5 Ways Principals Show Their Support

Posted by Mary Hendra on March 3, 2015

Last week, we brought together 26 teachers and 14 administrators from Facing History Partnership Schools in Los Angeles to share ideas and learn more about what deepens students' learning. (Read more about the day by clicking here.) All 40 of these educators expressed passion and vision - true leadership. We were inspired by the many ways they work collaboratively to create engaging learning environments for students.

Through the course of the day, we heard a number of ways principals in particular show their support for students and teachers as they explore the complex ideas of Facing History and Ourselves.

Principals show their support when they...

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Topics: A View from the Classroom

A Day of Conversation

Posted by Mary Hendra on February 26, 2015

  • How do you create a school culture that reads together, ponders big ideas, has a common language, and stands up for each other?
  • What does it mean for civic participation that our students are now "digital natives"?
  • How can teachers implement curriculum that is both rigorous and meaningful? ...that engages students in thinking about critical moments in history and their personal choices?
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Topics: Safe Schools, Los Angeles, Urban Education, Community Event, A View from the Classroom

Hidden Gems of 2014

Posted by Mary Hendra on December 31, 2014

Last week we highlighted our top five posts for 2014. Here are a few more posts we think are hidden gems, and worth a second look.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Critical Thinking, Urban Education, A View from the Classroom

How a Student Helped Me Face Myself Part 2

Posted by Brian Gibbs on November 21, 2014

Last week, we met Angel: a student struggling to remain in the shadows within an active classroom which had been together for over a year. Leaving Brian pondering how to bring him back into the class after a confrontation, Angel had stormed out of the classroom.

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Topics: A View from the Classroom

How a Student Helped Me Face Myself

Posted by Brian Gibbs on November 14, 2014

Facing History and Ourselves has given me much: a collective of thoughtful, like-minded educators; a deep and sophisticated pedagogy; and perhaps, most importantly, a lens through which I can see and examine myself. Though I would have labeled myself a Facing History educator since 1995, it wasn’t until 2004 that I actually faced myself fully and not because I chose to but because one student gave me no opportunity of escape.

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Topics: Urban Education, A View from the Classroom

Upstanders: a Look Into a Middle School Classroom

Posted by Guest Blogger on November 7, 2014


On the first day of school, as each group of kids arrives for class, I meet them outside the door. I introduce myself and talk to them about how we enter the room ready to learn. I give them some guidelines: sit anywhere you want, share the space, everyone has to be included, don’t split up by genders. When we come in, we have to get in “the Zone” right away. That means our bodies and minds are focused and ready to take on the day. The same way we get ready before a big game or a performance, our actions show we are ready to be our best selves. The kids know what to do: they walk in; make sure their volume is at a level that isn’t disruptive to others; check for a note on the board; turn in any work that is due; kick off their shoes (literally and figuratively); grab a novel/magazine/map/nonfiction book; and find a cozy, safe place to curl up in and read for five to ten minutes while our minds settle in.

On that first day, it’s not exactly serene. They do come rushing in, scour the nonfiction shelves, magazine racks, and library, and eventually nestle into their respective spaces. Gradually, they relax into the reading—a few on a couch, others on beanbags, some on the rug. In stocking feet, minds deep into reading, a few moments of solace in a very hurried day."

Welcome to the classroom of Sara Ahmed.

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Topics: A View from the Classroom

How do YOU start your Facing History unit?

Posted by Mary Hendra on October 20, 2014

Look at how these teachers kicked off their Facing History lessons!

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Topics: A View from the Classroom

Five Ways to Create a Safe Classroom Space

Posted by Stephanie Carrillo on August 6, 2014

No matter how long I've been in teaching, there's always this to look forward to with the start of the school year: the promise of a new beginning. After spending a year outside of the classroom, I'll be returning to teaching at a different school this fall and I'm excited to re-establish the pattern of rewarding teacher-student relationships that I've built over two decades. At the start of the school year, whether the students know me or not, the classroom dynamics have not been set and the patterns of interaction are yet to be established. I am given anew the chance to create the classroom environment which will both nurture and challenge my students. I can intentionally and purposely create a safe space where every person is allowed to bring his or her authentic self to the classroom and express the thoughts and opinions that he or she holds. How do I do that? Well...

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Topics: Safe Schools, Teaching, Social and Emotional Learning, Teaching Strategy, A View from the Classroom

One City, Many Stories

Posted by Stephanie Carrillo on August 2, 2014

Los Angeles is a city with quite a reputation. Depending on whom you ask, L.A. is the land of perpetual sunshine and carefree living or a concrete jungle of congested freeways and unrelenting smog. From the outside, people may be tempted to view Los Angeles as a monolith, however most Angelenos know better.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Los Angeles, Student Work, Social and Emotional Learning, A View from the Classroom

Teaching Kitty Genovese: The Importance of Complexity and the Perils of the Single Narrative

Posted by Brian Gibbs on May 21, 2014

I’d taught the story of Kitty Genovese for years and thought I’d read all there was to read on it. I was convinced that I knew the story. It had touched me deeply, shocked me, and moved me. Perhaps that was the problem, I had become far too comfortable with an uncomfortable story, and stopped exploring, asking, questioning. For an old man it was a rookie mistake and one that I’d unfortunately made every year for 16 years.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Teaching, Critical Thinking, Bystander, Upstander, Teaching Strategy, A View from the Classroom

Welcome to Learn+Teach+Share

This blog helps Southern California teachers connect directly with each other, share ideas, and learn about new resources and opportunities for those interested in or already implementing Facing History.

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