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.
The past five years have witnessed a landmark re-emergence of gender diversity in North American public life and a surge in mainstream media representation. Transgender-spectrum people – those with a gender identity that does not align with expectations based on our assigned sex – are standing on decades of trans activism and increasingly bringing our entire selves to our workplaces, schools, and other public places.
If you have ever travelled to Brantford Ontario Canada, you might have been excited to visit the home of Alexander Graham Bell to learn about the invention of the telephone. You might have come for a hockey tournament and had the privilege of meeting Hockey Legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter, who loves hanging out at the rinks. You may have picked up brochures with beautiful pictures of the Grand River or did research about Joseph Brant, who was the negotiator between the Mohawk and British during the American Revolution. But you might not know that Brantford is the home of the first residential school in Canada; that the building still stands with the names of children carved into the bricks and that it is one of the few residential school buildings still standing in Canada.
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.
Topics: Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous History, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, Indigenous, difficult conversations, trc, stolen lives, settler eucators, Treaty, Sacred Circle Teachings, Decolonizing Schools, Facing Canada
A Mindful Classroom: Establishing A Safe Space for Sensitive Topics
Many of us have seen the importance of mindfulness in our classrooms and personal lives. Being present and aware are integral to truly absorbing what is around you. How mindful are we of exactly what is around us in the classroom? The physical space we build for our students is often an afterthought to efficiency and more intangible metrics of behaviour and dynamics. This year, I made it my goal to be mindful of the materials within my classroom and how well they represent the values I hope we exercise within these walls.
Topics: Art, Student Work, Indigenous History, Social and Emotional Learning, Middle School, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, facing history pedagogy, Treaty, Facing Canada, cross curricular teaching and learning
Why Cross Curricular?
We know that time with students is limited, so taking advantage of repeated themes which exist between courses to help build bridges between knowledge gaps is an effective strategy. We also know that in the hecticness of a regular school day, these great concepts are often just that- concepts- because we don’t have time to take on anything more between teaching, marking, meetings, that varsity game you promised to attend, and the play you are helping find props for. Here are a few ideas with ready-to-use resources so that, if one speaks to you, you can easily use it within your classroom sooner rather than later. Remember, trying out one of these ideas on your own first and then looking to next year to work collaboratively can be a starting point, if finding an interested colleague to collaborate with proves difficult.
Join us as we have a conversation with Lorrie Gallant, the Education Program Coordinator for the Woodland Cultural Centre (formerly the Mohawk Institute Residential School) about how survivors experience Orange Shirt Day, and what true engagement on this day can look like from education and beyond.
This interactive online video conversation is intended for Facing History and Ourselves educators to listen, to learn, and to share ideas and questions.
Date: Monday, Sep 24th.
Time: 3:30 - 4:15 PM EST
To join from your computer, tablet or phone, go to https://facinghistory.zoom.us/j/668270809 (you will need to download a Zoom app or program so give yourself 2 minutes to do so)
Or Dial in by phone: +1 647 558 0588
Meeting ID: 668 270 809
No RSVP is required.
We hope you can all join us!
We work with so many amazing educators who give their students exceptional learning experiences. For this blog, we sat down with history teacher and 2017 Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching History Award winner Rob Flosman to find out what he has learned about engaging students and communities in learning history through building a classroom museum, the Waterdown Museum of History.
Topics: Innovative Classrooms, Museum Studies, Holocaust Education, Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants, Canadian History, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, classroom lesson, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, CHG
May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada. The following are five resources that provide entry points that teachers can use to invite students to explore Canada’s history of immigration through identity and civic participation.