Humans of the Woodlands: Choosing to Participate through Blogging and Photography

Posted by Alysha Groff on April 21, 2016

Each year, like all educators, I think about new culminating activities that are meaningful and engaging. Inspired by Humans of New York on Facebook, I thought this concept would fit well into my Grade 11 Genocide and Crimes against Humanity course. In fact, the more posts I read, the more I realized how closely aligned they are to Facing History’s Scope and Sequence.

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Topics: Art, Choosing to Participate, Identity, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, reflection

History and Action: Education for Truth and Reconciliation

Posted by Ben Gross on January 20, 2016

The truth needs to be told. The truth needs to be taught.

-Anonymous student

This year has brought a lot of change to my classroom - for one, it’s in a new school! I started the year at Central Toronto Academy (CTA) in downtown Toronto. It has been a fantastic experience working with the staff and getting to know a whole new group of students. I was particularly excited to bring Facing History and Ourselves into a new school and see how it was picked up by students unfamiliar with the organization and it's pedagogy.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, History, Canada, EdTech, Technology, Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous History, current events, Indigenous, In the news, Social Justice, reflection

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

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

Voice, Reward, and Expectations: Reflections on a Middle School Classroom

Posted by Ariel Vente on March 20, 2014

As elementary schools have just passed the mid-point of the school year, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the first half of the year. Schools are part of a larger educational system. However, our classrooms are also a microcosm of society; a community of members with jobs to do, and rules, norms and expectations, which members are expected to follow. But, as we are too well aware, within the larger society, we encounter issues of unfairness and injustice. I’ve been questioning my practice and asking myself: Does my classroom parallel the oppressions of our society? Am I reinforcing and reproducing what is happening in the larger society in my classroom?

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Topics: Professional Development, Identity, Urban Education, Regent Park, Middle School, Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy, Social Justice, Deficit Thinking, reflection

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

Good Questions Deserve Good Answers

Posted by Amy Smith on February 12, 2014

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Topics: History, current events, Middle School, Social Justice, reflection

Outstanding Observations from Ontario: 6 Top Posts of 2013

Posted by Ben Gross on December 19, 2013

A Trip to the Zoo

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Facing History Resources, History, Best of..., Lesson Ideas, Holocaust and Human Behaviour, CHG, reflection

Lauded Los Angeles Literature: 5 Great Posts from LA

Posted by Ben Gross on December 16, 2013

The Danger of a Single Story

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, Facing History Resources, Best of..., Lesson Ideas, Holocaust and Human Behaviour, Social Justice, reflection

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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