My Family Story

By: Ms. Lizabeth Shrier
from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community Day School

Development of Critical and / or Creative Thinking, Interdisciplinary Integration

Subject(s) of entry:
Art, History, Literature, Jewish Identity

PBL - project based learning

Grade(s) to which this was taught:
8, Middle school

Grade(s) for which this will be useful:
5, 6, 7, Elementary school, Middle school

“My Family Story” was a collaborative unit between my 8th grade history students at Beth Tfiloh, their art classes, the Jewish Museum of Maryland and the Diaspora Museum (Beit Hatfusot) in Tel Aviv. As the opening unit of my ancient history course, students delved deeply into their personal histories and identities, conducted genealogy research, interviewed family members, researched immigration stories, and created family trees; they then chose one aspect of their family history to depict artistically and worked with the guidance of their art teachers to create visual representations of their unique family stories. The “My Family Story” unit culminated in an evening event that began with a multi-generational prayer service at one of Baltimore’s oldest synagogues and featured an art exhibition at the adjacent Jewish Museum of Maryland, where the students showcased their work to siblings, parents, grandparents and community members.

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