A Survivor’s Journey Storymap

Link to Oregon Holocaust Memorial site

Direct link to StoryMap

In order to learn how to implement project-based learning into our instruction, we have been engaged in some project-based learning of our own. The memorial project has been incredibly motivational. It has compelled me with a powerful intrinsic drive that I am eager to pass onto my own students. For my part, I chose to work on generating a timeline based on the story of a survivor that calls Portland home. As someone that was raised Jewish I felt that I might have more of an understanding of some of the cultural references, and so sifting through stories could be a natural strength of mine as a contribution.

Before I could begin to work on a timeline I first had to select a story to portray. With dozens of survivor stories to choose from, I read as many as I could stand. It was an emotionally draining task, but also an important part of the learning process. Having an educational goal that required me to do this type of research made learning feel like discovery. In order to create a storymap that would be visually appealing and compelling, my main criteria were that the survivor had to have moved around a lot and had to be directly involved. I didn’t want to base the project off of an interview with someone describing what it was like for their family if they didn’t experience it directly, and I wasn’t looking for the story of someone who had bee-lined straight from Europe to Portland either. When I stumbled onto Manny’s story I knew that I had struck gold.

After reading through his account more than once, I picked out what I thought to be the most pertinent details as well as a list of everywhere he had lived on his exodus across the world. I used a free tool for creating interactive timelines on the website knightlab to bring all the pieces together.

I downloaded pictures from websites like Wikicommons and Flickr. These sites have photos that are within the public domain and have usage rights that permit them being re-published. Even though they are public domain, I made sure to cite them if the author requested it. I picked points on a world map that approximated stops on Manny’s journey, and in each location I added an image and blurb containing excerpts and paraphrased info from his interview. After editing the final product, the project was ready to be added to the website. If I had more time I would have liked to add two or three more. Maybe this could be a project for one of the classes that comes to visit the memorial.

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