that mine could help his learn about history through my students’ family stories?
My students are currently in the process of answering interview questions posed by Kevin’s students via a wiki he set up for this purpose. His students are interviewing their own families about their own histories. My students are excited about sharing. Some of my students are desendants of Holocaust survivors. Kevin’s students felt that learning about my students’ families would enable them to hear “the stories and not just the history.”
If you get a chance, check out our work in progress.