How to Teach About Canada's Residential Schools: A Model for Truth and Reconciliation

Posted by Cheryl Payne-Stevens on June 3, 2015

At the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report, the call to educate all Canadians about the treatment and legacy of the Indian Residential Schools was loud and clear.

Facing History high school teacher Cheryl Payne-Stevens embarked on this important (and daunting!) task with her students and shared her experience with us:

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Facing History and Ourselves, History, Canada, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Lesson Ideas

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

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

Teaching “The Book of Negroes” Part III: Addressing Difficult Moments in History

Posted by Jasmine Wong on March 6, 2015

For the past few weeks, I have been thinking and writing about ways to bring The Book of Negroes into the classroom through discussions of identity, and a study of the history of race and slavery in America.

The first post offered ideas for establishing a safe classroom for discussing difficult ideas through contracting. It also offered a strategy for exploring names, identity, and the relationship we each have to the world. The second post built on the theme of identity by examining the beliefs we hold that separate us from others, and how our beliefs can influence the choices we make. This week, I want to address how teachers can bring the book’s difficult moments into the classroom safely.

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Topics: Facing History Resources, Facing History and Ourselves, History, "The Book of Negroes", Strategies, Lesson Ideas, Slavery, 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

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

5 Remembrance Day Lesson Ideas That Deepen Student Learning

Posted by Jasmine Wong on November 9, 2014

Remembrance is an act of humanity and it is about humanity. At Facing History and Ourselves, we often ask ourselves, How do we help students (and ourselves) to remember more than names, dates, and battles? How do we help students to connect to the humanity: the people behind the names, the lives, ideas, and cultures lost, and the legacies that extend beyond the signing of a treaty that signals the end of war?

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Topics: Facing History Together, Facing History and Ourselves, History, Canada, Memorial, Middle School, Lesson Ideas, Literature

A Choice to Vote: Show That Your Voice Counts

Posted by Ariel Vente on October 25, 2014


Many of the kids I teach at Nelson Mandela Park Public School at Regent Park in Toronto have emigrated from nations in which government corruption is rampant, the electoral system is compromised, and simply trying to exercise a right to vote can lead to threats, attacks, or even murder.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Canada, Urban Education, Lesson Ideas

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

Memorials by Design: Using Symbolism to Memorialize Tragedy

Posted by Jamie on September 11, 2014

 


Memorializing the Armenian genocide.

I have always been fascinated by the creation of – and purpose behind – memorials and monuments. I can appreciate the level of thought and detail that goes into each and every design.

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

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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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