Kaitlin Smith

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

Recent Posts

Dolores Huerta's Life of Indefatigable Resistance

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on October 10, 2019

This National Hispanic Heritage Month, we find an opportunity to explore histories, contributions, and experiences of Hispanic and Latinx people in our communities and classrooms that are often left out of the news and history books. One such story is that of Dolores Huerta—a Chicana activist whose contributions rival those of the most renowned civil rights leaders in U.S. history, but whose legacy is significantly less known. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 and nine honorary doctorates, Huerta is a living legend in the labor movement and has been a tireless advocate for social justice for over 50 years.

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Topics: American History, Upstander, Latinx History

Revisiting Mockingbird During Banned Books Week

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on September 25, 2019

Banned Books Week is here once again—and it invites us to reflect upon the narratives that we choose to amplify within our communities and those we choose to silence. One text that continues to provoke these questions for American educators is Harper Lee’s 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird

In 2018, PBS identified Lee’s novel as the “most-loved” book in the United States in the Great American Read—an eight-part television series that celebrated popular texts based on a national survey that examined “how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what [the] 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.” 

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Civic Education as Community Development: An Interview with Daniel Warner

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on September 13, 2019

As teachers and students return to the classroom this fall, a number of Facing History teachers are hitting the books themselves. One of them is Daniel Warner, a history teacher in Memphis, Tennessee and recipient of the prestigious James Madison Graduate Fellowship for advanced study in constitutional history and government. In this interview, we discuss his path as an educator, how Facing History has shaped his approach to civic education, and how he uses primary sources to design transformative learning experiences.

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Topics: Professional Development, Teachers

Remembering Daisy Bates: Orator at the March on Washington

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 28, 2019

Today marks the 56th anniversary of the March on Washington—the historic 1963 protest in which as many as 500,000 people marched to demand jobs and freedom for Americans of all racial backgrounds. Though many of us remember this as the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, it is easy to forget that he was not the only civil rights leader to address the crowd. One of the leaders who joined him was movement veteran Daisy Bates—the only woman permitted to speak, though not in her own words.

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Topics: American History, black history

6 Classroom Design Hacks for Teachers

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 19, 2019

As we prepare to return to school this year, knowing how to set the tone for an inclusive, productive classroom environment is essential. Since 1976, Facing History has offered industry-leading tools for establishing a classroom climate that deepens empathy, demands intellectual rigor, and invites a plurality of student voices. And we equip teachers with lessons designed to build this type of climate in our Back-to-School Toolkit. But something as seemingly basic as how we set up the physical space of our classrooms can also have a significant impact on classroom culture and learning outcomes.

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Topics: Back-To-School, Innovative Classrooms

Building Empathy on International Youth Day

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 12, 2019

Since 2000, the United Nations has championed International Youth Day as a time to bring young people’s issues to the attention of the international community, and “celebrat[e] the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society.” Though all young people face difficulties as they cross the threshold from childhood to adulthood, how they navigate the challenges of youth is shaped significantly by their identities, the histories that inform them, and the disparate contexts in which they live around the world. And the high degree of complexity can make it difficult for teachers to build empathy across divides. 

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Topics: Film, Poetry, Refugees

Remembering Toni Morrison

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 9, 2019

On August 5th in New York City, legendary writer, editor, and educator Toni Morrison died. As countless figures around the country reflect upon her legacy, we find an opportunity to consider her impact on American culture and the responsibilities of educators everywhere.

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Topics: Teaching, Race and Membership, Literature, black history

Teaching in the Wake of Violence

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on August 5, 2019

Over the last week, mass shootings across the country—from Gilroy, California; to El Paso, Texas; to Dayton, Ohio—claimed over 30 lives and left 69 injured. These horrific events—one of them, a hate crime—evoke a range of emotions from anger to fear to sorrow as we mourn the loss of the victims, and watch their families and communities grieve the immeasurable losses that have befallen them.

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Topics: Teaching Resources, current events

Sometimes Empathy is Hard for Teachers

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on July 26, 2019

For teachers who don’t hold additional jobs, summer vacation offers an opportunity for a hard reset—a time to recharge from the madness of the academic year and prepare for the rigors of the next one. But it’s hard to find solace in the slowed pace of summer when it’s only a matter of time before we will, again, feel the stressors of the classroom. The chronic stress at the heart of teacher burnout follows us all year long, and the consequences may be more far-reaching than we think. Though declines in teachers’ health and students’ academic performance are among the major consequences of teacher burnout, the emotional intelligence of our students is also at stake.

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Topics: Teachers, School Culture, Empathy

How Facing History Stirs the Call to Teach: An Alumna Interview

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on July 19, 2019

Formed in collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves in 2005, The Facing History School is a public high school deeply informed by Facing History pedagogy within the New York City Public Schools. In a recent interview, I spoke with Yenny Bautista—alumna and Fulbright English Teaching Fellow to Brazil—about how the Facing History experience stirred her call to teach.

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Topics: New York, Teachers, Alumni

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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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