Use Tailored Learning Approaches To Show Students They Can Succeed

Posted by Dana Pattison on December 4, 2017

We’ve all had that student who takes one look at an assignment and shuts down. They sit and stare. They develop a sudden and pressing need to go to the bathroom. They start to talk and distract others. They oh-so-sneakily check their phones. They employ any method of avoidance they can conjure to serve as a defense mechanism against failure. If students lack the confidence and sense of self-efficacy needed to be successful, they will choose to do nothing rather than try and fail yet again.

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Topics: Teaching Strategies

Breathe Life Into Your Lessons By Applying Elements of Storytelling

Posted by Zachary Herrmann on October 30, 2017

Have you ever been on the outside of an inside joke? Key details are missing; you're confused, and you quickly become disengaged. I fear that our students may sometimes feel the same way about school: There’s a storyline that they aren’t quite seeing.

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Topics: Teaching Strategies

Breaking Off the Beaten Path to Challenge Students

Posted by Brittany Burns on January 23, 2017

I’ve spent the last 10 years teaching at Algonquin Regional High School—a large, suburban school about 35 miles outside of Boston—and I serve as the social studies department chair as well. But years ago, when I’d just finished student teaching, I wasn’t sure I was on the right path. I was struggling to find a foundation that would guide my teaching and looking for something to confirm I was headed in the right direction.

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Topics: Professional Development, Teaching Strategies, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Summer Seminar, Lesson Plan

Choosing to Participate in a Digital World

Posted by Danielle Allen, Chaebong Nam, and Adam Strom on November 1, 2016

For 40 years, Facing History and Ourselves has had the opportunity to challenge young people to reflect on the moral choices they face in their own lives. Inspired by what they have learned, many of those students look for ways in which they can make a positive difference in their classrooms, communities, and world. The Facing History journey ends with a reflection on "Choosing to Participate." But, what does it mean to choose to participate in a digital world in which participatory practices using digital tools are increasingly being used to take on the work of traditional institutions? We believe the Youth and Participatory Politics Action Frame can serve as a model to guide young people to reflect on the moral and ethical choices they face in their desire to make a difference.

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Topics: Teaching Strategies, Choosing to Participate, Social Media, Teaching Strategy

Join Us in the #Civility2016 Campaign!

Posted by Aileen McQuillen on September 16, 2016

As revealed in Teaching Tolerance’s report last spring, teachers are encountering a variety of challenges this election season ranging from bullying and fear among immigrant and Muslim students, to uncivil discourse and behavior in schools, classrooms, and the playground.

In the midst of a divisive presidential election, how can educators create classrooms where students learn to exchange ideas, listen respectfully to different opinions and experiences, try out ideas and positions, and give – and get—constructive feedback without fear or intimidation?

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Topics: Teaching Strategies, Facing Ferguson, difficult conversations, civil discourse

Four Ways to Use Testimony in the Classroom for Holocaust Remembrance Day

Posted by Hepzibah Alon on April 28, 2016


On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is our job as teachers to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust is not forgotten. It is our hope, as a society, that the preservation of these memories will  prevent these events from happening again, any place in the world, and that the words of the survivors will ring out as alarm bells today.

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Topics: Teaching Strategies, Holocaust, Survivor Testimony, Holocaust Education, Jewish Education Program, IWitness, Salvaged Pages

Facing History in an ELL Classroom

Posted by Julie Mann on March 29, 2016


My students are immigrants from over 40 different countries. Often, they have recently arrived to the United States, and are thrust into a new city, a new language, and a new culture. They live with caregivers they either have never met before or haven’t seen in years and live in less than ideal conditions. With this life experience, they bring a worldview that isoften wise beyond their years. Many of them know what it means to be a victim or live under an oppressive regime where they have no voice. And many are taking great risks and experience great loss.

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Topics: Teaching Strategies, Immigration, Teaching, Socratic Seminar, ELL

Creating Space for Student Voices: Chicago and Laquan McDonald

Posted by Sarah Shields on December 2, 2015

In a Facing History and Ourselves classroom, asking students to question and think critically is challenging every day, but especially when we read headlines about violence in communities close to home. During the week leading up to Thanksgiving, a video showing the 2014 murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was released on the same day that Mr. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder. Facing History offers essential questions to consider and strategies for helping students process the myriad thoughts, feelings, and opinions they are experiencing.

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Topics: Teaching Strategies, Facing History Resources, Facing History and Ourselves, Teaching Resources

Paris (Traduction Française)

Posted by Karen Murphy on November 15, 2015

Nous pleurons avec le peuple de France. Ce qui s’est passé vendredi soir est inimaginable. Les Parisiens faisaient ce que tout le monde fait dans une société libre : ils passaient la soirée dehors avec des amis ou en famille, ils dînaient, buvaient, riaient, écoutaient de la musique, regardaient un match de football. À La fin de la soirée, plus de 120 personnes avaient été assassinées, des centaines blessées et des milliers terrorisées. Nous l’étions tous, d’ailleurs.

Une société libre et ouverte se fonde sur un contrat social qui prescrit que nous vivions ensemble dans la paix et le respect. Le terrorisme rompt ce contrat. C’est son objectif, pour qu’il devienne plus difficile de rester ouverts et inclusifs.

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Topics: Classrooms, Teaching Strategies, International, Students, Paris


Posted by Karen Murphy on November 14, 2015

We mourn with the people of France. Friday evening’s events are unimaginable. Parisians were doing the things that people do in a free society, enjoying an evening out with friends and family, having dinner, a drink, a laugh, hearing music, watching a football match. By the end of the night, more than 100 people were murdered, hundreds were injured and thousands more were terrorized. In fact, we all were.

Remaining a free and open society is based on a social contract, that we will live together with respect and in peace. Terrorism disrupts this. It is designed to do just that, making it harder to remain open and inclusive.

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Topics: Classrooms, Teaching Strategies, International, Students, Paris

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.


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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