MS Students Create Butterflies of Hope In Wake of Pittsburgh Shooting

Anne Franzen
I am fortunate that our school is very open to teaching lessons of the Holocaust throughout our entire middle school. We have been using echoes and reflections, the ADL anti-bias curriculum, and “Facing History” . . .The week before The Tree of Life attack, my students were studying the arts, culture and life of Terezin, with special emphasis on reading the stories and poetry created by children their age. On Monday after Pittsburgh, I gave my students butterflies on cardstock and they were allowed to express themselves through poetry and prose using the words they’d been given from students their age. The only structure they were given was that it had to fit into the butterfly. When we were finished, we attached the butterflies to the white board, and as each class went through, we added more. By the end of the day, the 80 butterflies showed the hope and promise for my students. Many students saw the butterflies as a call to ensure that the butterfly is a symbol of hope for all. Our entire student population felt both comforted and empowered. Truthfully, so did I. Being a Holocaust Educator is an awesome responsibility, and doing this activity let me know that my students will be positive agents of change.
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A premier PK3 - Grade 12 independent, coeducational day school with campuses in North Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. Since 1960, The Benjamin School has provided a challenging college preparatory education to a diverse student body in a structured, nurturing community environment.