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Program in the Humanities

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Check out this month’s CEC News!

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April 2015

FEATURED Resources: Valuable new resources for teaching about the Holocaust in North Carolina

The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. When the actual date of Yom Hashoah falls on a Friday, the state of Israel observes Yom Hashoah on the preceding Thursday. When it falls on a Sunday, Yom Hashoah is observed on the following Monday.  This year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day falls on Thursday, April 16.

The Consortium has partnered with the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, & Human Rights Education of NC (formerly the Holocaust Speakers Bureau) to create detailed lesson plans to accompany the Center’s short documentaries of Holocaust survivors living in North Carolina. All films will be 20-30 minutes in length and divided into short chapters for easy integration into the middle and high school classroom. The lesson companions will be aligned to the NC Essential Standards and focus on helping students gain a true understanding of the individuals impacted throughout this tragic history, as well as how this history is relevant to our society today. Two films and their accompanying lessons are finished and available for free access via the links below. At least 6 additional films and lessons are due to be completed.

A Greek Girl in Auschwitz – Rebecca Yomtov Hauser’s Story
Lesson and link to film:
In this lesson, students will be exposed to the moving story of Rebecca Yomtov Hauser, a 20-year-old Jewish girl who lived in loannina, Greece with her family, until 1944, when the entire loannina Jewish community was rounded up and sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland. Students will view Rebecca’s account of her experiences, from the moment she and her family were forcibly removed from their home, to the moment she was liberated and learned that she was the only survivor in her immediate family, by watching the short documentary, A Greek Girl in Auschwitz – Rebecca Yomtov Hauser’s Story. Through intermingling film clips with intensive class discussion and critical thinking activities, students will learn about Rebecca’s traumatic experiences throughout and after the Holocaust, as well as her undeniable strength, resilience, and courage. This lesson culminates with a group project where students assume roles on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Jewish Women and attempt to design impactful ways to aid survivors in 1945, ultimately exploring the importance of positive civic action in their own lives today.

Survival & Resistance: Hidden Children of the Holocaust
Lesson and link to film:
Accompanying PPT:

By the end of World War II in 1945, six million Jews were dead and as many as 1.5 million of them were children. For the children who did survive, most did so in hiding, many with the assistance of brave resisters. In this lesson, students will learn about the hidden children of the Holocaust with a focus on the personal story of Renee Fink, a Dutch Jew and current North Carolina resident who was placed into hiding at the age of four. Through a Power Point presentation, in depth class discussion, readings, and viewing “On the Back of a Stranger’s Bicycle, Renee Fink’s Story,” students will learn about the impact of World War II on the Netherlands in general and on Jews in particular; resistance during the Holocaust; hidden children of the Holocaust; and the way one individual – Renee Fink – was impacted. By integrating Renee’s testimony with historical facts, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the realities experienced by individual lives throughout this tumultuous period. As a final project, students will connect themes of the Holocaust to North Carolina events (past and present) by focusing on North Carolinians who have fought against various examples of injustice, hate, intolerance, etc. in their own community. Students will create an award and speech to honor these North Carolinians, gaining an understanding of the difference one person can make.

Additional Holocaust lessons from the CEC are available in our Database of K-12 Resources:

From Dachau to Durham
May They Rest With Dignity and Peace
Date & Time: April 26; 3:00pm
Location: Durham Hebrew Cemetery

The Holocaust Speakers Bureau, Beth El Synagogue and the Kehilah Synagogue invite members of the community to the unveiling of the memorial sculpture honoring the buried ashes of victims of the Dachau concentration camp. This event will be held rain or shine.

For more information, contact Beth El Synagogue at 919.682.1238 or

Additional information about the burial of Holocaust victims in Durham  is available from the following articles:

North Carolina Summer Seminar for Holocaust Educators
Date: June 23 – 27, 2015
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Registration Deadline: May 15, 2015

The North Carolina Holocaust Institute will introduce the foundations of the Holocaust and Judaism to teachers from public, private, and parochial schools. Our focus will include the historical context of racial prejudice in North Carolina as we travel to the International Civil Rights Museum and the site of the F.W. Woolworth building in Greensboro. As we continue to examine the state’s history, we will examine how teachers can create effective lessons on the Holocaust using the Common Core and other standards required in specific school settings.

Some seminar highlights:

  • Presentations by academic scholars in the areas of the Holocaust, Judaism, and NC social justice topics
  • Echoes and Reflections Curriculum training and free classroom materials
  • Affordable housing available at NCSU
  • Visits to NC Museums
  • Four meals, continental breakfasts, and other snacks
  • Collaboration and sharing of classroom resources
  • Time for writing and reflection

Additional information, including registration information, is available here.

