Jessica Sorensen, a teacher at Chancellor Middle School in Spotsylvania County, is bringing back lessons designed to engage and promote students’ understanding of Holocaust history from the nation’s leading Holocaust education conference this summer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, according to a news release from the museum.
Sorensen was one of 260 participants from all over the country who attended the annual Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators, a three-day workshop for teachers in July. The conference is a part of the museum’s ongoing effort to equip educators with the knowledge and skills to effectively bring Holocaust education into their classrooms.
“Educating students about the history of the Holocaust provides an opportunity for young people to think critically not only about the past but also about their roles in society today,” said Gretchen Skidmore, director of education initiatives for the Museum’s William Levine Family Institute for Holocaust Education. “As the global leader in Holocaust education, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum works to ensure teachers have the training and resources they need to introduce their students to this important and complex history—and show them how its lessons remain relevant to all citizens today.”
Every year, the museum trains hundreds of teachers through programs held in Washington and around the country. The institution provides these teachers with advanced tools and teaching materials for students of history, English, social studies, language arts, library science, journalism and more.
At the Belfer conference, participants teamed up with museum educators and scholars in sharing rationales, strategies and approaches for teaching about the Holocaust. They also explored the Museum’s latest exhibition, “Americans and the Holocaust,” which examines American society in the 1930s and ‘40s and the factors that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism. Program participants also heard from Esther Starobin and Louise Lawrence–Israëls, two Holocaust survivors who volunteer at the museum.
The museum’s website, ushmm.org, provides resources at no cost to educators, including a range of online training modules, lesson plans and extensive historical information about the Holocaust.