National Seminar In NYC Becomes a Year of Virtual Activities For Teachers

While the health crisis prevented 27 teachers from attending the national seminar in New York in June, the participants have enthusiastically embarked on a yearlong journey together reading, writing, and sharing classroom lessons via TOLI’s website and over Zoom. In June and July, participants introduced themselves online and read and responded to TOLI Senior Program Director Sondra Perl’s book, On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate. Many made connections to today and the rise of antisemitism and hate speech in the US.
Beginning on August 3, the teachers began their study of curriculum and best practices. Educators Ashley Harbel (NH), Marla Palmer (SC), and Eileen Angelini (NY) used interactive pedagogy to share their expertise when teaching about the Holocaust. Lesson plans detailing their presentations were posted to a Google classroom site for use by other participants throughout the school year. This virtual event had TOLI faculty and teachers listening to a TED Talk on the problem of silence, looking at images from the deportation of Jews in Paris, and considering testimony from a bystander. Each presenter led us skillfully through her lesson, asking us to write and respond as we made personal connections to the material. The teachers in this cohort will continue with these sessions every month until all members of the group have taken us through a lesson that is meaningful to them and that can be usefully adapted to other classroom contexts. The same cohort will meet next year, June 2021, in New York for an in-person seminar.


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