Resources for Teaching about the Holocaust and Hate
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

Recently a Southern California school had the students do a research project on whether the Holocaust really happened. (http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2014/05/06/holocaust-denial-exercise-for-students-in-california-high-school-backfires)

The backlash was considerable and deservedly so. Not only one was the premise beyond common sense, it would mean that the students would be using the Internet and other sources that could be very misleading and, essentially, propaganda. (The Southern Poverty Law Center has a lengthy list of such sites. )

The problem that emerges is that most students don’t know quality site from a propaganda sites. And it is possible that they may have to register or give their email address to sites that pander to hate. As such, it is critical that an educator review all the sites and other sources first.

To this end, here are some excellent sites that provide information about the Holocaust. I use these sites to not only teach the students the evils of hate, but to show them what happens when they don’t stand-up to evil using Nazi Germany as an example. A recent poll indicated that nearly ten percent of American had never heard of the Holocaust and that clearly indicates the importance of George Santayana’s quote, “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.”

I have also added an excellent unit on diaries should you want to take the Diary of Anne Frank and relate it to other such works.

The exhibits here are a must watch for all students. The many lessons that can be learned are invaluable in building better, more active citizens. There are videos here as well. Be aware that the material here may need to be reviewed to see if it is appropriate for younger students.
http://www.ushmm.org/

Jewish Virtual Library
Primary resources for older students
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/holo.html

Teaching plans for various subjects based on the Holocaust
http://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/activity/middlesc.htm

Here is a site that lists hate groups and more
Southern Poverty Law Center
An excellent resource worth spending time with
http://www.splcenter.org/

Lesson plans
Lots of good ideas that fit with Common Core objectives
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson187.shtml

Remembrance Days
http://www.ushmm.org/remember/days-of-remembrance

My unit on Anne Frank and her diary
An excellent unit of study that incorporates other diaries, history, and much more to make this subject more meaningful to students and adults.
https://carfamily.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/diary-of-anne-frank-the-best-unit-of-study-on-diaries/

by Alan Haskvitz

Being retired is a full-time job. My retirement check came right on time, although it took a great deal of patience because I kept on forgetting the password. It would be easy if they would just accept the one I wanted, “1oldfart.”

Anyway, here is my current schedule:

Monday: Free stale bread at senior center. I have to come early and place small rocks on the floor to stymie those using walkers trying to beat me to the good bread (under two weeks old).

Tuesday: Free cheese at government agriculture office. They only have American and it comes in large blocks, but I don’t mind cutting the cheese. The bad news is that is binding and it is difficult to fully explain this to the receptionist at the doctor’s office.

Wednesday: I have volunteered to work at the teachers’ retirement home. They use a bell system to call them to lunch and for recess. The rest of the time they stay in their rooms with their doors shut. I usually bring rap lyrics and try to explain them to those who arrive on time. As usual, some just don’t get it. I think it is because their children don’t follow-up on the homework assignments.

Thursday: Free lunch at the senior center. They do ask for a donation and so I drop my recyclable cans in the collection plate. Very nice crowd and since I am helpful, I spend a great deal of time cutting the spaghetti into smaller pieces for them. I use a switchblades I confiscated from one of my students to cut the meatballs.

Friday: Free movie day. They show some great films and they keep the sound level at nine so everyone can hear. Some people try to ruin it for others by telling how the movie ends, but most people can’t remember and so by the end of the movie it doesn’t really matter.

Saturday: I usually spend the day grading essays I never got a chance to do while teaching. Some are quite good. The problem is a lot are from girls and they have married and I don’t know their last names now and so I don’t know where to send the essays. I sort of feel sorry about that and so I am waiting until December to send them to the “Dear Santa” section of the post office.

Sunday: This is my day of rest and so I stay home, organize my pills for the coming week, and re-order from the Canadian Pharmacy.

As you can see, it is a hectic schedule and thus I won’t be there when the sheriff brings the drug dog.

Your friend,
al

alan haskvitz has been selected as one of America’s best teachers six times and has received over 30 state, national and international awards for his work. He currently does inservices.

Seven Vital Tips for the First Day of School
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
— Will Rogers

That quote might not be accurate, but it won’t hurt to be prepared and let the students know you are prepared. To enable this to happen there are seven important steps that should be taken to get the most of this first impression.

