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My Family Story – Getting Started



Materials Overview

We recommend running these lessons in the following order for the best impact and results

  1. Introduction to Students and First Assignment
  2. Who Am I?
  3. Create a Family Tree
  4. World Maps
  5. Interviews
  6. Search the Databases
  7. Add Your Story
  8. Optional Lessons and Additional Resources 
  9. Creative Display
  10. Community Gallery
  11. International Competition in Memory of Manuel Hirsch Grosskopf


Creative Display (link to ‘Telling the Story’)

How and Why to Include Families

The main objective of MFS is to give students the opportunity to learn about their family and origins, and to empower them to tell their part of the Jewish story. Therefore, it is very important to involve the school community, the larger community, and, of course, families in the learning process and preparations for participating in the program. This can be accomplished on many levels. The more involved families are in the process, the more successful the educational process will be!

Here are some suggestions to help create the family connection:

Introducing MFS at Parents’ night

We recommend inviting both families and students together for a parent evening at school as an opportunity to introduce MFS simultaneously. This is a great way to emphasize the family aspect of the project and expectations regarding family involvement. This evening can be done during the week, or as a community Shabbat dinner or Shabbat afternoon.

The evening can include a presentation of the project as a whole as well as presenting the objectives of MFS and the rules of the competition. If your school has run MFS in the past, you can invite past students and families to share their project and how the program impacted them.

Additional video from ANU – Museum of the Jewish People that showcases our mission: You Are  Part of the Story:

If creating such a parent evening is not possible, introduce MFS to students during class and simultaneously send out information to parents.

Whether you introduce MFS to a large room of parents and families, or to a small group of students, the passion and excitement you bring to the introduction can have a big impact on how excited students are to participate. 

Opening Letter to Parents 

Before beginning the MFS program, send parents this letter which not only explains the program and its objectives, but also the importance of parent participation along the way. Invite them to be part of the experience. Feel free to format it as needed.

This letter offers parents details regarding the international competition, including who participates and how, what each student is required to prepare in order to participate, how the final project will be displayed, etc. This letter also gives details regarding home assignments included in the program that require family assistance. If possible, include the dates for when each assignment is due in class.

There is one more letter to parents (link to letter on ‘Family Tree’ page) in the middle of the curriculum, during the family trees and world map assignments. We recommend sending this out as a request for their participation in these specific assignments, as well as a reminder about the My Family Story project as a whole. 

Download Letter to Parents