This lesson plan uses group work, creative writing, and multimedia to teach subjects including History, Literature, Civics, Social and Political Education, Philosophy, Language etc. It is also useful in discussions about multiculturalism, war and peace, the Second World War, crimes against humanity, genocide and holocausts (e.g. the Jewish Holocaust), modern European history, moral and ethical issues, struggle for survival, etc.
The Bosnian-Serb siege of Sarajevo, from spring 1993 until winter 1996, was the longest in modern history. With electricity, water and food supplies cut off and only sporadically supplied, with 11,541 citizens shot by snipers or killed by mortars, Sarajevans had to depend on each other.
Students bring in a family photograph they like. This can be from a vacation, a holiday celebration, a family life cycle event, any photograph that includes the student. In class, students look through the Centropa database to find a photograph that looks similar to the one they brought in – people might be posed similarly to the people in their picture, or doing the same thing, etc. Then they read about that photograph, as well as the Centropa interview to find out about the life of that survivor.
Students are each given a short, multimedia film from Centropa to watch. As they watch – they may need to watch it more than once – they are to write down words that important to the story: events (e.g., Kristallnacht), values (e.g., loyalty), or anything important to the person whose story they are watching (e.g., a violin, sports, family). Once they are clear about the story, they go to the Wordle website (http://www.wordle.net) and make a word cloud that accurately represents the story they watched.
The goal of these lesson plans, which should take about 16 hours of class time + home work, is for each student to produce a short biographical film on the subject of his/her family names. The themes of this unit are Jews Names, Historical Timeline, and the development of names and identities in the Jewish Diaspora.