Thursday, August 1, 2013

Paper Clips (DVD)

Paper Clips

New York: Hart Sharp Video, 2005.  829567029220

Quantitative Reading Level: 

This video would be appropriate for grades 5 and up.  It could be with students or with educators.

Qualitative Reading Analysis:

I would rate this as Middle Low on the “Text Complexity: Qualitative Measures Rubric for Informational Text.”  The thing that moves this up to Middle High would be the references to the Holocaust.  These references are not graphic so I don’t think it would need to be rated as Middle High.

This documentary tells the story of Whitwell, Tennessee middle school students.  What began in 1998, as a class about cultures and prejudice grew into a worldwide phenomenon.  Students decided to collect 6 million paperclips to represent the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.  After a slow start, the school received media exposure and the project took off.  Students received paperclips, mail, and mementos from all over the world.  Holocaust survivors visited the schools.  Once the paperclips had been collected the idea came up to find an actual railcar from Germany that could have been used during WWII.  This railcar is what is used to house the paperclips, letters, and other mementos for The Children’s Holocaust Memorial that was created.

There is a book about the project called Six Million Paper Clips: The Making of a Children’s Holocaust Memorial by Peter W. Schroeder and Dagmar Schroeder-Hildebrand.  This book should be used in conjunction with the video.

Content Area: Social Studies – Holocaust, Math – Number Sense

Curriculum Suggestions:

Obviously this video could be used in conjunction with a study of the Holocaust.  This whole project really helps students visualize the number of people who were killed during the Holocaust.

Even if students are not studying the Holocaust this video is important in any discussion of prejudice.  In addition, it can be used as an inspiration to show students that they can make a difference.

Personal Thoughts:

I can’t watch this DVD without crying.  It is so powerful.  The fact that everyday students can make a difference, understand and bring attention to not only the Holocaust but prejudice in general, and leave us with a striking memorial helps educators carry on and gives us hope for the future.  What is also powerful is hearing the voices of the survivors.

I believe students need to be taught about the Holocaust and other atrocities in order to ensure that it never happens again.  This video is just one way to capture both the horror but also the hope and tenacity of survivors .  

High Interest Annotation: Kids can make a difference and bring awareness to difficult topics.

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