On October 27, 2018, eleven people were murdered in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. This event, the most deadly antisemitic attack in US history, has shaken American society and troubled communities across the country and abroad. Since then, hundreds more have lost their lives in violent hate crimes around the world.

Classrooms Without Borders calls on educators to propose lesson plans aimed to help teachers tackle the issues of racism, hate, and antisemitism in the classrooms; teach their students about the Tree of Life shooting; and help them act to prevent more violence.

On this page, educators can find detailed instructions for proposing lesson plans. In case of questions or clarifications, please contact the program’s coordinator, Ran Inbar, at ran@classroomswithoutborders.org.

Purpose

Looking to October 2019, one year after the shooting, Classrooms Without Borders would like to help educators lead their communities in the struggle against hate, racism, and antisemitism.

To this end, they intend to build an online repository of thematic units, complete with model lesson plans, prepared by teachers from middle schools and high schools throughout the country. The lesson plans should relate to the Tree of Life shooting when trying to engage the students in action against hate, racism, and antisemitism (see details below).

Building a repository of lesson plans will provide a resource for educators to:

  • Teach about the Tree of Life shooting in their classrooms in a thorough, effective, and constructive way.
  • Convey a message of activism and involvement.
  • Strengthen the teachers’ community with shared visions, ideas, and methodologies.

Who is eligible to submit a lesson plan?

Any teacher from public, charter, independent, or parochial schools may submit a lesson plan and supporting unit.

Review Criteria

A committee comprised of teachers and other experts in education will review all lesson plans and decide which are the best proposals – three from each track. The following criteria will help the committee reach its conclusions:

  • Creativity: the lesson is planned in an innovative, engaging way. It uses different teaching strategies and methods.
  • Content: the lesson incorporates all the required elements mentioned in the guidelines and template above.
  • Action plan: the lesson plan points out ways for students to decide on and engage in action to counter hate, racism, and antisemitism.
  • Adherence to submission guidelines: the proposal is submitted according to the required template. References to external sources are made when relevant. The plan is fit for two or more class hours.

The committee will reach its conclusions by August 30, 2019.

Awards

All proposed lesson plans that meet the standards presented in this document will be uploaded to the lessons’ repository by September 15, 2019, with credit given to the teachers who wrote them.

For each track (middle school and high school):

  • The first place educator will win a FULL scholarship for a Classrooms Without Borders travel seminar, worth up to $6,000!
  • Second place educators will win a $1,000 grant towards travel expenses or registration costs for a seminar with a focus on racism, antisemitism, the Holocaust, or Israel (can be used for Classrooms Without Borders seminars or seminars through other organizations).
  • Third place educators will win a $200 book stipend (books have to be related to racism, antisemitism, the Holocaust, or Israel. Individual books and classroom kits are allowed).
  • All winning proposals will be presented at the Antisemitism, Hate, and Social Responsibility conference in Pittsburgh, on November 10-11, 2019.

Important Dates

  • August 11, 2019 – Deadline for the submission of lesson plans
  • August 30, 2019 – Committee decision about the best proposals
  • September 15, 2019 – Lesson plans’ repository available online
  • November 10-11, 2019 – Conference on Antisemitism, Hate and Social Responsibility in Pittsburgh