"Scary World" Educational Resources

For Elementary School Students

12 “Easy” Steps: Helping Young Children Cope with Loss, A Guide for Teachers and Parents of Younger Elementary School Students [PDF]
By: Chai Lifeline
Overview: This guide provides 12 concrete steps for adults to help younger children navigate tragedy and loss. 

I Wanted to Fly Like a Butterfly [Lesson Plan]
By: Yad Vashem
Grade: 3-5
Overview: Presenting the subject of the Holocaust to young students in elementary school is not simple. The emotionally heavy aspects to this historical period are difficult to grasp. Through the book I Wanted to Fly Like a Butterfly, Yad Vashem tries to discuss the subject of the Holocaust with students in a way that enables them to take in the story while becoming familiar with basic concepts relating to the Holocaust.
Find more Yad Vashem lesson plans for every age by clicking here.

Paperclips [Full Length Movie]
Age: 8-years-old and above according to Common Sense Media 
Overview: This documentary chronicles a rural Tennessee middle school's unique class project: finding a meaningful way to honor Holocaust victims. Brought up in a heavily fundamentalist Christian environment, most of the students had never seen, let alone spoken with, a member of the Jewish faith; nonetheless, the children of Whitwell found a poignant method of honoring the slain. Using individual paper clips to represent each life lost in the Holocaust, the students were inundated with contributions from around the world. Eventually, they managed to procure an authentic German rail car, which would become container to the millions of paper clips collected. (Source: Rotten Tomatoes)
To use A Teaching Guide for Paper Clips, click here.

For Middle and High School Students

Je Suis Charlie et Ahmed: Teaching and Learning About the Charlie Hebdo Attacks
By: The New York Times
Overview: These attacks raise difficult questions about free speech, diversity and extremism in a civil society. We recognize that talking about such issues is not easy — for students or for adults. Our friends at Facing History and Ourselves have helped to frame what ideas might be included in such a classroom conversation.

The Holocaust and Human Behavior Unit Plan for Jewish Day Schools
By: Facing History and Ourselves
Overview: This course is designed with middle and high school students in mind. The unit outline can and should be adapted to suit the needs of your class. It includes readings, resources, videos, suggested activities, discussion questions, and relevant Jewish texts (in their original form and translated).

Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement [Resource Book PDF]
By: Facing History and Ourselves
Overview: Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement focuses on a time in the early 1900s when many people believed that some "races," classes, and individuals were superior to others. They used a new branch of scientific inquiry known as eugenics to justify their prejudices and advocate programs and policies aimed at solving the nation's problems by ridding society of "inferior racial traits."

Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration & Complicity in the Holocaust [Interactive]
By: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Overview: Millions of ordinary people witnessed the crimes of the Holocaust—in the countryside and city squares, in stores and schools, in homes and workplaces. Across Europe, the Nazis found countless willing helpers who collaborated or were complicit in their crimes. What motives and pressures led so many individuals to abandon their fellow human beings? Why did others make the choice to help?

Deconstructing the Familiar: Photo Activity [Lesson Plan]
By: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Grade: 7-12
Overview: his photo activity has students examine photographs from the Holocaust which may or may not be familiar to them. By examining the photographs, first without a caption and then with a caption, students see the behaviors of ordinary individuals and think about the pressures and motives that might have shaped the behaviors.

What Would You Do: Antisemitism [TV Episode]
By: What Would You Do? With John Quinones, an ABC Network hidden camera, ethical dilemma series
Overview: Would you speak up against anti-Jewish comments? What Would You Do? is an American television news magazine and hidden camera show broadcast on ABC since 2008 as part of the Primetime series. In the series, actors act out scenes of conflict or illegal activity in public settings while hidden cameras videotape the scene, and the focus is on whether or not bystanders intervene, and how.

What Would You Do: Man Racially Profiled While Shopping [TV Episode]
By: What Would You Do? With John Quinones, an ABC Network hidden camera, ethical dilemma series
Overview: Would you speak up if a sales clerk openly racially profiled a black male shopper? What Would You Do? is an American television news magazine and hidden camera show broadcast on ABC since 2008 as part of the Primetime series. In the series, actors act out scenes of conflict or illegal activity in public settings while hidden cameras videotape the scene, and the focus is on whether or not bystanders intervene, and how.

