Facing Black History Month in the United States: Why We Need to Break the Norm

Posted by Tanya Huelett on January 28, 2016

When I was in elementary school, I was chosen to read aloud a poem I wrote about Martin Luther King, Jr. It was during a school-wide assembly to celebrate the United States’ Black History Month. I remember reciting my poem and the celebratory feeling in the room. The sense that we were united by the legacy of this wonderful man and our enlightened accomplishments as a racially diverse school community. Even then I understood that my presence onstage was meant to be evidence of that enlightenment and progress.

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Topics: Facing History Resources, Schools, Civil Rights, History, Diversity, Racism

Get to Know Facing History Teacher Leader, Ebony Davis

Posted by Stacey Perlman on January 14, 2016

Ebony Davis, a Facing History Teacher Leader and Facing History Leadership Academy member from Miami, Florida is highlighted on the Teacher Practice Network as part of the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd. She reflects on how Facing History has helped her grow as an educator:

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Topics: Schools, Facing History and Ourselves, Teachers

George Washington on Religious Inclusion: To Bigotry No Sanction, To Persecution No Assistance

Posted by Adam Strom on December 18, 2015

The horrific attacks, claimed or inspired by ISIS in Beirut, Paris, and San Bernardino – and the fear they have instilled in many – reveal the polarized atmosphere of the world beyond the walls of our schools. As educators, we know that we are responsible for creating a safe space to talk about these issues with our students, but how? Many of us fear that we don’t know enough, or that classroom conversations will break down into anger, myth and misinformation.

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Topics: Facing History Resources, Safe Schools, Schools, History, Rebuke to Bigotry

Can Empathy Be Hacked?

Posted by Elaine Guarnieri-Nunn on August 27, 2015

Recently, I drove from Facing History’s office in the East Bay to Silicon Valley to attend a youth civic hackathon. As I passed by the giant “like” sign at Facebook’s sprawling campus on One Hacker Way in Menlo Park, I found myself thinking about hacking, technology, social media status updates, and also about empathy.

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Topics: Classrooms, Teaching, Schools, San Francisco Bay Area, Teachers, Empathy, STEM

8 Components of a Reflective Classroom

Posted by Doc Miller on August 5, 2015

The philosopher Hannah Arendt said that the essence of being human is participating in moral discourse with others. "The things of the world become human for us only when we can discuss them with our fellows. We humanize what is going on in the world and in ourselves only by speaking of it, and in the course of speaking of it we learn to be human." In a reflective classroom community, students work together in an engaging study of our past, and of our world today. Knowledge is constructed, not passively absorbed. And students, with both hearts and minds mobilized, are seen as subjects actively engaged in a community of learners. A trusting classroom atmosphere like this creates the space for deep, democratic learning. The creation of an environment like this requires a thoughtful approach. 

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Topics: Classrooms, Back-To-School, Teaching Strategies, Student Voices, Students, Schools, Teachers, Community

Responding to a Community in Crisis

Posted by Karen Murphy on May 6, 2015

Over the last few weeks, South Africa has been rocked by xenophobic violence.

According to The New York Times, approximately five million immigrants have settled in South Africa since the end of the apartheid in 1994. Many are refugees, or are pursuing economic opportunities in the country, which has become a relatively stable multiracial democracy. Many native South Africans are greeting these newcomers with prejudice, hatred, and violence—destroying local businesses and in some cases committing murder. Today, South Africa’s immigrant population lives in fear.

Unfortunately, the trend is not new. In 2007, a year before xenophobic attacks would break out nationwide, violence erupted in the small township of Zwelethemba, about two hours from Cape Town.

A Facing History teacher at the local high school recognized that his community was in crisis. 

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, Immigration, Safe Schools, Teaching, Schools, Video, South Africa, Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants

Three Tips to Inspire Students to Turn the Tide

Posted by Richard Weissbourd on April 21, 2015

Adults often ask students to be upstanders, to speak out against bullying and other social problems, and to go against the tide. But we should also help students change the tide.This means changing social norms so that young people feel respected not when they degrade other students, but when they include others.

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Topics: Bullying and Ostracism, Choosing to Participate, Students, Safe Schools, Teaching, Schools, Teaching Resources, Raising Ethical Children

Talking About Paris: Citizenship in the Face of Division, Fear, and Hatred

Posted by Karen Murphy on January 12, 2015

Teaching after mass violence, including acts of terrorism, is incredibly challenging.

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Topics: Antisemitism, Democracy, Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, Immigration, Religious Tolerance, Teaching, Schools, News, Identity, Genocide/Collective Violence

10 Quotes from History to Inspire Empathy

Posted by Julia Rappaport on December 30, 2014

The news around the world has been grim recently. During times of conflict and difficulty, we look to history and remember the inspirational words from upstanders of the past—those who shared our goal of creating a better, more informed, and more thoughtful society.

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Topics: Democracy, Choosing to Participate, Students, Human Rights, Facing History Resources, Schools, Teachers, Civil Rights, History

Our Favorite Posts From 2014

Posted by Julia Rappaport on December 19, 2014

As we look back at 2014, we thought we'd share some of our favorite posts—and yours.

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Topics: Books, Choosing to Participate, Students, Schools, Identity, Memoir, Facing History and Ourselves, Teachers


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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