In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's memoir Night, a scholarly, pious teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust and the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves.
The reason why I re-read this book is because this coming week I am starting my portion of the integrated unit on the Holocaust. In case you are not familiar, one of the teaching strategies of middle school is to teach on a team of teachers who all teach the same students. Since we all of the same students this means that we can teach lessons around a central theme. This can be a very exciting and challenging undertaking. One of the integrated themes that the team that I teach on uses is the Holocaust. In years past when we teach our Holocaust unit I have done activities about how big one million is. We have done everything from figure out how many boxes of macaroni we would need to have one million elbow pieces, to taping together sheets of paper that have 10,000 dots on them.
This year I have decided to try something different. The Terezin Concentration Camp had over 15,000 children pass through between 1942 and 1944. Of these 15,000 children very few of them survived, but their poetry and pictures did and can been seen in the book I Will Never See Another Butterfly. In order to understand the number 15,000 and to tie into the butterfly project that the language arts teacher is teaching my students are going to collect 15,000 soda pull tabs. These pull tabs, once collected, will then be donated to the Shriners.
So, if you have any soda pull-tabs please send them my way. I am sure that my students will greatly appreciate them in our efforts to reach 15,000.