 News Updates

1) Lawmakers Want To Tweak New A-F Grading System For NC Schools
By Originally published at on Apr 2, 2015

Some North Carolina lawmakers are looking to make changes to the state’s new A-F grading system for public schools.

In February, public schools received their first-ever grade based on how well their students performed on standardized tests and how much academic growth they made. Almost 30 percent of schools received Ds and Fs, most of which had large populations of low-income children.

The grades were calculated on a 15-point scale, so schools received As if they scored between 85-90 and Fs if they scored below 39.

State law mandates moving to a 10-point scale starting next school year, but lawmakers have a proposed a bill to hold onto the 15-point scale for a couple of more years.

“How can you have year after year comparisons if you’re changing the rules? You can’t do that,” said representative Craig Horn (R-Union).

Many more schools would likely receive Ds and Fs under a 10-point scale. The proposal quickly passed in the House and is now before the Senate.

Representative Bryan Holloway (R-Stokes) said he thinks the state should get rid of the grading system altogether. “I think they’re artificial grades,” he noted. Still, he is in support of keeping the 15-point scale around.

Other related proposals would change the grading formula so that student improvement is given more weight. Currently,  80 percent of the grade is determined by how students perform on end-of-year tests, and 20 percent is based on student growth.

Senator Josh Stein (D-Wake) proposed a bill that would change the formula to 40 percent student performance, 60 percent student growth. Another House bill from Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg) would change it to 20 percent performance, 80 percent growth, and a group of Republican representatives are proposing that schools have two separate grades, one for performance and another for improvement.

Those bills will likely not get as much support, especially from Senate Republicans, who argue that it could lead to policy whiplash and make it difficult to evaluate a school’s actual progress.

Current Opportunities

1. Save the Date for Talkin’ Tar Heel – a New CEC Workshop
Date & Location: July 15-16; Tryon Palace, New Bern, NC

North Carolina’s history is rich with diverse people and dramatic events, and where better to spend two engaging days exploring such dynamic topics than at the beautiful Tryon Palace? K-12 teachers are invited to join the Civic Education Consortium for Talkin’ Tar Heel: Exploring the History & Diversity of North Carolina. This innovative program will integrate immersive experiences at North Carolina’s most famous historic site, scholar lectures, pedagogical exploration, and more. Every attendee will receive a free copy of the book, Talkin’ Tar Heel and enjoy a special session with the book’s authors.

We’ll post all the details and registration information at once all the details are confirmed.

2. Only 3 More Adventures in Ideas Seminars Remaining This Semester 
Register now to secure a spot in a general seminar offered by the Program in the Humanities. K-12 Teachers receive a 50% discount off tuition and a $75 travel stipend as a part of the Daisy Edmister Fund. Seminars are Friday evening and Saturday morning or all-day Saturday. Receive credit for 10 contact hours of continuing education. While these programs are designed for a general audience and do not include pedagogical training or lesson plans (unlike the Consortium’s teacher trainings, which include a combination of pedagogy, curriculum exploration and scholar lectures), these seminars are still an excellent way for teachers to expand their content knowledge in various topics.

Topics and dates are:

For more information about these opportunities and to register, visit or call 919-962-1544 or email  Register today to secure a seat!

Please note: Teachers are eligible for only one $75 stipend per semester.

3. Middle East Content Survey
Deadline: May 1, 2015

The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies is conducting a short survey to assess demand for Middle East material among North Carolina teachers. We’d love to hear from you about what resources you would most like to use in teaching content on the Middle East in your classrooms. Your responses will guide us in creating FREE resources for teachers!

This survey should only take about 5 minutes to complete, and your responses will be anonymous. After completing the survey, you will have the option to enter a prize drawing: free dinner for two at a restaurant of your choice! The winner will be notified in early May.

You can access the survey here:

If you have any questions about the survey, please email Emma Harver, Program/Outreach Coordinator at

4. Inspire North Carolina’s Leadership Academy
Deadline: June 1, 2015

Wake, Mecklenburg, Orange and Durham County Teachers! Here is a great opportunity for your students!

Inspire North Carolina empowers high school Juniors and Seniors to be leaders in their communities starting with our inaugural Leadership Academy in summer 2015.  During this three-day ALL EXPENSES PAID Leadership Academy, students will learn valuable leadership skills, create new friendships, and become equipped to create positive change among their peers in their communities.  Following this training Inspired Leaders will commit to and participate in an “Inspired Year.”  During the school year, students lead nonpartisan voter registration drives, civic action projects, and learn first-hand how democracy works!

Accepting applications until June 1, 2015.  Inspire NC is looking for High School students (for this year, from WAKE, ORANGE, DURHAM, and MECKLENBURG counties) who will be Juniors and Seniors in the 2015/16 school year.  They are also looking nonprofits to partner with on civic action projects.  Teachers to be facilitators and interested people to be mentors to our Inspired Leaders.

