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Teacher Professional Development Day

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Navigating Challenging Stories:
Strategies for Teaching About the Holocaust and Antisemitism in Your Grade 6 Classroom

Thank you for attending Teacher Professional Development Day! Recordings are available in our Virtual Library.


All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

9:00 - 10:00am

Voices in the Void - The Rescue of the Danish Jews

Yaron Tzur, Ghetto Fighters House Museum  

2023 marked the 80th anniversary of the unique rescue of the Jews in Denmark, when in a short time, more than 7,000 Jews (about 95% of the Danish Jewry) were smuggled on fishing boats to Sweden. The workshop presented is based on the animated film - "Voices in the Void", produced by 'Humanity in Action'. The film sheds light on the flight and rescue of the Danish Jews in October 1943, presented by the perspective of the child Bent Melchior, who would later on become the chief Rabbi of Denmark. The activity focuses on the values and beliefs that shaped the decisions of those involved.


Yaron Tzur is the director of development and digital art the Ghetto Fighters House Museum, the first Holocaust Museum in the world. The Museum was founded by Holocaust survivors.

10:00 - 11:00am

The Story of Aharon Barak: A Short Film That Teaches So Much About the Holocaust

Lori Gerson, Echoes and Reflections 

Teaching the Holocaust to younger students can be especially challenging. In this session, we will learn some basic principles of how to teach the Holocaust in an age-appropriate manner. We will then watch a short film that combines animation with archival footage and discuss how to use it in your sixth-grade classroom.


After graduating from Barnard College in New York, Lori Gerson worked for many years in the field of education in the United States. After making aliyah, Lori began working at Yad Vashem as a guide for educational groups. Since 2016, Lori has taken on the role of Educational Coordinator in Yad Vashem’s International Training and Education Department where she lectures, coordinates seminars, develops curriculum and guides educators in best practices.

11:00 - 12:00pm

Teaching Holocaust in Grade 6, From the Pedagogy of Shock to the Pedagogy of Empathy

Dominique Trudeau, Montreal Holocaust Museum

This program will introduce participants to the Montreal Holocaust Museum's pedagogical approach that emphasizes historical empathy. In addition, they will discover the variety of resources available to teachers for addressing the Holocaust in the classroom with a young audience. They will have access to all the resources freely available to put it into practice. This is built around one of the Museum's flagship objects, the Heart of Auschwitz. Moreover, a teacher's guide based on primary sources contains all the resources necessary to conduct this activity in the classroom.

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Dominique Trudeau began her career at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where she spent over 20 years pioneering innovative educational programs. Afterwards, she worked at the Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal for four years. From 2012 to 2018, she led education programs at the McCord-Stewart Museum, emphasizing playful learning and fresh perspectives on history. Since November 2022, she has served as the head of Education at the Montreal Holocaust Museum, contributing her wealth of experience to shape a new museum experience. Throughout her career, her commitment to excellence blends scholarly rigour with creative pedagogy, ensuring meaningful encounters with history for all visitors.

12:00 - 1:00pm

KEYNOTE: "I'm Afraid To Be Sad": How Our Emotions Help and Hinder Learning About Atrocity

Keynote Speaker: Danny M. Cohen, Ph.D

Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Professor of Instruction

Associate Professor of Instruction School of Education & Social Policy

The Crown Family Center for Jewish & Israel Studies

Northwestern University

Founder of Unsilence

When we teach about mass-violence, our emotions can either become barriers to learning or be leveraged to enrich a learning experience. In this session, we will ask: How can we help learners navigate their emotional responses to violent content? In what ways can emotions support and get in the way of learning? What pedagogical approaches can we use to support students to identify and process their complex emotions, including contradictory emotions, and "clear a path" for deeper learning? How can we best support learning about atrocity while minimizing vicarious trauma? And how can we, as educators, navigate our own emotional responses to violence content, at the same time?


