Kaitlin Smith

Kaitlin Smith is a Marketing and Communications Writer for Facing History and Ourselves.

Recent Posts

Cultivating Critical Consciousness in the Classroom

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on September 24, 2020

At Facing History’s inaugural Teaching for Equity and Justice summits this summer, we had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Scott Seider and Dr. Daren Gravestwo developmental psychologists committed to deepening communities’ capacities to educate and care for Black and brown youth. Co-authors of Schooling for Critical Consciousness: Engaging Black and Latinx Youth in Analyzing, Navigating, and Challenging Racial Injustice, Seider and Graves shared a wealth of insights from their research on the importance of cultivating critical consciousness in the classroom and how to get started. Below are some excerpts from their presentation:

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Topics: Equity in Education

New Books on Latinx Life and History

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on September 17, 2020

September 15th marks the beginning of Hispanic American Heritage Montha time to deepen our attention to the histories, experiences, and brilliance of Hispanic American peoples including Latinx communities. We present to you the following five new books to consider as you engage with these themes this month and beyond. These titles run the gamut from historical scholarship and classroom pedagogy to memoir, poetry, and even a book for young readers eager to familiarize themselves with Latinx heroes. Below are words from each publisher about what you will find inside each title:

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Topics: Latin America, Reading List, Latinx History

5 Teacher Resources for Hispanic American Heritage Month

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on September 15, 2020

September 15th marks the beginning of Hispanic American Heritage Montha time to deepen our attention to the histories, experiences, and contributions of Hispanic American peoples including Latinx communities. Turn to this rich array of free teacher resources this month (and beyond) including two streamable documentaries, two on-demand webinars, and a bundle of lessons designed to help educators bring the richness of Latinx life and history into focus in the classroom. 

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Topics: Latinx History

Teachers as Workers

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on September 7, 2020

Amid the upheavals of this year, the status of teachers as workers has come into focus as never before. After a great many decades in which teaching has been a devalued form of labor and associated with childrearing, the events of 2020 have begun to flip the script. We’ve been hearing many stories this year of teachers being lauded as superheroes as parents become aware of the rigors of full-time teaching for the very first time. Yet these positive appraisals are a double-edged sword. We’ve also been hearing stories of teachers being asked to sacrifice their own health with near-martyrlike dedication, in part, so that other workers with children can resume their professional lives. How quickly we forget that teachers are also professionals, and many are parents themselves.

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Topics: Teachers

Teacher Roundtable: Remote Instruction

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on September 3, 2020

In three parallel interviews, I had the opportunity to speak with three Facing History educators from public and private schools about their institution’s move to remote instruction this fall. Their roles encompass teacher and school leadership functions, and all are now exploring what the coming months will look like in the virtual classroom. Plans to implement remote instruction have been provoking challenging questions, concerns, and bold visions for the future of education beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn how each of these educators is navigating the return to school below:

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Topics: Back-To-School, Teaching, Online Learning

Teacher Roundtable on Hybrid Instruction

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 26, 2020

In three parallel interviews, I had the opportunity to speak with three Facing History educators from middle and high schools located on the East Coast of the United States. They range in experience level from new to veteran and work in schools large and small. Each is planning to return to work this fall in a hybrid format in which they will deliver some instruction remotely and the rest in person in a classroom. Plans to implement hybrid modes of instruction have been provoking immense questions, concerns, and even expansive visions for the future of education beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn how each of these educators is navigating the return to school below:

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Topics: Back-To-School, Online Learning

Looking Back and Forward this Fall

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 25, 2020

It may seem like the world’s greatest understatement to observe that much has happened since schools shuttered and moved online in early 2020. Our communities have weathered (and continue to weather) multiple overlapping crises and conflicts, as well as come together in solidarity, support, and resistance. As educators return to the classroommany through virtual meansthere are a great many events to recollect and reflect upon. What follows is a list of some of the themes that we are sitting with from the last several months, as well as links to articles sharing perspectives that educators might consider as they prepare to greet students and colleagues.

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Topics: Back-To-School

Designing Schools for the New Normal: An Interview with Dr. Justin Reich

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 12, 2020

In a recent interview, I spoke with Dr. Justin Reich of MIT where he serves as Assistant Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Director of the Teaching Systems Lab. Here Dr. Reich shares some of his expertise on teaching in the time of COVID, the use of design charrettes to devise holistic solutions to emergent challenges, and how educators can attend to and design for some of the unique vulnerabilities facing families in their communities.

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Topics: Back-To-School

Trauma-Informed Teaching in Action: An Expert Interview

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 6, 2020

“This framework is centered on compassion and care, fierce commitment to viewing students as knowledgeable and capable, and viewing the invitation to bring life experiences into school as integral to day-to-day teaching and learning.” Dr. Elizabeth Dutro 

In a recent interview, I spoke with Dr. Elizabeth Dutro and Alex Shevrin Venet concerning the need for trauma-informed teaching in these times. Dr. Dutro is a professor and chair of the Literacy Studies program at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. There, she draws on past classroom experience and her extensive research to design pedagogies that make space for difficult experiences to be honored as knowledge in schools. Her publications include her book The Vulnerable Heart of Literacy: Centering Trauma as Powerful Pedagogy. Venet is a Vermont-based, industry-leading trainer, educator, and writer helping educators implement trauma-informed practices across the country. Her first book, Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education, is forthcoming from W. W. Norton in spring 2021.

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Topics: Back-To-School, trauma

Facing History Hosts Bettina Love

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 3, 2020

As part of Facing History’s Teaching for Equity and Justice summit series, we recently hosted Dr. Bettina L. Love in a riveting presentation on her work and vision for education. We look forward to sharing some of our key learnings at the conclusion of the second summit, but we’d like to make sure that Dr. Love’s paradigm-shifting work is on your radar in the meantime.

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Topics: Equity in Education

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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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