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

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 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

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

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

From Summer Seminar to School: What I Took Back to My Classroom

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves on October 17, 2013

As a middle school teacher I was often asked why I was giving up a week of my summer to attend the Facing History and Ourselves’ Holocaust and Human Behaviour seminar. “You don’t teach that time period,” being the most frequent comment. They were right. But there was something about Facing History and how they approached teaching that piqued my interest and so I went.

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Topics: Back-To-School, History, Middle School, We and They, Summer Seminar, Literature, reflection, English

Five New Library Class Sets for Ontario Teachers

Posted by J H Slater on September 19, 2013

Facing History Toronto is delighted to introduce five Class Sets now available for our qualified* teachers to borrow and share with their students.

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Topics: Facing History Resources, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, English Classroom, Literature

Using Literature Circles to Deliver Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy in Urban Schools

Posted by Michael Grover on May 31, 2013

In “Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Ingredients for Critical Teacher Reflection,” Tyronne Howard notes the importance of finding ways to address the growing heterogeneity of our students cultural needs to “construct pedagogical practices that have meaning to students’ social and cultural realities,” (195-6). Literature Circles are a model that I used, which I have found to be an effective tool for engaging students using differentiation. The diverse nature of my classroom, which is common for an urban school, makes it is difficult to find a single text that will engage each student in the classroom. Since those students who do not engage and read their texts are traditionally the least successful, it is important to try and find materials they will.

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Topics: Urban Education, Night, Literature Circles, Lesson Ideas, English Classroom, Red Scarf Girl, Literature, English

Making Breakthroughs: Using Spoken Word Poetry to Teach History

Posted by Jasmine Wong on April 22, 2013

April 17, 2013
Julia Rappaport of Facing History tells of one way educators can use spoken word poetry to engage students and enrich the teaching of history. [full article to follow!]

An innovative new collaboration taking place in Canada this spring is connecting classrooms and teaching students literacy and performance skills through the study of history and spoken word poetry. “Stand Up, Speak Out,” a four-week program designed by Facing History and Ourselves, is bringing professional spoken word artists into Grade 11 classrooms as part of a unit of study that explores the history of genocide and issues of identity, tolerance, and community.

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Topics: Genocide and Crimes Against Humanities Course, Lesson Ideas, Literature

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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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