Dr. Danny M. Cohen is a learning scientist and writer. A distinguished professor of instruction at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, Danny specializes in Holocaust memory and education design. He is the author of the choose-your own-pathway mystery THE 19TH WINDOW and the historical novel TRAIN, a selected text of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Danny is the founder of Unsilence and is co-chair of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission.

1:00 - 2:00pm

Concurrent Sessions

Enseigner l’Holocauste en 6e année : les ressources de la Fondation Azrieli

Marc-Olivier Cloutier, Azrieli Foundation (French language program

Tout est en respectant les meilleures pratiques en enseignement de l’Holocauste, cet atelier sera une occasion pour les enseignants de 6e année de découvrir les ressources de la Fondation Azrieli, disponible gratuitement partout au Canada. Nous allons analyser ensemble le nouveau curriculum d’études sociales, et discuter de bonnes pistes pour aider les enseignants à savoir quoi enseigner exactement. Nous allons également présenter notre plateforme Re:Collection, nos expositions virtuelles, nos vidéos ainsi que nos ressources éducatives qui sont destinées à un public de 6e année.


Marc-Olivier Cloutier has been working at The Azrieli Foundation’s Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program since 2015. In his current position as manager of Education Initiatives, Marc-Olivier creates resources and connects teachers and students across Canada with this material. He also organizes conferences in Canada to support scholarly engagement with survivor testimony and teacher development workshops to help educators feel comfortable teaching about this sensitive topic.

Holocaust Education is Character Education

Patrick Mascoe, Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship (CHES)

For twenty-years I have used Holocaust Education as a tool to teach Character Education.  It was used as the basis of a program I started called “Building Bridges” (which brought Muslim and Jewish students together).   My school was an inner-city school and the majority of students were Muslim.  No matter one’s view on what is happening in the Middle East, the Holocaust and its history is a lesson for all.  It examines the irrational behavior that supports racism, discrimination, and hate.  It also shows us how not to be a bystander by giving us numerous examples of people who did the right thing.  It is that focus that makes the lessons of the Holocaust important and accessible for all.   Teachers will learn that Character Education opens the door to speak openly about both the Holocaust and modern anti-semitism.  


Patrick Mascoe has run the Building Bridges program for 20 years. He has received the Arie Van Mansum Award for Holocaust Education and Yad Vashem's Catalyst for Change Award.

2:00 - 3:00pm

Practicing Historical Corroboration to Combat Antisemitic Denial and Disinformation: To Hope and Back: The Journey of the St. Louis

Kate Lukaszewicz, Classrooms Without Borders 

Learning historical corroboration is vital for students to counter Holocaust denial and the burgeoning denial of the Hamas attack of October 7. Kathy Kacer’s To Hope and Back: The Journey of the St. Louis is an excellent resource for teaching this skill. Understanding and analyzing evidence promotes the kind of critical thinking skills that are crucial to resisting disinformation. It's important to address historical events like severe restrictions on Jewish immigration during World War II and Canada's response to the Holocaust. These events underscore the impact of antisemitism on Jewish communities' development and identities in Canada. For example, the Canadian government implemented policies such as "none is too many," severely restricting immigration and turning away ships like the MS St. Louis filled with Jewish refugees fleeing persecution. Additionally, Canada's response to the Evian Conference in 1938 highlighted its reluctance to admit Jewish refugees from Europe, further exacerbating the challenges faced by Jewish communities in Canada. By describing these events, students learn about historical injustices and the importance of countering denialism. Mastering corroboration empowers students to confront denial with factual evidence and a commitment to truth and justice. Understanding the contributions of Jewish communities to Canada reinforces the need for a more inclusive and empathetic society. In conclusion, historical corroboration equips students with the skills needed to combat denialism and build a better future.


Kate Lukaszewicz, with 20 years of education experience, is a seasoned expert in instructional design, teacher development, and fostering civil discourse. As Educations Programs Director for Classrooms Without Borders, Kate leads the institution's professional and community learning, especially as it relates to antisemitism, racism, and xenophobia. Kate's commitment to social justice shines through her work, making her an invaluable resource for educators seeking to learn about the Holocaust and its implications in the classroom.

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