Best of the Blogs from 2013

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 2, 2014

New Year's is a time to look back and look forward. The LA Network is one of three blogs started by Facing History in 2013, and we all had a great year! We've enjoyed your participation by sharing our blogs, commenting, and occasionally guest-writing for us. In 2014, we look forward to increased participation and visibility - find out more in the coming weeks. Today, we wanted to take a moment to look back at all three of our blogs and share some highlights.

ON Network

Our sister blog in Ontario, Canada has focused on having teachers write about their own classrooms and lessons. It is a great opportunity to see how another educator thinks and acts. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Resources of Resistance: Why Every Grade 10 History Teacher should Teach about the Holocaust. Teacher and current Program Associate for Facing History, Ben Gross, shares the "Story of the Hummingbird" which inspired him, and a student response to studying Stanley Milgram's experiment on obedience. "I was taught to obey my parents, teachers, and adults, and to trust them. While these lessons were essential and beneficial during my childhood (or so I believe), it is clear that it’s also deprived me of free thinking." Click here to read more.
  • Toxic Discussion or Teachable Moment. English Teacher John Connely writes, "I always try to anticipate any number of possible responses to questions posed in class, but I was not expecting the response I got from one student. He raised his hand and said, 'Sir, not to be rude or anything, but why are all these people in Afghanistan terrorists? I mean… why do they want to blow everybody up? Is it just ‘cause they’re Muslims or what?'" Click here to read what sparked this comment and how John responded.
  • 7 Great Little Viral Videos. Educator Michael Grover shares seven short videos which can be used to illustrate the scope and sequence of Facing History and Ourselves. Click here to see his choices.
  • Facing-History-nelsonmandela-birthday-300x300How Do We Honour Nelson Mandela's Legacy? This post was written on the occasion of his birthday, but with his passing last year it holds particular resonance for me. Facing History Program Associate Jasmine Wong writes, "In honor of his birthday, citizens around the world are donating 67 minutes of their time to the greater good in honor of the 67 years Mandela dedicated to public service. I wanted to do my 67 minutes – theoretically, shouldn’t we do this every day? – but when I started thinking of what to do, I struggled." Click here to read Jasmine's questions to educators.

For more ideas from ONNetwork, click here to read their "Outstanding Observations from Ontario: 6 top posts from 2013."


Our second sister blog comes out of Facing History's headquarters in Brookline, MA, and focuses on the creative use and implications of technology in a Facing History classroom. They've highlighted student projects and teaching strategies as well as teacher tech dilemmas. Check out these examples:

  • How to: Flipped Classroom Exercise for Teaching Holocaust & Rescue. Are you interested in incorporating a flipped classroom teaching method in your classroom? Consider using this activity, which incorporates video clips, teaching strategies, and guiding questions from Facing History’s new online guide The Rescuers, which explores stories of rescue during World War II. Click here to read KC's lesson.
  • Series of blog posts on the Radio Rookies project in NYC. There are five posts in this series, Neighborhood to Neighborhood, sharing student projects. Here is one to get you started: How to: Report Your Own Story, but check out the whole series to hear student voices on the issues they face today.
  • Nazi Art Discovered: Leading Classroom Discussions on the Role of Art in Nazi Germany. Last year, professor of European History Jonathan Petropoulos visited Facing History’s headquarters in Brookline, Massachusetts, to talk about the history of “degenerate art” in Nazi Germany, and the choices artists made under the Nazi regime. How did the Nazis use art to shape society? How did Nazis use both “degenerate art” and the official art of the Nazi party as propaganda? Click here to read more and watch Petropoulos discuss these questions.
  • Cute, little (digital) footprints. Daniel Braunfeld writes, "Just over a week ago, my wife gave birth to our second child – a healthy, adorable, little boy. For my wife and me, having a second child was a much different experience than when we had our first: we were no longer afraid that we were going to break the baby. We didn’t feel like the hospital should be sued for negligence for allowing us to take the child home. And, perhaps most importantly for this blog, my wife and I now both had smart phones." Click here to read more of Daniel's thinking about social media and digital footprints.

Click here to see the top 5 EdTech posts from InterFacing in 2013.

LA Network

We call it "LA" because our center is LA, but LA defines only the source, not the circumference. At the LA Network we think of all of California as our audience, as well as urban centers around the world who might be facing similar issues. We appreciate the incredible educators in our network and want to both support these educators and share their ideas with a wider audience.

These past two weeks we've shared two "top" lists from the LA Network:


As you look back on 2013 blogs, which have been your favorite? What would you like to read and discuss on the LA Network blog in 2014?

Topics: Teaching Strategy, A View from the Classroom

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