Apply for the program here: For questions and/or additional information, you can also contact Nicholas Hall at 864-907-7888 or

5. Two Great Online Courses from James Madison’s Montpelier
Dates for both workshops: January 1 – December 31, 2015

a) Constitutional Amendment: The Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is one of the most cherished parts of the Constitution—it is a touchstone for the protection of the most basic and important rights that Americans enjoy and a crucial vehicle by which citizens can assert protections against the government. Explore the full array of rights ranging from the basic political and social rights of the 1st Amendment, to the criminal and civil protections in the second half of the Bill of Rights. The 9th and 10th offer a kind of guide to interpreting the constitution.

Learn more about the Bill of Rights online course and enroll today.

b) Constitutional Foundations
The United States Constitution is the longest operating written charter of government in the world. It was drafted in 1787, ratified in 1788 and was operating over the first eleven ratifying states by 1789. It has been amended only 27 times since its adoption. This free online course takes you through each article of this foundational document, exploring such concepts as Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary, the States, Ratification and Amendment, and the People.

Learn more about the Constitutional Foundations online course and enroll today.

6. CHAMPS Kids: Children Against Mines Program

At the NCCSS Conference in February we kicked off a service-learning campaign in North Carolina schools to raise $20,000 for a mine detecting dog. The money raised will pay for the purchase and training of a dog that will be deployed in areas of the world where landmines are a hazard to adults and children. Each year thousands of children are maimed or killed by landmines left in the wake of war. A mine detecting dog can save thousands of lives in the region it is deployed.

The CHAMPS Kids program is part of the Marshall Legacy Institute. That organization will facilitate collecting donations and the purchase and deployment of the dog. We anticipate that the North Carolina-sponsored dog, “Tarheel” will be out saving lives and preventing injuries by next year.

So, how can yours school participate in this service-learning project?

Help North Carolina sponsor a dog and help the children of the world.

7. 2015 Law Week Contest
The North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (NCBA YLD) Law Week Committee invites your school to participate in the annual student contests in honor of the 58th annual observation of Law Day. The NCBA YLD sponsors six separate student contests for students from elementary to high school. These contests can provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about our legal system, get creative, and win prizes for both students and your school. This program can be incorporated into a curriculum, offered for extra credit, or just done for fun. This year’s theme is “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law”.  Any students in grades 3 – 12 are encouraged to apply.

Please see the materials posted below for further information. Contact information is included in the materials below if you have questions about Law Day or any of these contests.

Law Week Student Contests – click links for more information

Grades 3-5: Poster

Grades 6-8: Photo Essay, Essay

Grades 9-12: Essay, Moot Court, Video Essay

Awards will be made in middle and high school categories. Student winners in each category will receive monetary awards.  The winning students schools receive a prize check (1st place $300, 2nd place $150, 3rd place $75).  Winners, their families, and teachers will also be invited to Raleigh to participate in the Law Day Awards Luncheon Ceremony, and will have an opportunity to meet state Supreme Court justices, appellate court judges, attorneys, North Carolina Bar Association leaders, and members of the North Carolina General Assembly.

8. Teaching About World War I with the Constitutional Rights Foundation

The Constitutional Rights Foundation is excited to announce their first free resource under this Gates grant: “A Fire Waiting To Be Lit: The Origins Of WWI.” In this resource you will find a balanced and well-researched text supplemented with maps, images, political cartoons, and primary source documents, as well as discussion and writing activities all tightly aligned to the Common Core.

Click here to view a short webcast on the lesson and to download the lesson and free resources!

9. NCTM Invites Proposals for PreK-8 Pre-Service Teacher Action Research Grant

Deadline: May 4, 2015

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is inviting proposals from pre-K teachers to support a collaborative action research project by university faculty, pre-service teachers, and classroom teachers seeking to improve their understanding of mathematics in preK-8 classrooms.

Primary emphasis will be placed on collaboration among a team of researchers consisting of university, elementary/middle school teachers, and pre-service teachers from the undergraduate ranks. Research should be designed, implemented, and completed with a focus on enhancing the teaching and/or learning of mathematics in grades preK-8.

A single grant of up to $3,000 will be awarded. Grant funds should be used to support project expenses to plan and carry out the research.

The applicant must be a current full individual or e-member of NCTM or must teach at a school with a current NCTM preK–8 school membership. The participating pre-service teacher(s) must be in an initial licensure/certification program at the undergraduate level and, at some point during the term of the grant, must be engaged in some form of practicum experience or student teaching.

For complete program guidelines and application instructions, see the NCTM website.

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