ASK A TEACHER: What Facing History film has had the greatest impact?

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 9, 2012

We asked our Teacher Leaders: which Facing History film has the greatest impact on your students?

My favorite Facing History film is Schindler's List. As a history teacher, it is great because it covers nearly the entire course of the Holocaust; but the greatest part is that it captures students on an emotional level that a documentary cannot. Also, the companion guide by facing history really has some meaningful activities.

Malia Frutschy teaches at Beverly Hills High School


Schindler's List - We watch it when we're about midway through Sonia Weitz's book, ‘I Promised I Would Tell.’ The innate power of the film is magnified by the confluence of places/issues Sonia has already introduced them to.

Also Confessions of a Hitler Youth is very important, it frames so much of our discussions of conformity, propaganda, etc. I actually give them a "test" on the film (multiple choice), which they invariably ace because they have so grasped the content.

Phyllis Rosen teaches at LA Leadership Academy


One of the most powerful clips I use in class is ‘The Bad Samaritan’ a 60 Minutes piece on David Cash, who witnessed his best friend sexually assault an 8-year old girl, and walked away from it without intervening or reporting the crime to the police. It is very effective for teaching the concept of Universe of Obligation – an essential part to the Facing History curriculum.

David Jauregui teaches at Alhambra High School


Eye of the Beholder - The Twilight Zone episode about the plastic surgery had a huge impact on my students, not only within the Armenian Genocide unit, but also in our conversation about identity. After we watched that, we had several emotional conversations about gender, ethnicity, and feeling like an outsider. I can't wait to use it this year!

Elana Goldbaum teaches at Gertz-Ressler High School


In Group - Eve Shalen talking about bullying in her experience.

Sharon Hart teaches at Lincoln Middle School


My favorite clip to use is ‘Obedience’ because it allows students to truly grasp how easily most people defer to established authority and how powerful personal choice in these instances is.

Stephanie Carrillo teaches at Crossroads High School


Oprah's special with Elie Wiesel - Its impactful images of miles of shoes and recounting memories always moves my students even to tears. It is a great way to end the discussion of Auschwitz and camps.

Maritza Cha teaches at Social Justice Leadership Academy

Lunch Date - It's a short clip showing an older white woman who misses her train in Union station and buys a salad in the cafe. She gets up and returns to find a black homeless man eating her food....and has to share with him if she wants to eat. We find out at the end that HE was actually sharing his food with her. It's a GREAT clip to help facilitate a conversation about exploring our biases and stereotypes.

Sasha Guzman teaches at Student Empowerment Academy


Merri Weir teaches at Carson High School


What about you? What Facing History films do you recommend to colleagues?

Topics: A View from the Classroom

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