Teaching the Holocaust, Inspiring the Classroom


Source: Echoes and Reflections


In the fall of 2017, Echoes & Reflections, a partnership program of ADL, USC Shoah Foundation, and Yad Vashem, debuted its new website, echoesandreflections.org, to further carry out its mission of supporting educators with dynamic classroom materials and professional development to effectively teach about the Holocaust. Since 2005, Echoes & Reflections has impacted more than 60,000 educators, reaching an estimated 6 million students across the United States. Over the past two years, as we have witnessed the unfortunate rise in antisemitism, the enhanced offerings of the Echoes & Reflections website have provided educators the Holocaust training and resources they need to empower their students to think critically about this important historical event and its impact on their lives today.

All resources and professional development offerings on echoesandreflection.org are free of cost, where educators will consistently find new ways to prepare, teach, and connect with Echoes & Reflections, including:

  • A range of in-person and online professional development programs for teachers to build knowledge, capacity, and practice; all programs provide teachers with access to a range of classroom-ready content, sound teaching pedagogy, and instructional strategies. All programs are listed on the website calendar with easy access to register.
  • In-person programs: Echoes & Reflections works closely with education entities across the United States to deliver programs that support effective teaching of the Holocaust. Led by experienced facilitators, in-person programs in 3- and 6-hour formats include introductory offerings, as well as thematic areas of study on contemporary antisemitism, context to teach Elie Wiesel’s Night, and the refugee crisis during WWII.
  • Webinars: Echoes & Reflections offers multiple one-hour webinars each month led by experts in the field across the Partnership. Topics focus on historical events, such as the Kristallnacht pogrom, pedagogical elements, such as teaching the human story through Holocaust testimony, as well as webinars on contemporary antisemitism, teaching Night, and The Diary of Anne Frank.
  • Online Course: Throughout the year Echoes & Reflections offers its three-part online course developed for the busy teacher. Led by a facilitator, participants explore a range of classroom content and consider instructional enhancements to support students’ rigorous study and reflection of the history of the Holocaust and its ongoing meaning in the world today. Those who complete the course also have the option to earn graduate-level credit through the University of the Pacific.
  • Classroom-Ready Digital Lesson Plans filled with downloadable and printable elements as well as access to hundreds of primary sources, audiovisual testimonies, and content from USC IWitness  platform. The Lesson Plans provide a unique experience for educators to teach about the Holocaust effectively and interactively. Lessons are organized by topics that represent major themes associated with the Holocaust in an order that is roughly chronological; the modular design of the Lessons allows for adaption and customization to specific grade levels and subject areas. The integration of rich content in each Lesson helps students construct an authentic and comprehensive portrait of the past as they frame their own thoughts about what they are learning, resulting in a deeper level of interest and inquiry.
  • The newly designed, interactive multimedia resource, Timeline of the Holocaust, offering primary sources and classroom activities. Designed as Echoes & Reflections first student facing resource, the Timeline chronicles key dates in the history of the Holocaust from 1933-1945. One of the core pedagogical principles of Echoes & Reflections is the belief that the Holocaust was not inevitable. Using the Timeline can underscore this idea, and help students grasp that the Holocaust was a progression of events, decisions, actions, and inactions, not a singular inescapable fate. Students can click on specific events to deepen their learning with additional information and primary source materials. Supplemental resources are provided to teachers to further support classroom instruction.
  • Educator Video Toolbox, which are helpful guides for approaching challenging topics and refreshers to prepare for classroom instruction. Each video is roughly 15-minutes long and provides historical context, methodological and pedagogical suggestions, and questions for discussion. Topics include, Antisemitism, The Ghettos, The “Final Solution”, Resistance, Liberation, and Teaching the Holocaust in Today’s World.

Now in its 14th year, Echoes & Reflections continues to be the premier source for Holocaust education to teachers and students across the U.S. With its new website offerings and pedagogy, Echoes & Reflections is dedicated to exploring innovative, timely, and accessible ways to support educators empower students to think critically about the lessons of the Holocaust, laying important groundwork to inspire youth to create a better future.

Updated: Jul. 28, 2019