Hidden Gems to Inspire your Teaching in 2014

Posted by Mary Hendra on December 26, 2013

Last week we highlighted our "top ten" posts of 2013 as indicated by you - our readers - through number of views, comments, and circulation. We love that those posts received great attention, and this week wanted to highlight some posts which we think could be just as inspiring. Here are six posts from 2013 which we think are "hidden gems," well worth revisiting as you start to plan for 2014.

Great resources for teachers:

Szyk selfportraitCartoons as Protest. This post shares the work of cartoonist, Arthur Szyk. Szyk considered art to be not his “aim” but his “means.” He was an activist artist who used his art to convey a message and was a strong anti-Nazi artist working in the United States during the time of the war. His art was on the cover of Time and Collier’s magazines, known and seen regularly by US Soldiers. And, he critiqued American race relations as well as Nazi policies. Click here for great images and a short video you could use in your classrooms.

IMG_1883Using Art to Face History. This post highlights a workshop we did for art teachers, or teachers who like to use art. Three projects. Three slideshows of work examples. A great start for you to incorporate a quick art project around identity, memorials, or community in your own classroom! Click here to see all three projects.



Understanding complexity and moving beyond stereotypes:

St. Patrick's Day. Published author, Aine Greaney, gave us permission to republish her essay, "I Hate St. Patrick's Day." It's a great piece for exploring unexamined beliefs about others. "On March 17, 1987, I experienced my first American St. Patrick’s Day, my first offshore glimpse of my own country, broadcast in psychedelic green. I was a waitress in an Irish-American pub in upstate New York. The night before, I telephoned my parents back home to explain that the pub would be too loud and crowded to call on the day itself. 'Why?' My mother asked. 'What’s all the fuss about?'" Continue reading Aine's essay here.

Jewish and Muslim Students Find Friendship Where They Expected Difference. Leila Mahboubi wrote about a school exchange experience here in Los Angeles. Like Aine's piece, it provides an opportunity to question how to truly move beyond our own assumptions. "When my teacher first told our class that we were going to be having an exchange with a Muslim school, I didn’t really know how to feel. I’ve spent my entire life learning how to be accepting of other races and religions, but my own family history made it difficult to wrap my head around the cultural and religious differences that these students would bring." To continue reading about Leila's experience, click here.

Seeing the people and history around you:

bully_posterStanding Up While Standing Out. Los Angeles is such a wonderfully diverse community, but sometimes we don't see - really SEE - the people around us and the impact one's actions may have on another. This post shares an experience which could resonate with students who feel they are the target of stereotypes. "Two weeks ago, a student enrolled in my senior Cultural Diversity elective shared with the class her experience seeing the movie Olympus Has Fallen with her younger brother in tow. Nothing unusual there, of course, but it is also to be noted that this student and her brother are Korean and the movie, Olympus Has Fallen, depicts a violent takeover of the White House at the hands of North Korean terrorists. Less than 15 minutes into the film, my student and her brother sat in the crowded movie stadium horrified and afraid." Click here to read the whole story.

047Memorial to All Victims of Crimes Against Humanity. A number of our posts have highlighted resources in the community, including this one which showcases a memorial created after the Armenian genocide. One LA staff member wrote, "The Armenian community in Los Angeles is robust and an integral part of LA–one of the many communities that makes LA vibrant and culturally rich. It is so important to me that all of our histories are represented so that we may learn, grow and be enriched by their stories and the uniqueness that they each have to offer. I was glad to take a few minutes to reflect on this history as a way to further understand this part of our Los Angeles community." Click here to find out more about this memorial.

Next week: 2013 highlights from our sister blogs at Facing History

Topics: Critical Thinking, Los Angeles

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