Beyond Anne Frank: Using an arts-integrated approach to explore victim experiences during the Holocaust

Posted by Michael Pitblado on March 24, 2017

The students in my Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity course gained new and meaningful perspectives on what life was like for those targeted for extermination by the Nazi regime by creating a unique and innovative art exhibition that explored the lives of young victims of the Holocaust.

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Topics: Art, Identity, Holocaust, Salvaged Pages, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Inside a Genocide Classroom, Anne Frank

Youth and Teachers Respond Collectively to Art Spiegelman's Maus Through Art and Inquiry: An Interview with Professor Rob Simon and Delta Senior Alternative School Teacher Sarah Evis

Posted by Rob Simon on December 21, 2015

In 2015, Dr. Rob Simon, Associate Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE), and students from his teacher education course partnered with Sarah Evis, a teacher from Delta Senior Alternative School in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), and her grade 8 students, to study Art Spiegelman’s popular intergenerational Holocaust survivor memoir and graphic novel, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.

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Topics: Art, Books, Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Holocaust, Facing History and Ourselves, Innovative Classrooms, Holocaust Education, Middle School, Strategies, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, Night, genocide, Lesson Ideas, big paper, Inside a Genocide Classroom, Social Justice, Personal history

Students of Facing History

Posted by Ben Gross on July 13, 2015

As an educator I often wonder what students remember once they have left my classroom. It is my hope that when they leave they take with them critical thinking skills, the ability to engage in difficult conversations, and a deeper understanding of how we are all connected - in the past, present, and future. Through all of my various attempts to learn from my students what they are getting out of their Facing History and Ourselves class, I have found that the best way to find out what students are learning is to ask them.

Each year, at the end of our grade 11 elective Facing History and Ourselves course, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, we take the time to reflect on our learning and ourselves. This year a group of students from my classroom chose to participate in a reflective interview process in lieu of their final journal entry assignment, and agreed to share their reflections.

Below, as inspired by the popular blog Humans of New York and the Facing History project, Humans of the Woodlands, you'll have the chance to glimpse into the classroom learning and life of a few of my Facing History and Ourselves students.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Identity, History, Holocaust Education, Memorial, We and They, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, legacy, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Holocaust and Human Behaviour, Inside a Genocide Classroom, Social Justice, Personal history, reflection

3 Ways Students Can Choose to Participate as an End of Year Project

Posted by Ben Gross on April 30, 2015

Over the years I have had many conversations with colleagues about how the Facing History and Ourselves’ Scope and Sequence—the framework for investigating atrocities in history—works in our classrooms. One of the topics that is brought up often is the last phase, Choosing to Participate. 

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Inside a Genocide Classroom

From Understanding to Upstander: Inside a Genocide Studies Classroom

Posted by Lanny Cedrone on April 13, 2015

One of the questions that we often struggle with as teachers, and even more so as teachers that cover issues of genocide, is How do we even begin to understand something that is so far removed from most of our personal experiences?

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Safe Schools, Identity, Strategies, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Lesson Ideas, Inside a Genocide Classroom

Establishing a Safe Classroom in Order to Explore Difficult Topics

Posted by Jason Monteith on January 22, 2015

What does a safe classroom look like to you?

I am sure in thinking about a safe classroom some key terms such as respectful, inclusive, or equitable cross your mind.

What would happen if you asked your class the same question?

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Topics: Back-To-School, Safe Schools, Strategies, Lesson Ideas, Inside a Genocide Classroom

Best of 2014: Top 6 Most Read Ontario Blogs

Posted by J H Slater on December 16, 2014

Reviewing the year we will soon be leaving behind, here are the Top Six Most Read Blogs from our Ontario educators:

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Topics: Innovative Classrooms, Media Skills, Museum Studies, Best of..., Inside a Genocide Classroom

Turning a Classroom into a Museum

Posted by Julia R on November 5, 2014

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.

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Topics: Holocaust, Facing History and Ourselves, Canada, Innovative Classrooms, Museum Studies, Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants, In the news, Inside a Genocide Classroom

Choosing to Participate: The Path Less Travelled No More

Posted by Cheryl Payne-Stevens on October 16, 2014

“Ms. Payne, we are so privileged to witness these survivors’ stories. We must do something with this knowledge.”

Such a mature and poignant statement. This is what we want from all of our students: Not to be passive listeners, but to contemplate and then choose to participate.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Strategies, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Lesson Ideas, Inside a Genocide 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

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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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