Build Relationships to Create Equity for Minority Students

Posted by Akisha R. Jones on August 21, 2017

Growing up, my favorite teacher, by far, was Mr. Collins, my AP calculus teacher at Huron High School. The class was tough — more than I thought I could handle. But Mr. Collins never let me fail. He made sure I was present and engaged, stayed with me after class when I needed extra help, and gave me rides home when necessary. I could laugh with Mr. Collins and I could cry with him. He was even in communication with my mother about my progress. Mr. Collins set high expectations for my success, and in the end, I passed the class — and the AP exam.

I was one of a handful of black students in the classroom, and Mr. Collins was white.

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Topics: Race and Membership

What the 1965 Voting Rights Act Can Teach Us About Voter Fraud Today

Posted by Daniel Osborn on August 17, 2017

The violence and bigotry displayed in Charlottesville last weekend reminds us of the challenges that racial hatred poses to democracy. In August 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed one aspect of this by signing the Voting Rights Act to safeguard the voting rights of African Americans. Yet, decades of efforts to deny the vote highlight the tensions between just and unjust laws. Looking to this history is a reminder that challenges to voting rights are a perennial feature of political life in the United States, past and present. This is becoming evident today as controversial accusations of voter fraud are brought to the forefront under the Trump Administration.

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Topics: Democracy

How to Foster Humanity as Teachers in the Wake of Charlottesville

Posted by Daniel Braunfeld on August 16, 2017

It was the voice of Derek Weimer, a history teacher, that truly made me reflect on my role as a professional educator in the wake of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. Weimer is a former history teacher for James Alex Fields, Jr., the accused domestic terrorist who allegedly drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally in the city over the weekend, killing one person.   

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Topics: current events

3 Angles to the US Voter Fraud Controversy

Posted by Stacey Perlman on August 10, 2017

Earlier this month, New York announced it would share its voter data with the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. California is still resisting the request from the Commission in June that all 50 states hand over voter-roll data. The Commission was launched in May by President Donald Trump to investigate his claims that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote in the 2016 US presidential election. Initially, 44 states and the District of Columbia refused to hand over certain data due to privacy concerns. Voting rights groups are also concerned about efforts to suppress voters. This tension between the states and the voter fraud investigation reveals multiple perspectives about the controversy. Here are three to consider in your classroom.

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Topics: Democracy

Trying to Fit In: Help Your Students Explore Their Identity

Posted by David Lepora on August 8, 2017

Adolescence is a time when many young people are figuring out who they are. David Lopera, a high school student in Boston, describes what happened when he went to great lengths to fit in at school. You'll find this essay and more in our new unit, "My Part of the Story: Exploring Identity in the United States." This series of six lessons will challenge your students to define their own identity and their relationship to society as a whole.  

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Topics: Identity

Use These Four Tips to Welcome New Students Into Your Classroom

Posted by Stacey Perlman on August 2, 2017

Classrooms are meant to be safe spaces for students to learn new lessons, share their thoughts, and understand the world around them. This can be challenging for new studentsparticularly those from different countriesbut it’s essential to students' academic and personal growth to feel included and valued. Creating a welcoming environment can take a little extra work, but it’s possible and there are small, easy ways to do it. 

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Topics: Immigration, Safe Schools, School Culture

3 Features You Need to Know About the New Holocaust and Human Behavior

Posted by Dan Sigward on July 31, 2017

At Facing History, we recently revised our seminal case study, Holocaust and Human Behavior. Why is it time for a new edition? In today’s world, how to build and maintain democratic societies that are resilient to violence is more important than ever. Not to mention that Holocaust scholarship and the study of human behavior have changed dramatically since the last revision of this work 20 years ago. So has technology. That’s why we’ve included a digital version of the new edition, along with the print version, which allows educators to build a customized experience in their classroom. We wanted to create a more dynamic experience for teachers and students as they grapple with this difficult history and the moral questions it raises. 

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Topics: Facing History Resources, Genocide/Collective Violence, Holocaust and Human Behavior

Upstanders: Profound Risks, Incredible Rewards

Posted by Sarah Shields on July 26, 2017

Earlier in May two men were killed in Portland, Oregon for intervening when a man began screaming xenophobic insults at two young women on a train. I found myself admiring their bravery to act without hesitation but I also felt an overwhelming sense of worry for the students and teachers I work with at Facing History. We introduce them to the theme of “choosing to participate” and to the term, “upstander,” an individual who takes action in the face of injustice. But the deaths of the upstanders in Portland were a stark reminder that such acts can carry great risk. How then, as educators, do we reconcile both calling young people to be upstanders and also not wanting to recklessly expose them to violence?

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Topics: Upstanders

Use These Four Guiding Principles in Difficult Conversations

Posted by Tanya Huelett on July 19, 2017

Difficult conversations are a big part of my life. For almost nine years I’ve helped educators learn and teach about atrocities and injustices in the past and present. I should have felt prepared last year when asked to facilitate a webinar on "navigating difficult conversations" for classrooms in Baltimore City Public Schools. Instead I felt overwhelmed and hesitant.  

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Topics: Webinar, Professional Development, Webinars

How The Legacy of Ell Persons Lives On With Michele Whitney

Posted by Michele Whitney on July 13, 2017

Last year I began a family history project as a way to distract myself from the grief of being an “adult orphan.” My dad passed away 13 years prior and my mom had recently passed away at the beginning of 2016. So much of my identity had been found in my parents, and now being alive without them both was very confusing. I found a unique solace in the research of my ancestors.

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Topics: Race and Membership


Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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