First, be prepared. Have your first day well planned out including a seating chart for the students. It is important to have good discipline from the first day, but that does not mean you have to be mean. Raising a hand to ask a question, asking permission to leave the room, even where to pick-up or hand-in work should be explained as well as the late work policy. Above all spend time reviewing school safety rules. Where are the exits, the fire extinguisher and the emergency routes? You don’t have to make the students afraid of you, but they need to know what your expectations are and when they can get extra help.

Secondly, take control. This is their first day in your class. They need to know the rules and the expect ions. Posting them in the classroom is always a good idea. I recommend having a handout for each student with the discipline code, your contact numbers, materials that they may need to bring, and any other school information. You may not have time to go over the school handbook, but make sure that every students has one as well as any textbooks that are required.

Thirdly, take a long look at your classroom. The first code in your community, if it is like other towns, usually limits the number of flammable items to about 20 percent of the wall space. There cannot be anything hanging from the ceiling or blocking the doors. Sofas and other upholstered items may also be deemed a violation of the rules regardless of how good an idea it might be. I recommend you dedicate at least one board to posting of school related items. As for the other space, I recommend you have students design them based on what is being covered in class.

Fourth, Some of the students may not know each other and so an ice breaker may be of value. I don’t use them, but some teachers find them of value. One idea I sometimes use is to bring in a wolf or other stuffed animal and have the students submit names to name our classroom mascot.

Fifth, Get personal information. I give the students a card asking them for their home contact numbers as well as their interests and favorite hobbies. I even ask them to bring a paper that they did in previous years that they are proud of so they can show it to me later in the week as I get to know them better. And, I always try to contact the parents within the first couple weeks of school or at a Back to School night. Sometimes messages from a students get changed by the time they get home, if you know what I mean.

Sixth, be open to new ideas. I have posted a great many links here. Spend some time and maybe you can discover frosh ideas. Consider having the students write a short autobiography to get to know them.

Finally, be yourself. Whether your first day of class or your 40th, the most important message to leave with your students is that you are a caring teacher. Yes, you have rules, but that does not mean you or without compassion and understanding. Remember you don’t want to mark Will Rodgers wrong.
Read up on classroom management
http://www.pacificnet.net/~mandel/ClassroomManagement.html

A list of great ideas for new and experience teachers.
http://iteslj.org/Lessons/Schroeder-FirstDay.html

Ice Breakers and Checklists from Education World
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson074.shtml
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson073.shtml

Planning for your first day of school
http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr360.shtml

Establishing rules
Ten Ideas
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson274.shtml

Ideas for preparing to work with parents
http://www.middleweb.com/9637/parents-inclusion-classrooms/

Huge selection of ideas and links on everything.
http://www.proteacher.com/030005.shtml

Activities and sample handout forms
http://atozteacherstuff.com/Themes/Back_to_School/

Middle and elementary school ideas including school tour
http://www.cbv.ns.ca/sstudies/activities/1rstday/1rst.html

Back to school bulletin boards
Remember that decorating a door may be a fire code violation as well as having over about 10 to 20 percent of the walls covered with flammable items.
Mainly for elementary
http://tinyurl.com/ob5v2dk

Interesting collection of back to school get acquainted ideas
http://atozteacherstuff.com/Tips/Back-to-School/Icebreakers-Getting_Acquainted/index.shtml

Lots of lesson planning sites
A good place to look for new ideas
http://www.teachingtips.com/articles/Jthefirstday1.html

Set up your classroom seating arrangement virtually
http://teacher.scholastic.com/tools/class_setup/

haskvitz111

Bulletin Boards by Month
http://bulletinboards.theteacherscorner.net/monthly/

Using the Community to Improve Test Scores and Learning
by Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

haskvitz111

The St. Lawrence River was close to the school and so I walked the students in my special needs class to its banks. Most of the students had seen it everyday of their lives, but had never seen it. I took them close to the shoreline and had them look at the small fish and close their eyes to listen to rush of the water. I threw a piece of driftwood into the water. A student with a watch stood 100 meters downstream and called out the length of time it took to travel that distance. I threw another piece this time further out and they did the same. When we returned I showed them how to measure the speed of the river and noted that this is what sailors did in olden times to check their speed. The students found the water moved away from the shore. I asked them to draw the feeling the sound of the river gave them. After the spring thaw, the students returned to the river and instead of the fish there was trash and they didn’t like it.

