Facing History at the Movies: Three New Facing History and Ourselves Videos that Inspire

Posted by Cheryl Payne-Stevens on October 17, 2015

During the month of October, Cineplex Entertainment has generously donated space to feature one of our latest PSA videos (See with Someone Else’s Eyes) as part of the Pre-Show in Cineplex theatres across Canada. 

This is an incredible opportunity for people across the country to learn about Facing History and Ourselves. It also got us thinking about how these short videos can be used in our Facing History Classrooms. Find the PSAs below along with some discussion prompts and activities.

See with Someone Else's Eyes: Facing History PSA with Sir Ben Kingsley

  • Ask students to consider: “What does it mean to see an event through someone else’s eyes? Think of a time when you considered a different perspective. How did the different lens change your understanding of the event? What might be gained from considering different perspectives?”
  • As a class, you can also look at Arn Chorn Pond’s experience of moving to the USA and attending high school after the Cambodian genocide in Everyone Has a Story. Arn Chorn Pond discusses the importance of sharing our stories to build community. How does Arn Chorn Pond’s testimony connect to Sir Ben Kingsley’s message? If Arn Chorn Pond and Sir Ben Kingsley sat down and had a conversation, what might they discuss? Create that dialogue.

Choices You Make Can Make History: Facing History PSA with Sir Ben Kingsley

Students can research Upstanders, contemporary or historical, local or global. The Facing History publication, Choosing To Participate is a great resource for learning about Upstanders. After exploring an upstander’s journey, students can create a presentation thinking about how Sir Ben Kingsley would showcase what that individual did in a PSA. Ask students to pay close attention to how Sir Ben Kingsley captured the actions of Rosa Parks and Anne Frank in the PSA. Challenge students to create a tagline for the upstander they explored.

  • Ask students to think about the mark they would like to leave on history. What issues are they passionate about? What tools do they need to create change in that area?

One of Us or One of Them? - Facing History PSA with Josh Gad

  • Ask students to think of a time (it can be a personal or historical connection) when they witnessed the “othering” of someone. What was the impact of the othering? Was there a person who made the choice to be an upstander in that moment? If so, what tools did that person have? If not, what tools were needed to alter the situation?
  • There are numerous examples of young upstanders in our own backyard. Facing History and Ourselves educator Lanny Cedrone’s class created a campaign to fight racism and just this past spring, Shireen Afzal was the Canadian recipient of the Facing History Together Student and Alumni Upstander Scholarship Contest with her powerful essay chronicling her paradigm shift that occurred during her Facing History and Ourselves class. In her essay, she describes her responsibility to question the world around her and to use the power of stories to help people realize our shared humanity and in turn, create a more inclusive world. Another treasure trove of youth upstanders is the Not in Our School website, a movement that is dedicated to creating inclusive communities. After looking at these various examples, prompt your students to think about the tools that these young upstanders use to make positive change. What tools do your students have to create change?

Extensions and Next Steps

These PSAs could also be used at the beginning of a Facing History course. After viewing one or all of them, you could ask students to think about how this course will be different than other courses based on the PSAs? What issues and questions do they think might be discussed in a Facing History classroom?

An empowering activity for students at the end of a Facing History unit or course, would be to create their own PSAs to raise awareness of issues important to them. Students could display their videos in a common area within the school, in the community or simply present them to each other in the classroom.
These videos can provide a powerful call to action and can inspire our students to become active, reflective and responsible citizens. How might you use these videos in your classroom?

Topics: Film, Choosing to Participate, Events, Facing History Resources, Facing History and Ourselves, Canada


This is where Canadian Facing History and Ourselves teachers and community members meet to share reflections, scholarship and teaching practices that will inspire, challenge and improve teaching and student learning. Our stories provide a window into diverse Facing History classrooms in Canada, and invite you into the discussion.

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