I wear a pendant around my neck. It’s about the size of a quarter and it has the silhouette of a solitary candle carved out of the middle. Written around the candle are the words Remember and Never Again. It’s a simple, yet powerful design. A student, noticing this, asked me why I often wore it and what it meant. Instead of answering the question directly, I turned it back to her. I told her that a friend of mine had bought it for me at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. and I asked her why we study the Holocaust. Why do we need to remember?
Later this week, South Africa will celebrate 20 years of democracy – on April 27, 1994, citizens of the country voted alongside one another in the first post-apartheid elections. The case study of South Africa is an important one to introduce students to ideas about global citizenship, while teaching about the formation and strategies of the anti-apartheid movement. Check out the five resources below to help plan a lesson that explore issues of human rights and this important moment in South African history in your classroom:
I started journaling when I was a boy canoeing the waters surrounding my family cottage in Muskoka. My journals were filled with maps of all the places I “discov
ered” during my summers up north. As the years went by and I entered high school, the journal’s pages of maps became dotted with anecdotes from my life beyond that lake. It was around this time that I found a copy of The Journey is the Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon at a local bookstore.
As a history teacher, I often struggle to help my students see the relevance of the past and understand the power it can wield in helping them to navigate the present. With this in mind, I began to plan my unit on the Armenian Genocide. This genocide occurred almost 100 years ago under the cloak of WWI in 1915, when the Ottoman government embarked upon the destruction of its Armenian population. I decided that to give voice to this genocide beyond readings and documentaries, I would invite a guest speaker from the Armenian community.
Sometimes the best lessons are not the ones that happen within the confined walls of the classroom. They are not meticulously planned, nor are they teacher-driven. Sometimes the best lessons – the best teaching moments – come from our students; it is then that we, as educators, find ourselves taking a step back and letting them teach us.
Topics: Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, Identity, History, Memorial, current events, Middle School, Lesson Ideas, In the news, Holocaust and Human Behaviour, English Classroom, Social Justice, LGBTQ, Personal history
Two years ago, I was offered a few teaching positions at different schools after having a number of interviews within my board. One of these was at Nelson Mandela Park PS, an inner city school in Regent Park in downtown Toronto. After a little debate and reflection, I knew in my heart, I wanted to be part of a school whose namesake was one of the greatest political leaders of our time, a man whom I regarded as one of my personal heroes. It was also a homecoming for me as I did my student teaching and also volunteered in the Regent Park community. I knew choosing to teach at a school named after Nelson Mandela was an honour, and that my teaching practice would have to reflect the values of this great man.
Yesterday we said goodbye to a great teacher.
This Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht or “Night of the Broken Glass." On the night of November 9th, 1938, Nazis and their followers looted and destroyed thousands of Jewish homes and businesses, and scores of synagogues. They killed over ninety Jews that night, and sent over 30,000 others concentration camps.
We always say that Canada is a young country, but that never hits home till you come to Europe. Here I am in Krakow, the old imperial capital of Poland, whose existence is first mentioned by a Jewish merchant in 965 CE. A city gradually grew on this important trade route near the important salt mines of Bochnia, which would eventually account for 30% of Poland's national income in the 15th and 16th centuries.