Seventh-grade students have been learning about World War II and are beginning their culminating research project for the year. As part of it, students will explore a range of topics from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the Holocaust and beyond. Chrissy Laycob recently spoke to students about her family’s experiences during the Holocaust.
Mrs. Laycob’s grandparents lived in Poland at the time of Nazi occupation and, as Jews, they were discriminated against and eventually ended up in concentration camps. Her grandfather was saved by Schindler’s List and her grandmother was moved through multiple camps including Auschwitz. They both survived the war and reconnected in their hometown, married and immigrated to Canada by way of Israel.
For the students, hearing from speakers during this unit has helped them gain an enriched understanding of the human experience that comes with history. “Oftentimes, a textbook can’t provide the context needed for students to empathize with those that lived during these times,” says 7th-grade history teacher Grace Barlow. “It is our hope that, by introducing students to the human experience, they will achieve greater understanding than simply knowing the ‘facts’ of history.”