Technology in Language Arts
Professor Susan Silverman
In this project, students will write poems and illustrate them reflecting Mishas experiences in the Warsaw ghetto in the book Milkweed. Once the children complete their pictures, they will scan it onto the computer, edit it with Paint shop Pro, and it will become the background of their poem and incorporated into a classroom PowerPoint. The main character Misha goes through many changes in his young life as he goes from an unwanted gypsy orphan to finding and losing a family in the holocaust. For most of his life, he struggles to be functional in a world that had returned to normal, while he was unable to. He finally finds the peace he never had when he meets his daughter and his granddaughter. For this project, there are so many different themes running through the book that are easy to put to words.
I chose to write about “The Wall” because of what it represented in the book. The wall never caged Misha. It was only a doorway from one world to another. One side gave a glimpse of normality and provided food which was the lifeline for Misha and the Milgroms. The other side of the wall is where Misha wanted to be; with his “family”.
In “The Ride”, the carousel horse is a cruel reminder of the ugly anti-Semitism that existed at the time. While little blonde haired children buy tickets to ride the horses, Misha is screamed at because he was different and viewed as a Jew.
“The Family” represents the changes in Misha when he finds a real family he can belong to. His loyalty knew no bounds as he changed from a nobody to one of a family unit. He could have escaped at any time but instead was ready to walk to the ovens with those he loved.
I had to do a poem on the Jackboots because of what they represented to Misha. These men were tall, straight, impressive and reeking power with every step they took. The boots while distributing harsh kicks to children were always a shining example of what Misha thought he would like to be
I got my inspiration for this project from reading about the children of Terezin. This was a “show” camp where professional Jews from the European elite were sent. In reality, this camp was a brutal holding facility until the interred were sent to an extermination camp. Many of those incarcerated were in the arts and lovingly taught their craft to children in the camp. Poems and pictures by the children were found hidden in cracks and in mattresses. Almost all of these children were killed. What I found interesting was the presence of hope in some of their work. This work was compiled in a book called I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children's Drawings & Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp,1942-44. By using their artwork as a background for their poem about aspects of Milkweed, I hope to be able to link their efforts in this project with other children whose voices were not silenced, but still shine through their work. A selection of poems from the Children of Theresienstadt Ghetto is found at this website: http://www.nonduality.com/terezin.htm.
One alternative to having students work with crayons and paper for their art piece would be to have them use paintshop pro. I struggled with which media to use, but I had them use traditional art materials because that is what the children of Terezin used. I do like integrating the poem and artwork together on the computer which gives it a beautiful piece where each compliments the other. For my work, I chose to use color sparingly. In portraying an image from an unforgiving world, color should hit the viewer right between the eyes. It reminds me of the little girl in a red coat in Schlindlers List which was filmed in black and white. The girl was meant to stand out against a world of grey.
In utilizing the rubric below, I would have to give myself a four for each of the criteria listed below. I drew up the rubric after I completed the piece so I would know what was significant in creating the work.