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Monday Mapping: The Most Important Lesson

I've taught in a few schools over my academic career, and now most of my students have grown up and moved on into adulthood.  Still, when I run into my former students, one conversation always takes place - the most important lesson they learned in my class.

This Holocaust Interactive Timeline available in my TpT Store.
During each spring semester, usually during March, my school would move into testing mode.  With the state mandated testing starting the first of April, we were required to prep, prep, and do more prep.  For most teachers, this turned into an all out, stop what you're teaching, and review to the test activity, but in my classes, I turned to what I considered more important than anything else: My Holocaust Unit.

Over the following month, students would be introduced to the victims, the perpetrators, the heroes, and most importantly, the bystanders of the German genocide and others.  We also completed an in-depth study of ourselves, taking a good look at who were were as individuals, and considering what role we may have played in Nazi Germany during the 1930s.

Through a series of thought-provoking activities, well selected movies, and reflective and collaborative lessons, I walked my students through the timeline of events from pre-war Germany to the end of the Nuremberg Trials, followed by a modern-day examination of hate groups and current genocides around the world.

While students are in tears in their other classes for obvious reasons, a whole variety of emotions are experienced in my class through the month.  Students not only learned about the horrific event in history, they also learned about themselves and the world they lived in, even in modern times.

While I am no longer in my classroom, I am hoping that these lessons will continue in other classrooms across the country and around our world.  After all, we learn history in an effort to avoid the mistakes of the past, and hopefully to learn how to make ourselves better for the future.

Now be sure to hop over to a few other secondary blogs to read what matters most in their classrooms!

http://reallearningroom213.blogspot.ca/2015/04/snow-days-ticking-clocks-and-teaching.html

Happy Teaching!