In a Facing History and Ourselves classroom, teachers are often developing creative ways to engage students in learning history. In this blog post, Elise Bigley tells us how she created a digital game- and invites students to create their own digital game- to deepen student learning from primary testimonies and source documents. She introduces us to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre's incredible archive of the experiences of Jewish refugees who were deported from Great Britain as enemy aliens during WW2 and interned in prison camps in Canada. These stories allow us to uncover a lesser-known moment in Canadian history and raise important questions about stereotypes, racism and the choices we make towards those who arrive at our borders.
For the past few years, my school community school community at St. Joseph’s College School in downtown Toronto has recognized October the 4th as a day to honour the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited People. Since 2017, our school community has worked collectively to use art and activism to spread awareness around this day in hopes of creating change. This is an important issue to us; being a school for girls and young women, gendered violence resonates particularly with our student population.
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As your school commemorates Orange Shirt Day this year, we hope these 5 resources and teaching ideas will equip you to teach your students (and colleagues) about Canada's Residential Schools, and inspire and empower students to create a meaningful response.
Welcome back to another school year! We are so excited to work with you for a fresh new year of learning, and growth. We want to start with words of appreciation for the work that you do and the relationships that you forge with your students, so we created a found poem for you using the text from a strategy so many of you start your school the year with: contracting for courageous and reflective spaces.
Facing History and Ourselves Canada will be running some amazing professional development seminars throughout Canada this summer. Below is the information for all of the upcoming seminars, as well as the link to find out even more information on each seminar.
This spring, Facing History and Ourselves, in partnership with the Azrieli Foundation Holocaust Survivors Memoir Program, invited 175 students from 6 schools to layer onto their learning about the history and legacies of the Holocaust, or of Canada's Residential Schools by reading Survivor memoir. Students read Theodore Fontaine’s Memoir Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools, or excerpts of Nate Leipciger’s Memoir The Weight of Freedom, then created pieces that reflected their understanding and responses to these testimonies, which were gifted to each Survivor.
Topics: Toronto, Holocaust, Memoir, Facing History and Ourselves, Survivor Testimony, Canada, Residential Schools, Canadian History, Student Work, project, genocide, Holocaust and Human Behaviour, reflection, Connected Learning, Grade 10 History, HSB, CHC, difficult conversations, trc, stolen lives, facing history pedagogy, Azrieli Foundation Memoirs, Decolonizing Schools, Holocaust History in Canada, Facing Canada, cross curricular teaching and learning, collaborative inquiry
On March 31st, 2019, Facing History and Ourselves in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario partnered with Durham District School Board, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, Peel District School Board, Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board and York Region District School Board to host a day long educator conference to discuss ways educators and institutional leaders have worked, and can work to decolonize and Indigenize education.
On March 31st, Facing History and Ourselves, in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario invited University of Manitoba scholar Niigaanwewidam Sinclair and Art Gallery of Ontario Curator Wanda Nanibush to discuss institutional disruption, decolonization and Indigenization, as part of a day-long conference for educators. This event was recorded and can be viewed here.
In the Aftermath Project, director Sarah Terry reminds us that war is only half the story: "To be fully informed, we have to know the stories of post-conflict." It is in these stories, "where we are constantly redefining what it means to be human, what it means to live again, to rebuild civil society, to recover from trauma. If we don't know these stories, then we don't really understand the world we live in, and we will repeat history again and again and again." Through her poetry, Holocaust survivor Donia Blumenfeld Clenman conveyed some of these essential stories of the aftermath of genocide. With clarity, humanity and gentleness, her words connect us to her struggles, and teach us what it means to face - and recover - from trauma. In the month of her passing, we remember her legacy and honour her words.
This is part two of Amy Smith’s Blog The Road to Equity: How do you define equity? In part one she discussed her own learning journey of gaining additional knowledge about groups identified as in need of more support in schools in the equity and inclusion branch of Peel Board’s five year School Success Plan. All of her reading and learning encouraged her “to really reflect on the life I was living, and the privileges I have that I was not even aware of simply because I was born in a white, abled, cisgender body.” In part two she will cover how she took her own learning and expertise to help other educators start their journey, to start learning about who they are as people and how their privilege and bias impacts their students.