In these two field trips a lifetime of environmental learning took place. Upset at what they had seen they turned to the community, created posters to display in stories, took photos, and wrote letters. The people responded and the primary goal of all learning was felt by all as the students were empowered to use what they had learned to make changes in society.

So too, my life as a teacher with a hidden agenda began. Today, nearly 40 years later I am now teaching social studies at a middle school and my agenda is still being followed, but no longer hidden thanks to the many teachers and organizations who have found that the community and the students need not be mutually exclusive.

My students have been involved in countless other activities to educate and improve the conservation of resources. Many times my students have been ahead of their times. In 1988 my students wrote a letter to the United Nations asking for a Day of Atmosphere Awareness. The return letter from Arthur Zegelbone promised that the United Nations was aware of the “greenhouse effect” and that there was going to be a World Environment Day on June 5th in Brussels. As we know, little was done since that time, but the students saw the problem and took action. A few years later they wrote and passed legislation that required all state funded building in California to use xeriscape landscaping to conserve water. The bill had overwhelming support. But that wasn’t enough.
After the first encounter with the United Nations they put together an entry that Target selected as one of the best environmental programs in the nation and they traveled to New York to contact members about their concerns. Target and the local water district paid for the trip and expenses.

The students noted the large amount of wasted paper at the school and came up with a method of self-sorting the trash. Not satisfied, they started a conservation club that recycles most everything at the school from printing cartridges to eye glasses. They hold community outreach events to educate adults and students from other schools as well. They started a Monarch butterfly garden to provide a safe home for these migrating butterflies as well as a Feed the Homeless garden that was fertilized using compost from a bin they had won at a country sponsored environmental conference. The recycle bins came from the city.

Nothing the struggle of the grey wolf, they raised funds to sponsor a young pup at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary. Noting that toilets were one of the main uses of water in a household they worked with the local water district to provide water displacement kits for city residents with the goal of saving six million gallons of water a year. To help residents understand the beauty of using landscaping that didn’t require a lot of water they designed and maintain a demonstration garden that shows these plants to residents.

Of course, some of their ideas met dead-ends because those in charge didn’t understand the value of their ideas. Supported by many water districts in the Western United States, they promoted the idea to taking a large trailer containing environment friendly plants to display at malls and major events. In that way, the garden would come to the people. The idea lost the competition, but the students learned a lesson about the difficulty of getting others to see the need to conserve.

Noting that need they decided to see how such changes were made. They decided to find out what was required for citizens to vote and were shocked to discover that they couldn’t understand the voting poll rules. They got a copy of the rules, rewrote them. and asked the Country Registrar of Voters to look at them. The Registrar accepted them and the changes were implemented making it easier for people to vote. They did the same with the state voter registration forms. Millions of California voters were impacted by their efforts.

They worked with the local police department to do safety belt checks and earn the community honors from the National Highway Safety Association. The police also taught the students how to fingerprint and they did this for all incoming students.

Working with local leaders they created a website that enabled communities to compare themselves to other communities in several key areas such as library books, business license fees, medical care facilities, and park space among others. It was judged to be of such value that the students were sent to Italy to represent the United States in international competition.

The students worked with the city landscape staff and came up with a plan which was presented at a City Council meeting. The plan was designed to save the city several million dollars in just a few years.

Making current events more meaningful, the students devolved and printed a newsletter that contained the highlights of every day’s events and faxed it to the local maternity wards where the nurses duplicated it and gave it the mothers of those children born on that day.

There is much more, but the most vital thing I have learned is that having students apply their learning to real world concerns make the lesson more meaningful for them and thus improves society. Perhaps most telling is that despite doing all these projects my student’s test scores have gone up dramatically. My first year at the school the state average for social studies was in the 22nd percentile. Getting the students involved in the next three years helped drive the score to the 94th percentile. Today, 25 years later, the state has a new test but the results are the same. Teaching at a school with seven subcategories; four minorities, ESL, low income, and special education, my students have consistently been at the top of the state test results even compared with gifted magnet schools. Indeed, of my 170 students, nearly 99 percent finished at the top of the State’s yearly standardized test. In other words, the community can provide the motivation to help improve test scores.

