5 Resources for Meaningful Student Engagement

Posted by Cheryl Payne-Stevens on August 28, 2014

When teachers flip the calendar to August, the countdown is on. Inevitably, we begin planning for the next school year. One of the beautiful things about being a teacher is the opportunity for new beginnings.

I am always reflecting on how I can improve a lesson, unit or activity and the Facing History website is a go-to resource for me. Here are my five recommended resources from the Facing History website to inspire your classroom practice this year:

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Topics: Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, History, Holocaust Education, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course

The Smallest Acts Can Leave the Biggest Impact

Posted by Ben Gross on August 19, 2014

We are very happy to welcome the voice of student Anmol Sandhu to the Facing History and Ourselves Ontario Network blog this week as she reflects on the power of choosing to participate.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Identity, Media Skills, current events, We and They, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, CHG, Social Justice

Help Students Think Deeply About the Roles They Play and the Choices They Make

Posted by Ben Gross on August 12, 2014

As a high school teacher, one of the most common things that I hear when walking through the hallways is the refrain of students dishing out advice to their friends: “If that happened to me, I would’ve done/said _______.”

When I hear it, my first reaction is to wonder if there is truth in the advice. And if there is, how much?

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Identity, History, Strategies, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Lesson Ideas

Remember, Never Again

Posted by Jamie on May 6, 2014

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?

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Topics: Art, Facing History Resources, History, Memorial, Strategies, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Lesson Ideas, 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

Inside a Genocide Studies Classroom: Where to Begin? Identity

Posted by Lanny Cedrone on April 3, 2014

With any new course, teachers will often ask themselves, “Where do I begin?” This is an even more daunting question when dealing with such a difficult subject as genocide. In my preparation for teaching the Grade 11 Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities course at Louise Arbour Secondary School, I asked myself, “How can the students and I relate to situations that are so extreme and beyond most of our experiences?” 

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Topics: Identity, milgram, We and They, Strategies, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Inside a Genocide Classroom

Journaling in a Facing History Classroom: Finding Wisdom in Student Voices

Posted by Nathan Tidridge on March 18, 2014

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.

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Topics: Identity, History, Memorial, We and They, Strategies, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Lesson Ideas, English Classroom, CHG, Personal history, 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

The Voice of Empowerment

Posted by Cheryl Payne-Stevens on February 5, 2014

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.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Armenian Genocide, History, Memorial, genocide, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Lesson Ideas, CHG, Personal history

Commemorating Kristallnacht: Connecting to the Past, Learning Lessons for the Present

Posted by Ben Gross on November 7, 2013

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.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, History, Memorial, current events, genocide, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, In the news, Social Justice, reflection

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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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