Members of the second cohort of the Museum’s WWII Summer Teacher Institute—30 middle school and high school educators—have arrived in New Orleans to study the war in Europe with historian Donald L. Miller, PhD. Each teacher is provided a Museum-created curriculum guide in exchange for a commitment to share its content and the lessons they’d learned with other teachers in their hometown. So far, those lessons have been shared with more than 1,000 teachers by members of the Institute’s inaugural class—Team Pacific, studying World War II in the Pacific with author Richard B. Frank—who recently returned from Hawaii where they completed their year of participation in the program. Team Europe will reconvene next summer for a week of study in Normandy, France.
Members of Team Europe are filing daily dispatches about their experiences at the Institute. Here’s a Day One report from Ashley Bullock, a middle school teacher at Sandusky Middle School in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Hello from the Big Easy! Monday, we kicked off Day One of the WWII Summer Teacher Institute, starting with the amazing Donald L. Miller, PhD, who discussed the importance of ideologies and what they do for human beings.
After touring the Museum, we then returned to study the curriculum guide created for the Institute, which includes essays and lessons plans for teaching the war in Europe. Out of all the experiences we had Monday, one of the favorite lessons among the teachers was the classroom lesson from the curriculum guide using “What would you do?” scenarios. For this activity, we were divided into groups and asked to read a scenario presenting a dilemma from the war and then make a decision based on the evidence that was presented. After we had made our decision, we were able to learn the actual outcome of the scenarios. Not only did this give us a different way to look at the war, it also drove home how individual decisions shaped the historical narrative of World War II.
I personally think that this lesson was intriguing because it shows the relevance of choices and consequences—for our students, a great way to weave in some character education. As teachers who all teach in different places with different students and different needs, this lesson is one that is easily adaptable to all of our classrooms.
Though it’s only Day One, I have learned so much new information, and look forward to getting more creative ideas for teaching World War II.
Visit ww2classroom.org to see WWII Summer Teacher Institute curriculum guide content.