The point is that teaching students about the environment by using the community is not mutually exclusive from teaching them subject matter. Just as my special education students did 40 years ago, using the environment as a foundation for a learning lesson encourages them to see the importance of what they are studying and self-motivates them. The results are a win-win-win for the students, society, and test scores.

Editor’s Note: Al’s students also helped Joy Hakim write one of her The Story of Us books. And the student’s Powerpoints on the Westward Movement were accepted by the California Oregon Trail Association to be shared with others as well as the DMV. They also worked to put the Parklands Initiate on the California ballot, created a website on The History of Government that a professor at Harvard had high praise for and created a website that helps others with the State social studies standards. They also created story tapes for the Junior Blind. Finally, there interest in cars resulted in their findings on driving more efficiently being posted on the DMV site and they published their own textbooks. He was selected one of the 100 most influential educators in the world and earned the coveted Cherry International Teaching Award, the only classroom teacher so honored. His students have earned trips to Sea World, Disneyland, CNN, Busch Gardens, Washington DC, New York, the United Nations, and Rome where they represented the USA in technology competition.

Bullying Resources for teachers and parents
by Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

What is Bullying
A good place to start with definitions and examples.
http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/

Large link site that has most everything about bullying covered.
http://www.awesomelibrary.org/Office/Counselor/Conflict_Prevention_and_Mediation/Bullying.html

Great site that covers many aspects of bullying.
http://www.bullying.co.uk/

California department of education site of bullies
Great download manual for dealing with this issue.
http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/se/bullyres.asp

Healthy Place
Great site that has statistics on bullying as well as how to deal with it.
http://www.healthyplace.com/Communities/Parenting/Site/articles/school_violence_knoll.htm

Large bullying link site
Has valuable insights and information on legal matters.
http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/school.htm

NEA bullying resources
http://www.nea.org/home/neabullyfree.html

By The Car Family
for more reviews go to
http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/

Hyundai’s Santa Fe is a pleasant surprise with excellent interior components, a host of technology helpers, the availability of a third row of seats, and low long term costs making this an ideal family vehicle. The CUV category of vehicles is one of the most competitive in the industry as companies as diverse as Porsche and Fiat offer alternatives to tempt consumers. Hyundai has done well in this segment and the new Santa Fe is extremely competitive in both price and features. Indeed, it has been rated very highly in head to head competitions with only more expensive models rated higher.

2015 SANTA FE AND SANTA FE SPORT

2015 SANTA FE AND SANTA FE SPORT

Dad’s view: The base four-cylinder engine is adequate, but we much prefer the turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s acceleration, although the gas mileage isn’t stellar with 20 mpg in mixed driving being our average. The six-speed automatic transmission is standard and is excellent. The ride is compliant, steering feel is quite good and the brakes have a satisfying feel. Scores for Korean made cars have improved dramatically in recent owner quality reviews and the significant warranty provides comfort for those who have been reluctant to try this marque’s offerings. This model is going to be a concern for the competition with exceptional pricing and value. With it performance and equipment it is nearly unbeatable save for the humdrum fuel mileage. Even with the abundance of players in the crossover utility class (CUV), the Santa Fe is a standout and the turbochared 265-hp, 2.0-liter inline-four is quite capable. The 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower is a worthwhile consideration for those that use the 5000 pound towing package. All wheel drive is an option. This Hyundai is compelling choice as it offers the ability to travel to the mountains, seashore, desert or just go shopping in quiet luxury that one does not expect in a vehicle with a starting price in the mid-$20,000 range. Adding to that allure is that way it easily handles chores whether it be dropping of the kids at school, bringing home do-it-yourself items, or going out to dinner.

Mom’s view: An impressive interior with easy to decipher controls, good forward visibility, and comfortable seats make the Santa Fe very user friendly. The position of the sideview mirrors, however, can block your view of pedestrians. The second row seats are ample, but the third row is quite small as it is for most SUVs in this class. Cargo space is limited and so it is good that the Santa Fe’s seats are easy to fold down to carry larger items. I would highly recommend the rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and navigation with an eight-inch touch screen. You can open the power liftgate with the key fob making it much easier to use as part of the must have Premium package that even includes lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear window shades among other goodies. Safety wise you the Santa Fe standard equipment includes a vehicle stability system, traction control, seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag, four-wheel disc brakes and ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, hill-start assist control, downhill brake control and a tire pressure monitoring system. Crash scores were very good, but from a mommy standpoint the Santa Fe is a vehicle I would want to carry my family as it does not shortchange safety.

