Skill vs. Intuition: The Art and Practice of Note-Taking

Posted by Michael Grover on August 5, 2014

Note-taking is an important learning strategy that can help prepare students to participate in a discussion or begin a writing activity. Notes can be used to recognize students’ misconceptions and questions, and to evaluate students’ understanding of material.

As educators, we all too often do not teach our students effective note-taking strategies, assuming instead that this skill is something that they will learn to do intuitively.

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Topics: History, Innovative Classrooms, Technology, Metacognitive startegies, Strategies, Lesson Ideas, English Classroom

RadioZilla: From Bystanders to Upstanders

Posted by Ben Gross on July 10, 2014

Over the past three months Facing History and Ourselves, in partnership with Regent Park Focus and with funding from Mozilla Hive Community Projects, worked with students from several Toronto District School Board high schools to create short radio pieces exploring issues important to local youth. This project was called RadioZilla.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, Identity, EdTech, Innovative Classrooms, Media Skills, Technology, Radiozilla, Inside a Genocide Classroom, Personal history

Project of Heart: Using Art to Engage with Aboriginal History

Posted by Jamie on June 17, 2014

Six years ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a public apology on behalf of all Canadians for the residential schools the government of Canada created in the 19th century that plagued the fabric of Canadian history for generations to come. Between 1880 and 1996, more than 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children were forced into Indian residential schools and thousands did not survive. Those that did survive suffered a loss of language, culture, family, and self. Many suffered abuse at the hands of those who were supposed to care for them.

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Topics: Art, Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, History, Innovative Classrooms, Memorial, We and They, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, Social Justice

Radiozilla Wrap Party – Join us!!

Posted by Ben Gross on June 10, 2014

This semester Facing History students from across the greater Toronto area have been busy learning the ins and outs of digital storytelling - writing, editing, interviewing, and developing media skills in order to produce on social justice-oriented radio segments that will broadcast on Radio Regent. The youth-led audio documentaries will explore critical topics such as identity, bystander behaviour, religion, upstanders in history and today, and standing up for others.

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Topics: Art, Events, EdTech, Innovative Classrooms, Media Skills, Technology, Radiozilla

Facing History Students in Brampton Counter Anti-Immigration Flyer with Positive Message

Posted by Ben Gross on May 28, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, this anti-immigration flyer circulated around Brampton, Ontario.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, Identity, Innovative Classrooms, current events, We and They, In the news, CHG, Social Justice

Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grant Recipients Announced!

Posted by Ben Gross on May 27, 2014

Today Facing History announced the recipients of its annual Margot Stern Strom Innovation Awards, which grew out of a teaching award established in 2006 to recognize Facing History-trained educators who are thinking outside-the-box to transform schools and impact student learning.

This year, we awarded over $42,200 to fund 19 classroom projects around the world that focus on technological innovation and collaborative learning, including one of our own educators in Canada!

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Topics: Art, Identity, Innovative Classrooms, CHG

Finding Hope: How One Student Woke Me Up To Why I Teach Genocide Studies

Posted by Lanny Cedrone on April 10, 2014

“Sir, it keeps happening again and again. We don’t learn. I don’t think we’re going to get better. There doesn’t seem to be much hope.”

Three years ago a grade 12 student said this to me in my West and the World class. Every so often it echoes in my head. She was doing a research paper on Rwanda and the United Nations, and had done a significant amount of reading on the topic and she was passionately upset about how the world had allowed the Rwandan Genocide to happen.

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Topics: Innovative Classrooms, genocide, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Lesson Ideas, CHG, Inside a Genocide Classroom, Social Justice, reflection

MAP IT…Indiana Jones-style!

Posted by Robert Flosman on February 14, 2014

After recently watching the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with my sons, a thought hit me. In the movie, Indiana accidently comes across the gigantic map room where Nazis are secretly planning their conquests. Leaders and rulers – and everyday citizens – throughout history (like Winston Churchill, for example) have had map rooms. My students needed one too.

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Topics: Art, Innovative Classrooms, Museum Studies, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, CHG

iWitness Webinar and Class Contest!

Posted by Jasmine Wong on May 2, 2013

IWitness Archive Gives Voice to Holocaust Witnesses: Free Webinars and Student Contest

Facing History Offers IWitness Webinars for Teachers May 9 and May 14 2013
In May 2013, Facing History will offer two free webinars for educators on powerful ways to use the IWitness tool.

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Topics: Events, History, Innovative Classrooms, Media Skills, Holocaust Education, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course

When the grandmothers speak, the world will be healed. Hopi prophecy

Posted by Robert Flosman on April 29, 2013

Grandmothers of Steel
When my Grandmother spoke, I listened. She survived Nazis, Communists and grandchildren. Yet she always had time for making schnitzel. Grandmothers are special; we know this. The partnership our students have formed with a very special grandmother has been inspiring. Her name is Lisbie Rae and over the last 2 months she has made regular visits to our classroom. This energetic and inspiring woman is a part of the Grandmothers of Steel! This amazing group has partnered with the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) and with TD Canada Trust, raising over $200, 000 in the last 4 years to help grandmothers in Africa. Grandmothers helping grandmothers! What makes this program such a great fit for a Facing History Classroom is that Grandmothers of Steel and TD has given our class $250 to spend as Lisbie calls it, “seed money.” Students brain storm fundraising ideas and are given what they need to buy supplies and then the profits are donated back, while returning the $250 for next year. This concept is known as Table Banking. Table banking is used in Rwanda to help grandmothers there raise their orphaned grandchildren. Rwanda is a central unit in teaching Genocide. What better way to connect students to the history than to fundraise for the survivors of Rwanda. Students are able to study the genocide and then help with the healing.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Innovative Classrooms, Memorial


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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