On December 15, 1791, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution—known as the Bill of Rights—were ratified. Designed to spell out limits to the federal government’s power and to protect the individual liberties of Americans, these amendments include many of the hallmarks of the country’s democratic ideals: freedom of speech, the press, and religion; and the protection against being punished by the government without due process of law.
As a high school student growing up in Memphis, Facing History and Ourselves helped me understand the history of my hometown. When I was a sophomore in high school on Facing History’s tour of major cities in the Civil Rights Movement, I could see how Memphis fit into the larger context of that history as it rippled through Alabama cities like Birmingham and Montgomery and in Little Rock, Arkansas. And through Facing History’s emphasis on upstanders, I saw how I had a part to play in my city’s future.
Topics: Race and Membership
We’ve all had that student who takes one look at an assignment and shuts down. They sit and stare. They develop a sudden and pressing need to go to the bathroom. They start to talk and distract others. They oh-so-sneakily check their phones. They employ any method of avoidance they can conjure to serve as a defense mechanism against failure. If students lack the confidence and sense of self-efficacy needed to be successful, they will choose to do nothing rather than try and fail yet again.
Topics: Teaching Strategies
During the holiday season, we often find ourselves sitting across our family members, trying to keep our conversations civil and polite, particularly when politics surface. It's important to remember the same type of civil discourse is needed at the virtual table. Here's five tips for civic dialogue that we can all keep in mind for ourselves—and the young people around us who are growing up in a social media landscape.
Topics: civil discourse
In my US history classes this fall, we’ve been exploring the journeys of immigrants who came to these shores early in the 20th century. We have listened to accounts from Ellis Island and examined Emma Lazarus’ inscription on the Statue of Liberty.
December 13, 2017 will mark the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Atrocities. Between December 1937 and March 1938, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the city of Nanjing, unleashing a spree of violence, murder, and rape on thousands of women, men, and children.
Topics: Genocide/Collective Violence
The Great Thanksgiving Listen is almost here. For the third year in a row, StoryCorps and Facing History are encouraging Facing History students around the country to listen to stories from their loved ones by having a meaningful conversation and learning critical listening skills. But before you begin, make sure to keep these great interviewing tips in mind!
I was flying home from London last week and was sitting in an exit row. It’s funny how you can see those seats as access to more room to stretch out when really they are an emergency exit. In any case, the flight attendant came by and I was ready for her spiel: read the card, say that you agree to help, etc. Instead, she looked me in the eye and said, “You are going to need to do this. We are not going to get to you in time. We will be in the back opening those doors and helping people. People will be on you quickly and need your help.” Then she paused and said, “Most people think that we really are going to run up here and help, but we really can’t. We won’t get here in time. It’s your responsibility.”
Today marks the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass.” This series of violent attacks against Jews that spread across Germany, Austria, and parts of Czechoslovakia was a major escalation in the Nazis’ increasingly violent campaign against Jews that would result in the Holocaust. According to historian Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht was “a brutal, hysterical, uninhibited assault on everything Jewish, on a far wider scale than hitherto, and yet only a prelude to something far larger still.”
Topics: Holocaust and Human Behavior
Last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the US would be withdrawing from the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) by the end of 2018. Understanding the implications of this is important for students in today’s world, particularly as the nation’s dynamics with international institutions continue to shift. Discussing these events prepare our students for engaged citizenship. Bringing the world to the classroom can also motivate students and help them become effective and satisfied in the long term.