Pre–World War II European Jewish Life Photo Project
Students are assessed several ways: through demonstrating the ability to choose photos according to the provided criteria concerning places and dates of Nazi control; through completing photo analysis sheets (two); through associating/seeing the parallel of their current life with their own photo that relates as evident in choice of photo(s) brought into class; through answering the questions posed in their writing assignment in an organized, thoughtful piece; and through explaining what happened to the Jewish community researched in answering the questions given.
Indicators of student understanding within these research and writing assignments are presented several ways. In their analysis of the researched photos, the level of detail given clearly suggests the amount of time taken to scrutinize them, and in turn, how well students comprehend what they see in the photos. In the written piece, student explanations of what they see in the Jewish photos about normal life, and how that relates to what they see in their own family’s photos, is a good indicator of student understanding of the lesson, particularly if a student shares some type of “story” about a family member in reference to both photos.
With respect to researching the Jewish community depicted in one of the photos, student understanding can be assessed through the details they give concerning the community’s cultural and communal life prior to Nazi invasion; it seems the fewer the details given, the less students are able to understand how “normal” each community was.
Students are also informally evaluated on this project through class discussion generated to see if they are participating and whether obvious connections were made between the photos researched, their own lives, and what the communities have in common. Clear indicators of student learning during the discussion are apparent through students’ comments comparing their own lives now or as a child to what they see in the photographs of the entire collection. For example, comments that spontaneously parallel what Jews did in their spare time to what the students do is a clear marker.
This particular project is also assessed through an essay question on the test following this unit: What was Jewish life and culture of interwar Europe like? Why is it important to consider as an aspect of the study of the Holocaust? Explain your answer using what you learned through, as well as giving examples from, the photo/research project; the video “There Once Was a Town”; The Three Gifts, by I. L. Peretz; and what we read about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.