Writing in Impossible Circumstances [Lesson Plan]
By: The Anne Frank Trust & Amnesty International
Overview: The Writing in Impossible Circumstances resource marks 70 years since Anne Frank began to write the lines that would become her world-famous diary. For generations since, that little red notebook has become testament to the power of words to challenge oppression. The other writers featured in this resource showed great courage, often writing in prison or detention, and made great sacrifices because of their belief in the fundamental rights of humanity. With the luxury of living in a democracy, we may find it hard to comprehend the selflessness and strength needed to speak out against oppression – and then to continue that struggle despite the perils of writing in incarceration. This educational resource encourages students to consider a variety of human rights issues, including the importance of freedom of speech. Students are also challenged to develop their own sense of empathy, together with their skills in creative writing.

Lessons Not Learned: Exploring Atrocity after the Holocaust [PDF]
By: The Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education
Overview: Through an exploration of six case studies of mass atrocities, this framework designed for students in grades 7th grade and above offers historical background, discussion questions and classroom activities, each aligned to the 2010 Ohio State Learning Standards and the Common Core Standards.

One Survivor Remembers: Antisemitism [Lesson Plan & Full Length Movie]
By: Teaching Tolerance: Southern Poverty Law Center
Grade: 6-12
Overview: Gerda and millions of other Jews were targets of the virulent antisemitism promoted by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party. Antisemitic laws, violence and propaganda preceded the Holocaust. Some have called antisemitism “the longest hatred,” tracing its roots more than 2,000 years. This lesson focuses on the rise of Nazism in pre-World War II Europe; keep in mind, though, that prior to this period, Jews were fully integrated into German society.
Stream the video for free: click here
For the lesson plan: click here

Antisemitism Unit Plan
By: Jewish Education Center of Cleveland
Grade: 6-12
Overview: This unit provides opportunities to examine historical and contemporary anti-Semitism. Students learn to recognize those characteristics of anti-Semitism that remain constant regardless of time or location. Additionally, students learn to recognize the difference between anti-Semitism which is a government policy (as in Nazi Germany) and that which exists as a privately held prejudice (as in the USA). This unit also cites examples of everyday occurrences that are either overtly anti-Semitic or offensive to Jews (intentionally or unintentionally) and examines possible responses to such occurrences.

The Secret Annex Online: Discover Anne Frank’s Hiding Place [Interactive]
By: Anne Frank House
Overview: Invite students to explore Anne Frank’s house in 3D to get to know the stories from Anne Frank’s diary. Use these teaching tips to use Anne Frank’s story to make history come alive. 

For High School Students Only

Challenging Anti-Semitism: Debunking the Myths & Responding with Facts [Lesson Plan]
By: Anti-Defamation League
Grades: 10-12
Overview: The purpose of this lesson is for students to learn about the history of anti-Semitism and why it is often referred to as “the longest hatred.” By uncovering the roots of anti-Jewish hatred, students will be able to link historical acts of anti-Semitism to contemporary stereotypes and biases towards Jewish people. Students will investigate how current day extremist groups use anti-Semitic stereotypes to incite acts of violence and hate against Jewish communities. Students will also consider ways to challenge anti-Semitic stereotypes and prejudice in their schools and communities.

A Convenient Hatred: A Workshop Exploring the History of Antisemitism [Book/eBook, 2011]  
By: Facing History and Ourselves, publisher
Overview: A Convenient Hatred provides an introduction to the way antisemitism has evolved over centuries and how it continues to shape attitudes and beliefs in the world today. It is our hope that A Convenient Hatred will inspire deep conversations about hatreds in general, as well as this particular hatred, and encourage positive action.

The Wave [The Experiment and Full Length Movie, 1981 version]
Overview: This site has links to the movie, the original story and background, as well as current activities. Originally produced as part of the ABC Afterschool Special series, the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning The Wave proved so powerful that the network chose to debut the film as one of three entries in its prime-time ABC Theater for Young Americans. Based on a real-life incident that occurred in Palo Alto, CA, in 1969 (and was subsequently chronicled as both a magazine article and a full length book), the film stars Bruce Davison as high-school history teacher Bruce Ross. Frustrated because his students evince a lack of interest in and comprehension of Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1930s, Ross decides to stage a dramatic "social experiment." He indoctrinates his unwitting charges in a radical new movement called "The Wave," which he claims will give them "a feeling you're part of something that's more important than yourself." Part and parcel of The Wave is a strict set of social-behavior guidelines, unquestioning loyalty to the cause, and an open contempt for those "inferiors" who have not been invited to join the movement. Not unexpectedly, The Wave gets out of hand, and soon the entire school is held in the thrall of a frightening new form of neo-fascism. Just when the experiment threatens to go too far, Ross shocks his students back to their senses by running newsreel footage of The Wave's "true leader" (guess who!). The Wave finally made its ABC Afterschool Special bow on March 30, 1983, two years after its initial nighttime presentation. (Source: Rotten Tomatoes)

