The Right Time

Posted by Amy Smith on January 16, 2016

As a middle school educator, I often find myself in the position of being unable to explore really rich resources with my class due to mature content. Several years ago I purchased 5 sets of the graphic novel MAUS, hoping to one day use it as an option for book talks.

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Topics: Books, Antisemitism, Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, Holocaust, History, Canada, Holocaust Education, current events, Middle School, genocide, Lesson Ideas, Holocaust and Human Behaviour

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

Building Community Through Curriculum: A Simple “Big Idea”

Posted by Amy Smith on October 1, 2015

Every year we ask our students to set goals. We teach students what it means to set reasonable or attainable goals. As teachers, we are also asked to consider “Big” questions, over-arching concepts that will guide our year and focus our teaching.

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Topics: Middle School, Lesson Ideas

Confronting Bullying, Peer Pressure and Exclusion in a Middle School Classroom: Reflections on my First year Part II

Posted by Jonathan Temporal on July 7, 2015

Bullying. Ostracism. Peer pressure. Exclusion. Most teachers have faced these destructive forces at one point or another and struggled with how to address these issues in the classroom. This is how Facing History and Ourselves helped prepare me for confronting these issues in my classroom.

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Topics: Safe Schools, Bullying, Middle School, Strategies, Lesson Ideas

Reflections on my First Year as a Facing History Teacher Part 1: “Healthy Tensions”

Posted by Jonathan Temporal on June 30, 2015

Early in my teaching career I came across Voltaire's aphorism, which states, “perfect is the enemy of good.”[1] As my fifth year as a middle school teacher, and my first year as a Facing History teacher comes to a close, I developed a new appreciation for this message.

Ten months ago, shortly after participating in the Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behaviour seminar, I wrote a blog post detailing my plans for my first year as a Facing History and Ourselves teacher. I strongly believe in the power that the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum offers students, and I wanted to make sure I lived up to what it meant to be a Facing History teacher. During the year, I found myself chasing the “perfect” lessons, which I hoped would chain together to create the “perfect” unit, and the “perfect” year. Here is what I have learned since then.

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Topics: Identity, Holocaust Education, Middle School, Strategies, Lesson Ideas

A Classroom Project with Community Impact: The Regent Park Immigrant Memorial Project

Posted by Jasmine Wong on May 26, 2015

Earlier in May, Facing History and Ourselves announced the 2015 winners of our annual Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants. Facing History selected nine projects, all of which focus on collaborative learning, and were selected from a pool of international applications for their potential to inspire students to make a difference.

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Topics: Facing History Together, Canada, Innovative Classrooms, Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants, Memorial, Middle School

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

6 Ways I Am Bringing my Transformative Learning to My New Facing History Classroom

Posted by Jonathan Temporal on August 25, 2014

Last week I had the honour of participating in the Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behaviour summer seminar at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

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Topics: Professional Development, Facing History Resources, Identity, Middle School, Strategies

The Bear That Wasn't: Exploring Identity in Middle School

Posted by Ariel Vente on July 29, 2014

Earlier this year I had the honour of presenting a workshop at the Elementary Teachers of Toronto LGBTQI Teacher Conference at Ryerson University. I described the workshop as:

An interactive, participatory drama and movement workshop using the text “The Bear That Wasn’t” to explore our struggles with identity, how our identities are shaped by others and societal expectations and our battle to find our true selves.

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Topics: Professional Development, Identity, Middle School, Strategies, Lesson Ideas

What These Middle School Students Did Will Amaze You!

Posted by Amy Smith on June 3, 2014

This April, students at the Thomas Street Middle School (TSMS) in Peel took a stand against bullying and homophobia and what they did will amaze you. Watch this video then read on to learn more:

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, current events, Middle School, Social Justice

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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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