South Orangetown Central School District

Educators from the Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education visited fourth grade classes at Cottage Lane Elementary School last week as part of their current ELA unit.

 “This visit focuses on a discussion of ‘moral courage’ in the context of three books from our Historical Fiction unit and in students’ own lives,” said K-5 Instructional Literacy Coach Kristy Nadler. 

In teacher Jennifer Grennan’s fourth grade class, HMCTE Educator Dina Daniels referenced Lois Lowry’s novel “Number the Stars.” She explained that many people during the Holocaust exemplified moral courage by risking their lives to protect others and that these individuals are referred to as “The Righteous Among the Nations.” 

Daniels emphasized that there are opportunities every day for each of us to be courageous. “In everyday situations, you can display moral courage by having empathy for others and by helping to bring people together,” she said.

 Through a series of interactive exercises, students were invited to share and reflect on occasions when they were brave, helped a friend or were bullied. Then, they worked collaboratively in small groups to consider how to respond to authentic scenarios. 

The remainder of fourth grade classes will meet with HMCTE educators later this month. Throughout the school year, eighth- and tenth-grade social studies classes visited the Center as part of their character education and social studies curricula. 

“When the Museum re-opened in their new location in Fall 2022, they welcomed our social studies teacher-leaders to determine where experiences, differentiated by grade level, would best align with our curricula,” noted Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Brian Culot, Ed.D. “Our students have the opportunity to tour the museum and hear first-hand accounts from Holocaust survivors and liberators. We are grateful for this collaboration; it truly enriches our curricula and brings it to life.”

Holocaust Museum Educator Visits CLE