I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Thursday, April 28, 2016

What's with the paper clips?

9pm. Or earlier. That's when I usually go to bed.

So why on this earth was I up past 10:30 last night?

It's my own fault, caught up in my 8th grade religion class content for next week: the Holocaust, the Jewish faith, and the rise of Antisemitism & religious prejudice/intolerance.

I was watching a documentary that I had purchased through Amazon video called "Paper Clips" (which I intend to show to my 8th graders next week in class) - it follows the story of a middle school in a rural Tennessee town in which the teachers set out to get their students learning about people of different races, religions, and backgrounds. The Holocaust was their topic of choice, and in the Holocaust over 6 million Jewish men, women, and children were killed (and another 5 million were killed who were disabled, homosexual, or belonged to other stereotyped groups).

What does 6 million look like? That was a question posed in the film. So the students and teachers set about figuring it out - they did this by collecting paper clips, which were apparently worn in Norway by people protesting the treatment of those being rounded up by the Nazis. (I had no idea!)

Not only did they collect 6 million paper clips, they collected millions more through an outpouring of generosity and love sent with heartfelt messages of remembrance for those who had lost loved ones during this horrible time in history. (They also got the news and some journalists involved - word spread quickly!) Additionally, they were able to create a permanent memorial on the grounds of their school by putting the 6 million + 5 million paper clips in an authentic cattle car that was used to transport up to one hundred people at a time to concentration camps.

The film was very moving - to me, it demonstrated the power of how one small idea can turn into something that brings together a community as well as people from around the world. The documentary addressed breaking and stopping stereotypes. I was in tears due to the actions of this small town to help remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust and to help others who now come to visit learn more about it too. The students became the teachers, and it was humbling as a teacher to realize that the most incredible learning takes place when the students take the reins and help a project grow.

1 comment:

  1. Your students will remember all the videos you share and discuss with them forever! :)