Part of challenging our students is challenging ourselves as educators. That’s why Facing History is excited to announce the 2017 Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants. This year, we’re challenging you to think about how you can bring “hard empathy” into the classroom. You could be one of 12 educators to receive $2,500 to bring your project to life.
Educators often talk about “student well-being,” but we rarely define the term. We know we want more for our students than just academic achievement, but most of us struggle to articulate a vision for what that more looks like, and how to work toward it.
So often my best teaching comes when I don’t give any information. A well-crafted question can provide far more information than the best slideshow presentation in the world. This is something that drew me to Facing History and Ourselves one fateful summer three and a half years ago when I went to a Holocaust and Human Behavior seminar. I liked that the session I attended often raised more questions than it answered and challenged me to complicate my thinking. When offered an opportunity to join the Facing History Leadership Academy, a group of educational leaders who have an in-depth understanding of the organization’s teaching framework and resources, I jumped at the chance. I was excited to expand my ability to question.
Tuesday, November 29 is Giving Tuesday. As the holiday season gears up with advertisements for sales and deals on clothes, electronics, and games, Giving Tuesday encourages us to support organizations trying to make a positive difference in the world—like Facing History and Ourselves. Hear from Kim Parker, a Facing History teacher, about why she's giving to the organization that has helped her grow as an educator.
In this increasingly globalized world, we can learn a lot from each other. That's why in July, Facing History facilitated a weeklong Advanced International Seminar hosted by North Shore Country Day School. Teachers from Northern Ireland, South Africa, England, Mexico, France, and the United States gathered in Winnetka, Illinois to discuss the issues and challenges educators struggle with and to exchange best practices.
Karen Murphy, Facing History's international director, recently shared her experience on the Global Learning blog, hosted by Education Week and the Asia Society. Read about the eight lessons she learned from facilitating the Advanced International Seminar.
To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, Judiana Moise, a senior at Blackstone Academy Charter School in Pawtucket, RI, shares her story of how her teacher, Stacy Joslin, has made an impact on her life. Stacy has been a Facing History and Ourselves teacher for nine years. She has taught Facing History lessons including Race and Membership, Identity, Choices in Little Rock, and Holocaust and Human Behavior. Stacy likes that Facing History gives her students the opportunity to wrestle with difficult and complex material. She says her favorite part of being a teacher is watching students find themselves through projects and discussions during the school year.
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:
What do Facing History and Ourselves classrooms really accomplish? Where do our students go after graduation? And how does our approach actually change their lives? We find one answer in the story of a Dominican teenager who immigrated to New York City less than a decade ago. Luis Santos—like so many youth today—fled violent rioting in the streets of the Dominican Republic after it took the life of one of his best friends. Santos found himself attending the Facing History School in Hell's Kitchen, NYC.
Warsaw, May 2014:
Staring at two rusted milk cans at the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, I feel overwhelmed by the weight and significance of the history they carry. These one-time ordinary artifacts stand in front of an archive of unbelievable power, documenting daily life in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1940 to 1943.
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.