Holocaust Remembrance Week

Remembrance Day

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 8), the Greece social studies department invited Mr. John Kula to speak with students.  Currently, John works in the security department in Greece, and he has a rich family history dating back to the 1930s and 1940s in Europe.  John visited Arcadia High School, Arcadia Middle School, and Athena High School over the week.

John’s parents were both captured by Nazis during the Holocaust, and placed in labor/concentration camps.  After the liberation of those camps by both the Russians and the US, his parents met at a refugee camp, were married, and John and his older sister were both born in Europe in those camps.  John and his family arrived in the United States, via Ellis Island in 1949.

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For John’s presentation, he walks students through his very personal connection with the Holocaust, share pictures, talks about the experiences of his parents, and answers questions.  He also outlines the major causes, events and results of the Holocaust, and includes major individuals as well.  Lastly, he completes his talk with the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and passes around pieces of the wall that he owns.  John’s message to the students is centered on celebrating the diversity and uniqueness of individuals, rather than allowing those things to create negative situations and devastation.   He connects this overall theme to bully prevention strategies, and creates an argument that focuses on never forgetting about our history, and making history a personal journey.


“Lincoln” – A Learning Opportunity for Students and Staff

“Lincoln”, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and directed by Steven Spielberg, opens November 16th in Rochester.  The movie focuses on some of the major decisions that President Abraham Lincoln was faced with during his time in office, but specifically focuses on the months leading to the end of the US Civil War.  The movie has been rated PG-13, so many students could attend with family and friends.

Here is a summary of the movie from TheLincolnMovie.com:

“Steven Spielberg directs two-time Academy Award® winner Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln,” a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.”


Lincoln – Starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Directed by Steven Spielberg


If you wish to learn more about the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, either before or after viewing the film, consider the following books:

A Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America, by Harold Holzer

Lincoln: A Cinematic and Historical Companion, forwards by Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy

Lincoln: A President for the Ages.  Essays from leading writers and scholars.  Edited by Karl Weber

Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, by James L. Swanson



November Madness a Huge Success

THANK YOU to all that helped with November Madness.  It was a tremendous success and a great night for student engagement and learning.  Students from all four high schools in Greece interacted throughout the night with each other, with teachers, with building and district administrators, and side by side with school board members.  About 100 students engaged in authentic debates, predictions, and analysis of the election, the Electoral College, and politics in general.  Below are a few of the pictures that captured different parts of the evening.

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November Madness Resources

November Madness is just more than a week away.  Attached are a bunch of  resources that teachers and students can use throughout the evening to analyze the election.  Please feel free to make copies for your students.   What we tried to do was to have students engage in the political process by connecting it to social media, media bias, ideology, the Electoral College, and the candidates.

Teacher/Student Resources:

November Madness Information Sheet – For Students – An invitation for students to attend.

November Madness Electoral College Map – To be completed prior to election night, or during the evening.

November Madness Electoral College Tracking Sheet – For Election Night – A simple way for students to track the election.

November Madness Media Comparison – For Election Night – Comparing coverage on ABC, NPR, CNN, and Fox News

November Madness Social Media – Getting “Plugged In” – Using social media to engage in the election process.

Here are some websites that may help as well:

270towin.com – a great resource for the electoral college process.

studentnewsdaily.com – can be used for conservative vs. liberal ideologies.

youtube.com/politics – The YouTube channel dedicated to the 2012 Presidential Election.

Gallup Polls and News –  A look at the latest news and polls from Gallup

Pew Research Campaign Center – News, research, polls and a Political Ideology quiz

Twitter.com/president – The twitter page for the 2012 Presidential Election.

President Barack Obama’s Twitter page

Mitt Romney’s Twitter page

CNN’s 2012 Election Center

FoxNews 2012 Election Center

If you have any questions, please email: matthew.schultz@greece.k12.ny.us

Thanks…Looking forward to seeing lots of students and teachers in action for Election 2012!



Social Studies Teachers,

Election 2012 is only a few weeks away.  New this year in Greece, we are holding an event called “November Madness.”  Other districts have done similar things in the past with great success.  The basic idea is to have students engaged in the electoral process in many different ways – side by side with teachers, administrators, peers, media experts, and possibly local politicians.  This is primarily for 11th and 12th grade students interested in politics and the election process.

The event will take place on Election night – November 6th, from 7-10pm at the Arcadia Library.  In case of a close election (which it very may well be)…we may be brewing coffee and drinking Red Bull to stay a bit longer.  Attached is a flyer for the event that outlines the who, what, where, when and why questions.  This will be an exciting opportunity for students in Greece to connect the election of 2012 to Citizens in Action, US History and Government, and AP Government and US Politics.  Content connections include the US Constitution, Electoral College, Voting trends, United States Regional differences, Media influence on politics, Political Ideology, persuasive literacy applications, and analysis and polling strategies.  More to come through this blog and your emails!  Please view and print the flyer below for students in AP US History, Citizens in Action, and AP US Government and Politics.

Click here for the “November Madness” Informational Flyer:

“November Madness” Student Flyer

That’s all for now…


Confused About Soft Money? You Are Not Alone.

As the election season heats up and the amount of money raised by candidates is sure to reach a new record students, adults, politicians and federal judges are often confused about how campaign finance law can be applied. The only ones who truly understand it are lobbyists and Super PACs. Please click on the link below for a great summary of soft money and how it is flowing stronger than ever. The video is concise and informative for the classroom.

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