Using Facing History and Ourselves Resources and Pedagogy to teach the Grade 12 Secondary School Literacy Course

Posted by Lesa Smith on March 22, 2016

Having been an LTO (Long term occasional teacher) in the TDSB (Toronto District School Board) for several years I have taught a variety of courses with little prep time available; Facing History saved me more than a few times with their resources (and of course other teachers' contributions to this very blog). I'm delighted to be able to share some of my experience using and adapting Facing History and Ourselves resources and pedagogy in my classroom.

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Topics: Film, Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, Facing History Resources, News, Identity, Facing History and Ourselves, current events, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, Literature Circles, Lesson Ideas, In the news, English Classroom, Social Justice, Literature, Personal history, English

Stolen Lives: The Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the Indian Residential Schools.

Posted by Leora Schaefer on November 26, 2015

On November 26, we released Stolen Lives: The Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the Indian Residential Schools. This new resource brings educators new primary sources and first-person accounts about a painful period in Canadian history, when about 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families and stripped of their language, culture, and traditions.

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Topics: Human Rights, Facing History Resources, Identity, Facing History and Ourselves, History, Canada, Racism, current events, We and They, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, genocide, legacy, In the news, English Classroom, Social Justice

The Lost Generation

Posted by Alysha Groff on November 10, 2015

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.

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Topics: Art, Choosing to Participate, Events, Identity, Facing History and Ourselves, Canada, Memorial, current events, legacy, Remembrance Day, English Classroom, Personal history

Finding Your Voice: Using Slam Poetry to Explore Human Rights

Posted by Jamie on May 7, 2015

When I first looked at exploring human rights issues in my grade nine English class, I struggled with finding the right medium to help my students to dig deeply. The idea behind using slam poetry came from my student teacher, Andrew. Andrew believed that the personal stories of those directly affected by things like unfair laws, tragedies, and war would most help students understand human rights and why they are integral to our world.

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Topics: Lesson Ideas, English Classroom

Facing History reads Canada Reads: 5 Books that Challenge Stereotypes and Change Perspectives

Posted by Gillian Aitken on March 12, 2015

CBC's battle of the books - Canada Reads 2015 - is taking place from March 16-19th. Canada Reads involves five prominent Canadians debating which book all of Canada should read.

Each year the theme for the event relates closely to our work at Facing History and this year’s theme, One Book to Break Barriers, is no exception. The panel must decide the one book out of the five chosen that best "challenges stereotypes and changes perspectives." The debate over which book to pick takes place over four days beginning March 16, and is live streamed on CBC.ca at 10am EST and broadcast on radio and television each day.

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Topics: Professional Development, Canada, English Classroom, Literature

Teaching “The Book of Negroes” Part I: Race, Names, and Identity

Posted by Jasmine Wong on February 11, 2015

It always amazes me how good literature has the capacity to expand our understanding of our world, challenge our memory of history, and grow our thinking about human nature and human experience.

As someone who works with educators, I love to see how bringing great stories grounded in lived experiences into classrooms can begin conversations, spur questions, and help students make connections between themselves, the lives of others in the stories they read, and the world around them.

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Topics: Identity, "The Book of Negroes", Strategies, Lesson Ideas, English Classroom, Literature

Join Us for a Twitter Chat on "The Book of Negroes"

Posted by Jasmine Wong on January 5, 2015

UPDATE (Feb 2015): Thank you to all those who joined our chat! While the Toronto #FHChat for Book of Negroes has ended, you can continue to be in conversation with us on how to bring this important novel and mini-series into your classroom on our blog.

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Topics: Film, Events, "The Book of Negroes", Slavery, English Classroom

Nine Books That Everyone Must Read

Posted by Jamie on December 19, 2014

We've compiled a list of the nine books that we feel every teacher (and student) must read. Each of these books tackles an important event/issue in history. Each of these books is engaging, well-written, and powerful.

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Topics: Professional Development, Holocaust, Holocaust Education, English Classroom, Literature, Personal history

Fresh Ideas and New Opportunities for 2014-2015

Posted by Jasmine Wong on September 11, 2014

Welcome back to school! As you start to get settled into your courses and plan the weeks ahead, here are a few opportunities to get excited about if you are keen to bring more Facing History and Ourselves into your classrooms.

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Topics: Back-To-School, Events, English Classroom

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

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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 Ontario, and invite you into the discussion.

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