Sunday, March 15, 2015

Google Cultural Institute

My eighth graders are getting ready to read The Diary of Anne Frank.  The topic of the Holocaust has always fascinated me and I have been blessed enough to meet dozens of survivors over the past thirty plus years.  While I teach in a major U.S. city, my district is not very diverse in terms of religion.  As a result, I am often the first Jewish person that my students encounter.  This makes the concept of religious discrimination, never mind genocide, difficult to teach.  I work hard to make this topic come to life every year and my students often enjoy learning about a new culture.  As the students begin to become engaged, they often forget about religion and begin to relate to Anne Frank on a personal level.

While searching for updated materials to include with this unit, I came across the Google Cultural Institute.  The geniuses over at Google have curated artifacts from the world's major historical events, the wonders of the world and other cultural and artistic pieces and made them available to the average person regardless of physical location.  Many of the pieces in the Stories of the Holocaust collection were provided by Jerusalem's Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial Museum), The Shoah Foundation and The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Google Cultural Institute will be a valuable learning tool throughout this unit.  It may also become a part of other units as I begin to explore the entire site beyond the surface level.  Take a tour of the Google Cultural Institute by watching the video below.

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