Kaitlin Smith

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

Recent Posts

Centering AAPI Students in the Classroom: An Expert Interview

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 9, 2022

In this interview, I spoke with Dr. Guofang Li and Dr. Nicholas D. Hartlep, leading scholars in the field of Asian-American Education, about barriers to delivering quality education to Asian and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) students today. We discussed the emergence and pervasiveness of the “model minority myth” (or “stereotype”), its effects on AAPI and non-AAPI people, and how educators can actively center the needs and experiences of their AAPI students.

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Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

8 New Books on AAPI Histories and Experiences

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 5, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Asian / Pacific American Heritage Month
this May and throughout all of the months of the year.

This month, we are sharing eight titles that have been released in the last year that bring important themes in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history and contemporary life to the fore. Below is promotional text excerpted from material offered by each book’s publisher:

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Topics: Asian American and Pacific Islander History

Classroom Resources on AAPI History and Contemporary Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on May 2, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities over one particular month can further marginalize the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Asian / Pacific American Heritage Month this May and throughout all of the months of the year.

Though Asian and Pacific Islander American (AAPI) people have faced racist violence in the United States for centuries, the endurance of this racism has become more visible in recent years as an uptick in violence targeting AAPI peoples entered the national consciousness. This virulent racism and the structures that allow it to persist demand response, and education is one of our most powerful tools for raising consciousness and taking steps toward repair. 

For many educators who are eager to begin exploring AAPI history and contemporary experiences with students, it can be challenging to know where to start. We invite educators to use the following curricular resources and professional development offerings to begin a journey of reflection, dialogue, and learning in the classroom.

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Topics: Japanese American Incarceration, Asian American and Pacific Islander History

4 Tools for Teaching with Poetry

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 29, 2022

From the work of Edgar Allan Poe to Amanda Gorman, poetry is a powerful medium of expression that has long played an important role in English Language Arts (ELA) education. During National Poetry Month in April and all year long, educators have opportunities to use poetry in the service of many different learning objectives. From shedding light on historical and contemporary experiences to helping students process their own identities and emotions, the medium of poetry offers educators abundant opportunities to help students connect heart, head, and conscience.

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Topics: Poetry

Youth Activism and Grief on Earth Day

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 20, 2022

Earth Day—which takes place each year on April 22—is a meaningful time for educators to consider the ecological issues facing the planet and the unique ways that they are impacting the young people in their classrooms. Though we have seen considerable and ongoing action from young people concerned about ecological destruction, young people are also bearing the brunt of what is being increasingly described as “ecological grief”—a term used to describe feelings of loss and sadness caused by present or future barriers to meeting basic needs; the disruption of cultural practices and knowledge related to the natural world; and a host of other changes in the environment. This Earth Day, educators have an opportunity to both elevate the activism of young people challenging ecological destruction while also exploring how to hold space for young people to feel and process the wide range of emotions that these issues are eliciting.

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Topics: Mental Health Awareness, environmental justice, climate change

5 Timely Reads on Genocide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 16, 2022

In the wake of President Biden’s recent statement that Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine constitutes genocide, we are witnessing an outpouring of discussion and debate surrounding the implications of this charge.

What follows are 5 timely reads from Facing History’s archives that speak to crucial questions educators and their students may be asking at this moment. These pieces feature the voices of both educators and leaders in the fight to prevent genocide around the world, and address the following questions–

  • What is the meaning of the word “genocide” and how did this concept emerge?
  • How and with what tools can educators effectively teach about genocide today?
  • What does it look like for educators and students to contribute to the movement to prevent genocide? 
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Topics: genocide

5 Tools for Teaching About Genocide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 13, 2022

Teaching about genocide is challenging for a number of reasons. Each instance of genocide is unique to the historical, cultural, and political contexts in which it emerges, demanding sustained intellectual engagement. Simultaneously, however, educators teaching about genocide are also called to engage themselves—and their students—in a level of emotional engagement and ethical reflection not required by most other topics of instruction. Below are 5 virtual tours, exhibitions, and professional development opportunities that educators can use to navigate these challenges with greater support:

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, genocide, Holocaust and Human Behaviour

6 New Books on Genocide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 11, 2022

Here at Facing History, we see awareness months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary manifestations of various phenomena. However, the focus on these themes over one particular month can further marginalize the very phenomena we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, what follows is an invitation to engage with important themes raised by Genocide Awareness Month this April and throughout all of the months of the year.

Below are six books that have been released in the last year that elevate understudied aspects of and connections between multiple historical genocides as well as the contemporary task of genocide prevention in a global climate of rising hate. Below is promotional text excerpted from material offered by each book’s publisher:

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, genocide, Holocaust and Human Behaviour

9 Classroom Resources on Genocide

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on April 6, 2022

Genocide Awareness Month each April is an annual period of remembrance that sheds light on the extremes of human behavior, surfacing the evil, altruism and resilience of which human beings are capable. As we sit with the strong emotions that this reflection elicits, there is also a rich opportunity to think critically about the specific historical and contemporary conditions under which genocide has occurred.

Below are 9 classroom resources that educators can use to unite head, heart, and conscience in their instruction on genocides past and present:

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, Holocaust, genocide

A Brief History of Barbie: From Fashion Model to Ida B. Wells

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on March 30, 2022

In January 2022, many were surprised to see news reports about a new “Barbie” made in the likeness of Ida B. Wells, the legendary African American journalist and anti-lynching activist. While doll collectors rejoiced to learn that Mattel made a new addition to its Inspiring Women Series of Barbies, many weren’t aware that the series even existed. Though this subject may seem tangential to the concerns of middle and high school educators, the emergence and evolution of Barbie provides meaningful insight into changing conceptions of gender, race, and education—as well as the role that educational objects like dolls play in young women’s development today.

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Topics: Racism, Women's History Month, gender

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.
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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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