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 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 Monday May 6, 2019 Facing History and Ourselves Canada is celebrating our tenth anniversary with a program called Unlearning Hate: A Conversation with Derek Black and Allison Gornik at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.
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
“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” How many of us have heard this quote or a variation of it? Sayings like these are repeated so often nowadays that they have lost meaning. People will complain, “I don’t need you to lecture me, I already know all this,” “The past is the past, leave it behind where it belongs,” or a blatant dismissal from those who are so cemented in the now, that they refuse to see the truth right in front of them.
Topics: Student Voices, Choosing to Participate, Armenian Genocide, Students, Facing History and Ourselves, Holocaust Education, Rwanda, Student Work, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Equity in Education, 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
Ever since attending my first Facing History and Ourselves workshop, I have looked for ways to incorporate Facing History pedagogy into my middle-years classroom. This year, I used the scope and sequence and pedagogical triangle to design the structure of my Grade 8 English Language Arts course.
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.
As an educator, I used to think true learning was my teacher content knowledge level or how much information I could get out there to students. Here’s what I thought should happen: students would learn information,reproduce it in the way I wanted them to, and then that would be a good measuring stick for how much they knew. However, In the 21st century with a world of information availability at your fingertips, this approach has become more and more obsolete.
As the blog manager for Facing Canada, I have the privilege of working with many very talented, dedicated and creative teachers. There are so many teachers who come up with fantastic and meaningful projects and assessments for students that deepen learning and pique student interest. I have often been inspired by projects posted, and recently had a chance to adapt one for my own classroom that had been on my mind for awhile.