As a high school English teacher, my goal is to produce globally aware students who see the larger context of the curricula we are studying. Texts, such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, are valuable lenses to educate my students about what it means to be humane, active participants in their classroom and the world. Before attending Facing History’s Teaching Mockingbird seminar, I thought about how to approach the novel in a way that would encourage my pupils to explore the complexity of human behavior and decision-making. But I was also looking to be inspired about how to most effectively end my semester-long unit on Race and Membership using the novel. Now, I have a plethora of strategies to discuss the dilemmas that develop when conscience comes into conflict with societal rules of behavior.
In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, we are having difficult conversations all over the world. About race. About identity. About the meaning of democracy and where we go from here. Tanya Huelett shares what she learned from leading difficult conversations as a program associate at Facing History and Ourselves. These guiding principles can help us both in and out of the classroom as we all try to navigate this latest tragedy.
Difficult conversations are a big part of my life. For almost eight years I’ve helped educators learn and teach about atrocities and injustices in the past and present. I should have felt prepared when asked to facilitate a webinar on "navigating difficult conversations" for classrooms in Baltimore City Public Schools. Instead I felt overwhelmed and hesitant.
In the spring of 2015, I took the online course "Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird." It was the first time I was reading To Kill a Mockingbird with my 8th grade students and I was looking for support to help me teach such an important text. What I gained from the course was so much more than I could’ve imagined. I received access to primary sources to illustrate the realities of the Jim Crow South; I participated as a learner in activities that I later assigned to my students; and I learned about virtual resources I could implement in multiple lessons and units.
*This post was adapted from the Preface to the Second Edition of Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust.
When Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust was published in 2002, I expected that it would have a typical life span, generating some interest for a while and then tapering off. And then, something unexpected happened. Teachers, organizers of educators’ conferences, and Jewish community leaders who organized local Holocaust education wanted me to show teachers how to use Salvaged Pages in the classroom, and how it could complement instruction on Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. Salvaged Pages gradually developed into an educational tool over the next decade.
For the past three years, Dr. Sybil Hampton has been featured as a guest speaker for Facing History and Ourselves’ online course, “Choices in Little Rock.” Her experience as one of the first African American students to graduate from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1962 makes her a witness to history. She shares her reflections on why she chooses to participate in Facing History’s online professional development courses.
Register today! Our online courses start on February 4.
In a blog post up now on the New York Times Learning Network, Facing History and Ourselves Senior Program Associate Laura Tavares pairs an article about the recent report documenting the history of racial lynching in America with an excerpt of To Kill a Mockingbird
Here are four classroom resources you can use in April, or any time of year, to introduce your students to specific moments in world history while encouraging them to consider the behaviors—such as prejudice, stereotyping, and conformity—that contribute to the proliferation of violence today.
I remember driving to work one morning in 2008, vaguely paying attention to the DJ discussing Ashton Kutcher‘s recent Twitter rant about noisy neighbors. I had no idea what Twitter was.I was 25 at the time, right about at the stage in my life where adulthood began to officially set in and my knowledge of all things trendy began to rapidly decrease.
In the United States, Presidents’ Day is celebrated Monday. The national holiday offers an opportunity for valuable discussion in the classroom about the importance—and the fragility—of democracy now and throughout history. Here are four Facing History and Ourselves resources that can help you plan an exciting lesson.