Monday, March 31, 2014  

Teaching the Holocaust | Literacy in the Park

Tim Murnen (left) and Heather Elliott-Famularo have developed a program for area teachers on Holocaust curriculum development.

“It is important to teach the Holocaust not only because it was a horrible time in world history, but because it provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the deeply moral issues of what it means to be a responsible citizen in the world today,” said Heather Elliott-Famularo, chair of the digital arts division in the School of Art.

The creator of “Bearing Witness: The Voices of Our Survivors,” a documentary film about Toledo’s six remaining Holocaust survivors and their conversations with local children, Elliott-Famularo wants to expand that experience to provide language arts, social studies and media teachers in grades 6-12 an authentic way to approach one of the last century’s most horrific events.

She has formed an innovative partnership with Dr. Tim Murnen in the College of Education and Human Development to offer seven area teachers the chance to follow in the footsteps of the six survivors through Poland, Hungary and Greece. The Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program through the U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $70,000 grant to BGSU for “Walking Witness: Civic Responsibility in the Shadow of the Holocaust.” The remaining $19,000, or 22 percent, of the total $89,000 cost will be contributed by BGSU.

“Walking Witness” will allow participants to conduct original research and connect with educators in those countries while tracing the life paths of Toledo’s survivors.

An additional group of 24 K-12 teachers may participate in the “Bearing Witness Summer Institute” preparatory workshop June 15-20 at BGSU to learn how to perform primary and archival research, gather oral histories, engage in intercultural activities with community members, and receive technical training to incorporate video, audio and other techniques into interactive lesson plans. The curriculum they ultimately develop will be shared across the state and nationally, Murnen said.

The workshop is also open to undergraduate and graduate pre-service teachers, and the skills taught can be used in other humanities subjects as well.


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Following the harsh winter, the 13th annual Ohanami, or Cherry Blossom Festival, will be a welcome breath of spring. This year’s event will take place from 2:30-6 p.m. April 6 in 101 Olscamp Hall and is free and open to the public.

With traditional Japanese food, games and crafts, the festival has become a popular outing for families as well as students and Japanese people living in the area. Attendees can try their hand at origami, calligraphy, and rice-cake making and see traditional Japanese folk dance, martial arts and taiko drumming, among other activities.

The festival is sponsored by the Japanese Club and Asian Studies Program. For more information, contact Akiko Kawano Jones at or 419-372-7136.

Daniel Tutolo, 79, a professor emeritus of educational curriculum and instruction, died March 26 in Toledo. He began teaching at BGSU in 1973 and although he officially retired in 1994, he continued to teach in the College of Education and Human Development until 2011.


• Children’s author and musician Eric Litwin, best known for his “Pete the Cat” books, is the featured presenter at the University’s Literacy in the Park April 5. 

• Shakespeare’s "The Tempest" swirls onto the BGSU Firelands Theater stage in April.