Paper Clips: Such a Simple Object Turned into a Powerful Lesson
In 1998 Whitwell Middle School principal Linda M. Hooper asked Sandra Roberts to begin a Holocaust Education class that would be the basis for teaching tolerance in a voluntary after-school program. Sandra Roberts held the first class in the fall of 1998. Soon the students were overwhelmed with the massive scale of the Holocaust and asked Mrs. Hooper if they could collect something to represent the lives that were exterminated during the Holocaust. Mrs. Hooper responded that they could if they could find something that related to the Holocaust or to World War II. Through Internet studies, the students discovered that people used to wear paperclips on their lapels during World War II as a silent protest against Nazi occupation. The students decided to collect 6,000,000 paper clips to represent the estimated 6,000,000 Jews killed between 1939 and 1945 under the authority of the Nazi government of Adolf Hitler. After hard work and a lot of help, the students were soon able to fill an entire train car (that had been used during the holocaust to transport Jews to the concentration camps) with over 11 million paperclips. 6 million to represent the Jewish men and women who died, and 5 million to represent homosexuals, gypsies, Christians, and the many others who lost their lives..
On January 19, 2012, Block II sat together in a crowded room, watching this documentary. I looked around, and what did I see? I saw my friends, my colleagues, completely still (which happens to be quite a challenge for some) silently watching the story unfold. I saw tears, I heard laughter, I felt. This one film brought together 40 college students in a tiny room full of tables, smells, and uncomfortable chairs; and it made me think of how I might be able to bring together a class of 20 some students from diverse backgrounds - how I might be able to make a difference in their lives. And I thought... maybe I could introduce them to the paperclip.

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    Block One Memories

 Last semester was a whirlwind of lesson plans and ERC hours. Though this semester is looking like it's not going to fall far from the tree dubbed, "Barb's Block," I cannot help but look back on the wonderful events of 2011.

     Group activities abounding, I got to know some the best people and experienced some great activities. At one point in the semester, a wonderful professor of ours decided that we would be making self-portraits and spend a day building a community through art, games, and even voting on PB&Js. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I can get into a little trouble with trying to make the drawing done in class a little too "clean." However, that does not stop me from trying. :) All of the class put their skills to work in creating their best rendition of a self-portrait. The hardest part being the figuring out which colors best suited our own skin color. From there, most of the class started the slow approach of sketching and outlining faces, trying to incorporate all the different elements of a self-portrait.

The Finished Project:

     During our Civics Day, the hit of the event seemed to be the game Apples to Apples. An ingenious game that pins people against each other in the hope of winning the spectacular green apple card. Silly? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. However, what caught my interest was the giant poster the class created together to symbolize who we were as a community: