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.
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?
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.
As many of you know, by joining our educator network you receive lifelong, ongoing support from staff at Facing History and Ourselves for free! (thanks to grants and fundraising). You may wonder - Who picks up the phone and answers your emails when you contact us for support?
Topics: Facing History and Ourselves
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 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:
For the past few weeks, I have been thinking and writing about ways to bring The Book of Negroes into the classroom through discussions of identity, and a study of the history of race and slavery in America.
The first post offered ideas for establishing a safe classroom for discussing difficult ideas through contracting. It also offered a strategy for exploring names, identity, and the relationship we each have to the world. The second post built on the theme of identity by examining the beliefs we hold that separate us from others, and how our beliefs can influence the choices we make. This week, I want to address how teachers can bring the book’s difficult moments into the classroom safely.
Remembrance is an act of humanity and it is about humanity. At Facing History and Ourselves, we often ask ourselves, How do we help students (and ourselves) to remember more than names, dates, and battles? How do we help students to connect to the humanity: the people behind the names, the lives, ideas, and cultures lost, and the legacies that extend beyond the signing of a treaty that signals the end of war?
Trips to the museum are a regular part of many history or humanities classrooms. A Facing History and Ourselves teacher in Waterdown and his Grade 11 Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity course students created one in their own classroom.
Meet Deborah Brown, one of the 20 finalists in our Facing History Together Teacher Recognition Contest.
Leora, Jeannette, Gillian, and I are so fortunate to work with so many amazing educators from across Canada: Educators who inspire us through their love for teaching, their enthusiasm for learning, and most of all, through their commitment to students. A number of individuals nominated one of these amazing teachers in this year's Facing History Together Teacher Recognition Contest: Her name is Deborah Brown and we want you to meet her.