Young woman’s view: You must order the $4,350 Ultimate with heated and cooled front seats, parking sensors, memory seats, and a larger touchscreen display screen. The center stack is well organized and the ride is much improved over previous models. However, this isn’t a canyon runner. There are faster compact utility vehicles, but none really have offer the combination of ride, performance, and value. It is quiet, conventional looking, and doesn’t attract unwanted attention. Getting in and out when wearing a dress is not a problem and the controls are easy to reach and activate even if you have longer fingernails. The rear liftover is a bit high for me, but the automatic rear hatch negates any problem related to reach.

Young man’s view: Bluetooth and a USB port are standard as well as a very clear rearview camera. Other standard features include alloy wheels, foglights, a windshield wiper de-icers, cruise control, heated front seats, a 40/20/40-split sliding and reclining second-row seat and a 50/50-split flat-folding third-row seat. Also standard are Hyundai’s telematics system and a six-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, USB/iPod integration and a 4.3-inch touchscreen display. I would recommend a close look at the many technology options available on the Santa Fe including the really nice 12-speaker Infinity audio system. This vehicle is surprisingly interesting even if it isn’t the sexiest CUE on the block.

Family conference: If you are looking for a lot of car for the money, the Santa Fe and smaller Santa Fe Sport are must drives. The cabin is very nice, almost elegant, and the menus and functions are intuitive and fast reacting. Putting these traits together in a price range that is thousands under most competitors makes for a persuasive argument. No doubt Hyundai has put safety first with its Santa Fe models.

A Learning Activity for Father’s Day
by Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame

Father’s Day is an opportunity for a fun, yet meaningful lesson, but also time to be mindful that not all children are living with a father. Although there are a variety of activities that largely revolve around creating a poem or a craft that can be given as a gift a more notable lesson can make it learning relevant. Before starting the teacher needs to see which students don’t have fathers at home. These students may elect to send this card to any male in their family. The teacher should discuss this matter with the students first so that there aren’t any hurt feelings. A call home may also be in order.

Once this is accomplished the students create a card such as the one here:
http://myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=famousfathers

The My Hero Theme is an excellent one, but the heroic figures that the student uses needs to be their own. Research on five or so of famous male heroes in history enables this activity to be a true learning activity as well.

To start the lesson the students research famous men in history. The make a list of their character traits and what they accomplished. They decide on which five have the traits that the “father” in their live might have. Next give them a blank card. This can be simply cut poster paper, a large index card or something more elaborate. On the front they write the names of the five men and what they accomplished. They can also consider drawing or printing out pictures to place next to the names.

On the inside cover the student writes “Happy Father’s Day” with some art work of their own making.
On the third page that write, You have the traits of these famous men in history. After they list the name they write the trait and what that person accomplished. For example, you remind me of John Muir because you love the outdoors (http://www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/life/muir_biography.aspx)
and you remind me of John Glenn because you encourage me to meet new challenges
(http://www.biography.com/people/john-glenn-9313269#awesm=~oGevs1ohyfl4Ox)
and you are like Martin Luther King, Jr. because you believe all people are equal
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio.html

On the back page the student can create a poem to their father.
The result is an activity that is requires new learning and is most appreciated by the parent or guardian because it is unique.

Sites with relevant lessons

History of Father’s Day
http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/fathers-day

Most Famous Fathers in Literature
For older students. They need to read the book,
http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/books/30-most-memorable-literary-fathers
Or
A short version of famous literature fathers-day
http://kendall-h.hubpages.com/hub/Famous-Fathers-in-Literature

Lessons for all levels
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson269.shtml

ESL lessons
http://www.eslholidaylessons.com/06/fathers_day.htm

Mainly primary arts and crafts

Link site to a variety of Father’s Day lessons and activities
http://www.henry4school.fr/Celebrations/fathers-day/fathersday.htm#res

Statistics about Fathers
These could be used as the bases for a math activity
http://www.census.gov/search-results.html?q=fathers&search.x=0&search.y=0&page=1&stateGeo=none&utf8=%26%2310003%3B&affiliate=census

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