Remembering the Holocaust and Combating Xenophobia [Lesson Plan]
By: Yad Vashem
Grade: 9-12
Overview: In an effort to promote Holocaust awareness, as well as to foster consciousness about the dangerous rise of antisemitism in Europe, the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem has developed this classroom activity for 16-17 year old high school students about the racial, antisemitic discrimination of Jewish children during the Holocaust and its contemporary connections.

Find more Yad Vashem lesson plans for every age by clicking here.

Educational Modules Based on Audio Podcasts
By: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Overview: The purpose of these educational modules is to help students learn about the following themes: Being an OutsiderFighting PrejudiceHolocaust Denial and Hate SpeechPropaganda and MediaReligion and IdentityRescue and Resistance, and Responding to Genocide. As a teaching resource, the modules: Illustrate the existence and broad impact of contemporary anti-Semitism, Demonstrate the ongoing relevance of the Holocaust to law, faith, the arts, and other areas, and Introduce, punctuate, or end sections of study, as homework or in-class listening.

For Educators of Any Age Group

Contemporary Antisemitism and Jewish Education: What’s to be Done? [Blogcast]
By: The Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education in partnership with The Jewish Education Project
Overview: This unique online four-day event brings together an historian, a psychologist, two researchers, a rabbi and a Jewish educator from North America and the United Kingdom to make sense of contemporary antisemitism and consider how to have meaningful dialogue on it in the classroom.

Addressing Anti-Semitism: Why and How? A Guide for Educators [PDF]
By: Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights & Yad Vashem
Overview: These guidelines provide suggestions for teachers and other educators who feel the need to address issues pertaining to contemporary anti-Semitism. Recognizing that the context may vary in every country, or even in individual classrooms, this document provides educators with a general overview of common manifestations of contemporary anti-Semitism, as well as with some key educational principles and strategies for addressing this complex and challenging subject. 

Not in Our School
By: Not in Our Town (A Documentary Series and Movement)
Overview: Not In Our School highlights and creates networks of schools working to be safe, accepting and inclusive, and free of bullying and all forms of intolerance. Find films, lesson plans and campaign guides for aby grade level.

When Tragedy Strikes: A Guide for School Staff and Administrators [PDF]
By: Chai Lifeline
Overview: School is much more than an academic venue for most children. The camaraderie and friendships, the intellectual and spiritual stimulation, the structure and support – all contribute to making school a unique experience. When this special environment is shattered by tragedy, everyone – from the youngest student to the most experienced teacher – will feel the effects. When crisis strikes, it is the task of school staff and administrators to help their students cope with the situation.

Curriculum Connections: Anti-Bias Lesson Plans and Resources for K-12 Educators
By: Anti-Defamation League
Overview: Curriculum Connections is a collection of original lesson plans and resources that help K-12 educators integrate multicultural, anti-bias, and social justice themes into their curricula. Each edition is organized around a particular topic or theme, and a new edition is published approximately two times per school year.

Confronting Anti-Semitism Myths... Facts... [PDF]
By: Anti-Defamation League
Overview: This guide emphasizes practical suggestions on how to confront anti-Semitic remarks. It discloses the origins of popular misconceptions, contrasts these with factual evidence, and describes recommended responses and actions. It also includes a list of web sites and annotated bibliographies for students and adults highlighting additional resources on anti-Semitism and cultural diversity.

Classroom Materials: Tools for Teaching and Learning
By: Centre for Holocaust Education
Overview: These resources and lesson plans are based on empirical research into the needs of teachers and students and informed by the latest in Holocaust pedagogy. Search all the materials by course type, theme, or key question.

Pedagogical Guidance
By: Centre for Holocaust Education
Overview: The prospect of teaching the Holocaust can be understandably daunting. Not only is this history traumatic, it poses questions central to what it means to be human: including what 'teaching' and 'learning' could and should be. Our guidance offers ways to begin thinking through some of these issues and provides practical suggestions on how to navigate the challenges of teaching this subject.