History and Action: Education for Truth and Reconciliation

Posted by Ben Gross on January 20, 2016

The truth needs to be told. The truth needs to be taught.

-Anonymous student

This year has brought a lot of change to my classroom - for one, it’s in a new school! I started the year at Central Toronto Academy (CTA) in downtown Toronto. It has been a fantastic experience working with the staff and getting to know a whole new group of students. I was particularly excited to bring Facing History and Ourselves into a new school and see how it was picked up by students unfamiliar with the organization and it's pedagogy.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, History, Canada, EdTech, Technology, Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous History, current events, Indigenous, In the news, Social Justice, reflection

The Right Time

Posted by Amy Smith on January 16, 2016

As a middle school educator, I often find myself in the position of being unable to explore really rich resources with my class due to mature content. Several years ago I purchased 5 sets of the graphic novel MAUS, hoping to one day use it as an option for book talks.

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Topics: Books, Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, Holocaust, History, Canada, Holocaust Education, current events, Middle School, genocide, Lesson Ideas, Holocaust and Human Behaviour

Youth and Teachers Respond Collectively to Art Spiegelman's Maus Through Art and Inquiry: An Interview with Professor Rob Simon and Delta Senior Alternative School Teacher Sarah Evis

Posted by Rob Simon on December 21, 2015

In 2015, Dr. Rob Simon, Associate Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE), and students from his teacher education course partnered with Sarah Evis, a teacher from Delta Senior Alternative School in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), and her grade 8 students, to study Art Spiegelman’s popular intergenerational Holocaust survivor memoir and graphic novel, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.

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Topics: Art, Books, Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Holocaust, Facing History and Ourselves, Innovative Classrooms, Holocaust Education, Middle School, Strategies, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, Night, genocide, Lesson Ideas, big paper, Inside a Genocide Classroom, Social Justice, Personal history

"Love thy neighbour as thyself": Helping students bridge distance in their own communities and beyond

Posted by Emily Weisberg on December 13, 2015

Dictionaries define the word “neighbour” solely based on close physical proximity; we feel close to someone because we live next door, or down the hall, or across the street. But what happens when a connection is needed from someone farther away?

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Topics: Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Events, Facing History Resources, News, Identity, Facing History Together, Facing History and Ourselves, current events, We and They, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, Lesson Ideas, In the news

The Lost Generation

Posted by Alysha Groff on November 10, 2015

Valerie Simmons was born in London, England in 1921. She has been writing poetry since she was six years old. At the beginning of WWII she worked in a first aid post dealing with Blitz casualties. When the Battle of Britain ended she joined the Women’s Air Force (WAF) where she was an admin officer throughout England and in Egypt. After the war she earned a BA from London University and went on to get her teaching qualifications. She has taught and worked in libraries.

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Topics: Art, Choosing to Participate, Events, Identity, Facing History and Ourselves, Canada, Memorial, current events, legacy, Remembrance Day, English Classroom, Personal history

Making Remembrance Day Meaningful for our Students

Posted by Cheryl Payne-Stevens on November 1, 2015

Remembrance Day is a poignant moment to reflect upon the sacrifice that men and women made before us. As we get farther away from the world wars of the past, how do we as educators ensure that this day is meaningful for our students?

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Topics: Art, Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, Identity, Holocaust, Facing History and Ourselves, Canada, Holocaust Education, Lesson Ideas

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.

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

Questions

Posted by Amy Smith on September 11, 2015

The day after a photograph of a drowned Syrian boy went viral, another image of the same child appeared below the headlines in The Toronto Star. I sat at my kitchen table reading the article shaking my head and covering my mouth with my hand.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, In the news

Students of Facing History

Posted by Ben Gross on July 13, 2015

As an educator I often wonder what students remember once they have left my classroom. It is my hope that when they leave they take with them critical thinking skills, the ability to engage in difficult conversations, and a deeper understanding of how we are all connected - in the past, present, and future. Through all of my various attempts to learn from my students what they are getting out of their Facing History and Ourselves class, I have found that the best way to find out what students are learning is to ask them.

Each year, at the end of our grade 11 elective Facing History and Ourselves course, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, we take the time to reflect on our learning and ourselves. This year a group of students from my classroom chose to participate in a reflective interview process in lieu of their final journal entry assignment, and agreed to share their reflections.

Below, as inspired by the popular blog Humans of New York and the Facing History project, Humans of the Woodlands, you'll have the chance to glimpse into the classroom learning and life of a few of my Facing History and Ourselves students.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Identity, History, Holocaust Education, Memorial, We and They, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, legacy, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Holocaust and Human Behaviour, Inside a Genocide Classroom, Social Justice, Personal history, reflection

How to Teach About Canada's Residential Schools: A Model for Truth and Reconciliation

Posted by Cheryl Payne-Stevens on June 3, 2015

At the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report, the call to educate all Canadians about the treatment and legacy of the Indian Residential Schools was loud and clear.

Facing History high school teacher Cheryl Payne-Stevens embarked on this important (and daunting!) task with her students and shared her experience with us:

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Facing History and Ourselves, History, Canada, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Lesson Ideas

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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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