Friday, May 14, 2010

What do you think?

We have finished reading the play The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. What did you think? Write a comment about the play or about the comment of another student.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Trains, train stations, and public transportation

I have to take a train from the Munich airport into the city, and then another from Munich to Prague, Prague to Berlin, and then from Berlin to Amsterdam. When I arrive in Munich, I will have had little sleep after a 15 hour plane trip. I don't have very much experience with trains and public transportation. Yes, I am afraid.
  1. How will I buy a ticket?

  2. How do I know where the train will arrive? and which train to get on?

  3. Will I know when to get off the train?

  4. What if I get on the wrong train?

If I know the questions, I can find the answers. Most mistakes have some remedy. I'm not afraid to ask for help. But I worry. I'll try not to. My son will be along to share my pain. Worry doesn't come naturally to him. He doesn't...maybe because I have it covered for the whole family. Maybe I can learn something from him.

Difficult Choices

Anne Frank and her family were immigrants. Her father moved the family to Holland in 1933. They learned to speak Dutch which was eaiser for the children than for the parents. Her father, with the help of Dutch businessmen, started a business and supported his family. These immigrants were accepted by the Dutch people.

Then came the Germans and the Dutch Capitulation. The same discriminatory laws the Franks had escaped by leaving Germany followed them to Holland. Anne's father then devised a plan to take the family into hiding. This plan would require the help of the others - others who were willing to risk the same fate that awaited the Franks and the other Jews in Holland. It must have been a difficult choice.

Why were Meip and Mr. Kraler willing to take that risk? Were they grateful that Mr. Frank had given them a job, just as Mr. Frank was willing help the Van Pels family because Mr. Van Pels had helped Mr. Frank get his start in Holland. They chose to resist an oppressive regime that treated some people as less than human. Hiding, feeding, protecting, keeping an important secret were some ways that Meip and Mr. Kraler protected the Franks and the Van Pels.

What are some other ways that the Dutch people resisted the Nazi regime? I will travel to the Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam, but it is not called the Dutch Resitance Museum in the Dutch language. What is the museum called in Dutch? The first person to post the answer will have their comment included in my blog!! Ready, set, go!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Oh, the places I will go...

Four years. This idea began 4 years ago when Ms. Bowen, Mr. Hancock, and Ms. Henderson received a grant to go to Italy. They encouraged me to plan a grant proposal of my own. So I began to plan, and now thanks to Fund for Teachers, I get to see the places I have only read about in books, only looked at on maps, and only pictured in my imagination.

Thursday, June 10
Fly to Munich

Friday, June 11
15:00 Hitler and Third Reich Walking Tour of Munich/Radius Walking Tours (Central Train Station-North entrance)

Saturday, June 12
Jewish Museum
Statmuseum (Munich City Museum)

Sunday, June 13
9:15 Dachua Concentration Camp Memorial (Radius Tours)
Königsplatz /Hitler addresses a mass meeting at Konigsplatz in Munich August 16, 1922/Site of buildings that housed Nazi headquarters

Alte Pinakothek

Monday, June 14
Bike tour of Munich - Königsplatz, Odeonsplatz, Englischer Garten, the Hofgarten, and Old Town
Tuesday, June 15
German Museum of Science and Technology – 6 miles of exhibited objects from 50 fields of science and technology, including a Messerschmitt Bf 109 E fighter aircraft (1938) in the eastern part of the new hall which represents a new generation of combat aircraft used by the German Luftwaffe.


Wednesday, June 16
Travel Day

Thursday, June 17
Jewish Quarter Walking Tour
Tristian and Isolde 18:00 State Opera House

Friday, June 18
Terezin Memorial/Lidice Memorial

Saturday, June 19
Prague Castle Quarter

Sunday, June 20
Karluv Most (Charles Bridge)
Paddle boat tour

Monday, June 21 Train to Berlin

Tuesday, June 22
Berlin Walks 3rd Reich and Hitler Tour 10:00
Unter den Linden/Brandenburger Tor
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Wednesday, June 23
Jewish Museum
Check Point Charlie
Topography of Terror

Thursday, June 24
Victory Column

Friday, June 25
Museum Island

Saturday, June 26
More Museum Island
Night train to Amsterdam

Sunday, June 27
Anne Frank House

Monday, June 28
Jewish History Museum
Waterlooplein Flea Market
Dutch Resistance Musuem
Dutch Theatre Memorial

Tuesday, June 29
Rijks Museum
Van Gogh Museum

Wednesday, June 30
Artis Zoo

Thursday, July 1
2:10 Fly home

Saturday, May 1, 2010


One thing I have learned about teaching is that I do not always have the answers to my students' questions. I tell my students that all learning starts with questions. We can look for the answers together. I don’t think their questions about the causes and the consequences of the Holocaust are going to have simple answers, but curiosity and commitment to learning is something I can model for them.

I will travel to Munich, Prague, Berlin, and Amsterdam this summer to visit many Holocaust and World War II related sites.

Below are some questions inspired by my students:

Where did it all begin? Why did Hitler gain a following?

What was Jewish life like in Europe before the rise of National Socialism?

How do memorials honor victims and instruct the living?

Who are the perpetrators, the collaborators, the victims, and the bystanders? Are bystanders perpetrators or collaborators?

How were books and art a threat to the control the Nazi party needed over even German citizens?

What was Jewish life like in Prague before WWII?

Was it the music or ideas of Richard Wagner that were so attractive to Hitler?

How did Hitler and the National Socialist German Worker's Party (Nazis) come to power?

What was Jewish life like in the Netherlands before the Dutch capitulation?

How did the Dutch people resist the German oppressors?

What is the danger of propaganda today?

What populations are at risk of persecution today? What is our responsibility?