For many educators, back to school is a time of excitement; the idea of inspiring young readers, fostering new understanding, smelling and holding books together as a classroom community brings delight. You hope students will bee-line to the bookshelf during independent and community reading time.
What can we do to support students during unpredictable and challenging times? How can we create communities where people hear and see each other, treat each other with dignity and respond together as a community? In this blog post, which borrows much of its content from the Back to School with Current Events teaching idea, we will share resources and approaches for addressing current events in the classroom during the first few days of school.
In this blog post, Ontario educator, Uthish Ganesh, discusses how he set the foundation for the deep and complex subject matter in the African Diaspora course by focusing the first unit on building community, centering an equity approach and creating space for identity affirming activities. This process created necessary space to explore the layers of identity and its interplay with society and build bridges of commonality, understanding and empathy between students of all backgrounds.
June was Indigenous History Month. Throughout the entire year, we recognize how important it is to be striving towards meaningful inclusion of Indigenous histories, knowledges, ways of being and contributions.
On Sunday, Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, daughter Yumna Salman, 15, and her 74-year-old grandmother died, and Fayez Salman, their 9 year old son, remains in hospital after a horrifying hit and run targeted at the family because of their Muslim faith. This evening, as the news unfolds, we mourn the victims and extend our deepest sympathies to their son, for whom our hearts break, and to their families, their communities, and to Muslim Canadians.
We sit with renewed sadness for individuals and communities who have been impacted by residential schools as we mourn the loss of the 215 children whose remains were found buried at the Kamloops residential school. Our hearts are with the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation as well as Indigenous children, communities and families across Turtle Island.
This is a time for a collective and national mourning. It is a time for acknowledgement of the ongoing work of survivors’ families and communities for truth, remembrance of loved ones and justice. It is a time for renewed calls for truth seeking, truth telling and collective action.
As the ceasefire in Israel and Gaza continues to hold, Facing History and Ourselves mourns the loss of life and bears witness to the trauma wrought by the conflict. We recognize that addressing the recent violence will require careful preparation by both educators and students.
As many of you have already heard, our dear friend, mentor, and teacher Theodore (Ted) Fontaine passed away last week. Like many of you, we are deeply saddened by his passing and sending our love and support to his family. We are also immensely grateful for his friendship and for the legacy that he created with us.
This blog by Ontario educator, Michael Anthony, explores his journey learning and teaching about The Holodomor as part of the Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity course and provides helpful resources to integrate into your classroom.
Choosing a piece of literature for your course is an important decision. Take a moment to reflect on the very small number of books you will have the opportunity to introduce to your students in any given year. Stories have the potential to help students understand different perspectives, question their surroundings, and build empathy in meaningful and communal ways. With such an important role to play, these are some of the questions we encourage you to consider when deciding how to develop a course and which texts to teach: