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MFS – Materials Overview



Introduction to Students and First Assignment


  • To introduce My Family Story to your students
  • To hand out important information for students and parents
  • To hand out and explain Assignment #1

Introduce My Family Story

These are questions to keep in mind throughout the program:

Who am I as a Jewish American/ Australian/ Brit/ South African/Other [Fill in Nationality]

 What is the Jewish story for how my family came here?

How does the broader story of the Jewish people relate to my personal story?

Tell students about the project and the competition. When the class has completed the material in class and at home, each student will be expected to create:

A Roots Portfolio – a notebook, album, presentation or computer file that will present their family tree, their family map, family interviews, photographs, and important objects, and a description of themselves, all products they will complete for the duration of the project.

MFS creative project – a unique presentation of their family story which will be presented in a school-wide exhibit, and may have the opportunity to be included in the international MFS competition and displayed at ANU – Museum of the Jewish People.

“Curator’s Words”- a written 1-2 paragraphs explaining the significance and meaning of their Roots Project, and how it connects to Jewish Peoplehood, with an eye towards describing why it deserves to be chosen for the My Family Story International Competition.

We also recommend that students dedicate a three-ring binder or a computer file for My Family Story in which they can store their work, the unit material, and information they gather along the way. These will help them organize and create their Roots Portfolio at the end of the project.

 We recommend that My Family Story be introduced to students in the presence of a principal or other administrative official. Students should understand that while My Family Story is a class project, it will culminate with an exhibit that will include parents, the entire student body, as well

as representatives from other local Jewish institutions. Therefore, it is also an endeavor that affects the school community as well as the larger Jewish community. Introduce and review with students the driving questions of the project. 

In addition to giving the guidelines of the MFS project, it is important that you emphasize that thousands of students from around the world are doing the exact same project. This helps add not only importance to the quality of the work but also broadens students’ ideas of what the Jewish world includes. More materials available in coming lessons on exploring global Jewish communities.

After explaining the expectations of the project, we recommend showing this short film on MFS:

This will give students a brief taste of what the My Family Story project and competition are like. 

Hand out Assignment #1: Make clear what the expectations are and when the assignment is due. This assignment gives students the opportunity to think openly about themselves. Students should respond to the prompt and write about themselves and include photo(s). When the assignment is due, students should speak about themselves to the class and can bring in two personal objects that are meaningful to them to help tell their story. Avoid suggesting that the objects they bring in be Jewish or academic in order to give students the freedom to choose what is meaningful to them. At the same time, students should understand that there are limits as to what are acceptable items to bring into class. 

The day the first assignment presentations are due marks the beginning of Unit One. Good luck!

We recommend dedicating a wall of the classroom to MFS in order to display student work as the project progresses. 

 Assignment #1: Who Are You? 

Print/Download assignment


 Who and what defines who you are?

 Is it the food you eat? Your religion?

 Your friends, family, the music you love?

 Or is it a combination of some or even all of these things?

Your first assignment is to gather objects and items that you feel represent who you are. These can be photos, souvenirs, special clothing, and more. Write a one-page summary describing how these things reflect who you are and/or take pictures of these objects In class you will have two minutes to speak to the class about the things that identify you.

In addition, create an i-Document (Identity Document) for yourself. Include a photograph and important information about yourself, such as:

  • the origins and meaning of your name
  • where you were born
  • where you live
  • your favorite hobbies
  • your dreams for the future

This will become the first page of your Roots Portfolio.


Your written work should reflect that you have thought carefully about your  i-Document and the objects that represent who you are.

Your oral presentation should be clear and concise.

You may choose to bring two small objects to show during your oral presentation, or show pictures to the class.