Epic Holocaust Writing Project #2 #engchat

This is the second of several posts that will talk about an epic Holocaust writing project that we are embarking on.  Too much for just one post, so enjoy.  Click here to read the previous post.

As we, my 8th graders and I, decided to go all in with our penny project, we soon found ourselves faced with a big question…Where do we start? 

The Right Tool for the Job – Google Apps 

Google Drive Icon

I knew right away that in order for us to collaborate, create, and share materials my 8th graders would need school issued Google accounts.  Our Tech Director did so, but we felt we better not give email privileges.  Next year when they are in high school, they will have this feature to use on their iPads.  But for now, we really need to utilize Google Drive.

Got to Start Somewhere

I personally wanted to get ideas from the students individually first.  I felt if we just started brainstorming together as a large class, some students wouldn’t get their ideas voiced, and it could become a mess fast.  So I created this Google Survey.

When they finished, we were able to see the results and see what recurring ideas there were.  As we identified some ideas up on the Smartboard, I had a student record them on a separate Google Doc that was shared with the whole grade.  It wasn’t until this step that I realized this project needs to be broken into two phases:

           Phase 1 – Spread the Word
           Phase 2 – Collect the Money

Go Big or Go Home

Before we dismissed from class, we needed to set a goal: How much did we really want to raise?  We considered a few things before setting the amount.

  1. We are a small school that has roughly 140 students total in the high school.
  2. The population of our community is approximately 1,500.  
  3. We have technology resources available for our use.
  4. One penny represents one soul that was tragically lost in the Holocaust.  
  5. Anne Franks’ quote – “Everyone has some good in them.”
We started thinking in terms of souls rather than just money, and the numbers rose.  We thought $1,000 would be attainable, and that honors 100,000 souls.  But the students were enthused, driven, and determined.  We agreed that we would try our best to honor 250,000 souls or $2,500.  It was a number that would really challenge us.  Then, after a brief moment of realization, one student spoke up, “That’s not even 1,000,000.  That’s not even close to 6,000,000!”  And that’s when I could see students’ faces attempt to fathom just how many souls were lost.  
And that’s when a small grin formed on my face.  The purpose of this project had just set in.
To be continued…
Mr. Bormann
English Rocks!

P.S.  Check out our YouTube channel for video updates on on our progress and technology being used.

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