Ms Collins is a fifth grade teacher who each year teaches about the Holocaust as part of the social studies curriculum. Every year, for the past five years, Ms Collins has approached the art teacher, Mr. Klonsky, and asked if he could do an art project with the fifth graders that would address the topic of the Holocaust.
Each year Mr Klonsky has declined, explaining his hesitation this way: "This is a huge issue. So huge, in fact, that adult artists have had difficulty translating the horror of the death of more than 12 million Jews, homosexuals, Gypsies, communists and others, into meaningful visual images." Mr Klonsky's main concern here is leading a group of 10 and 11 year olds through a project that would result in images that were meaningful rather then trivial.
This past year, Ms Collins took a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC and brought back a collection of posters. She shared the posters with Mr Klonsky and they were quite moving: A photograph of a child's wooden pull-toy that was overlaid on to a map/blueprint of one of the Camps, a photograph of a pile of shoes, cloth patches of pink triangles and Stars of David.
If you were Mr Klonsky, what would you do? Would you finally agree to introduce the topic of the Holocaust with your fifth grade classes? If not, why not? If so, how would you approach this delicate topic with children?
Find out how Mr Klonsky handled the situation.