Star Wars and Facing History

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 24, 2016

As we prepare for our summer seminars at Facing History, we start seeing connections to our work everywhere, even Star Wars. It turns out we aren't the only one! We are pleased to share the following excerpt from the soon-to-be-released, The World According to Star Wars, from the chapter, Rebels, by Cass R. Sunstein.

Star Wars isn’t a political tract, but it has a political message. After all, it opposes an Empire to a Republic, and a First Order to a Resistance, and its heroes are rebels, who want to return peace and justice to the galaxy.

That’s one reason for the universal appeal of the saga. Whatever your political convictions, and wherever you live, you’re likely to see an Emperor of some kind, and you’re likely to have some sympathy for the rebels or the Resistance. Your teacher or your boss might seem like an Emperor. Maybe your nation’s leader reminds you of Palpatine; maybe the opposing party is the Resistance….

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Critical Thinking, Bystander, Book, In the news

The Best of our Conference Season

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 1, 2016

During the last few months, Southern California has hosted many conferences including three statewide conferences at which Facing History and our teachers presented:

  • California Association of Teachers of English (CATE)
  • California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS)
  • CUE (the largest Education Technology conference on the West Coast at almost 7000 attendees!)

Do you want to see our presentations? Participate in the fun of an Exhibit Hall giveaway without the hassle of missing school? Keep reading. We have a special gift for those who couldn't make it to the conferences in person!

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Topics: Common Core, Critical Thinking, workshop, Teaching Strategy, Community Event, Using Technology

Facing History and Ourselves…The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Posted by Brian Gibbs on February 3, 2016

If we do it correctly, Facing History and Ourselves can be a life-long gift to our students. The "Ourselves" part is always the most difficult. It’s the part that students struggle with. Sure they can parrot it in the moment, but it is the part we hope students actually engage with for the rest of their lives. Not often enough, but from time to time we get hints that they are actually doing just that.

A student asked me, “What do I do?”

Like all questions worth asking, worth the trouble, it had no clear answer.

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Topics: Critical Thinking, A View from the Classroom

Hidden Gems from 2015

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 6, 2016

As we have in past years, we want to take a moment and highlight some blog posts published last year which may not have caught your eye. Here are some favorites from both this blog and the national Facing History blog, Facing Today. These "hidden gems" were identified by Los Angeles staff.

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Topics: Teaching, Critical Thinking, Social and Emotional Learning

11 Zaption Tours to Encourage Deeper Engagement with Video

Posted by Mary Hendra on September 29, 2015

Zaption has received accolades from SXSW (winning the LAUNCHedu competition), Fast Company (in their innovation issue), and educators far and wide. We've been happy to have an initial set of Facing History videos available as Zaption tours since their launch last August, and are now thrilled to share two more collections for educators.

The Holocaust and Human Behavior pulls together five films used by Facing History educators to explore the pressures on individual and group decision-making, the ways Nazism affected cultural and religious institutions, and the insight gained from the recently-opened Soviet archives. In this film from the Zaption tour set, Professor James Waller explores how ordinary individuals can become perpetrators in genocide.

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Topics: Film, Reconstruction, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Critical Thinking, Teaching Strategy, Using Technology, Tech Innovation

3 Thoughtful Ways to Celebrate Constitution Day, September 17, 2015

Posted by Mary Hendra on September 16, 2015

On this Constitution Day, how will your students find meaning in the Constitution as it relates to their own lives, protections and responsibilities? Here are three ways to recognize Constitution Day on the official day, September 17, 2015.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Reconstruction, Choosing to Participate, Critical Thinking

Getting Equipped to Engage in Challenging Conversations

Posted by Mary Hendra on August 17, 2015

This month Facing History and Ourselves is the featured partner on Connected Learning TV for the series, Creating Upstanders in Today’s World. We are publishing the recorded webinars here with additional resources.

Becoming an upstander in today’s world includes being equipped and willing to engage with the challenging issues of our time, including race, class, and gender. We've seen this many times in the last year, as Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, and other places with tragic violence have filled our news.

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Topics: Identity, Critical Thinking, CLTV, Upstander

Toolbox for Democracy

Posted by Mary Hendra on July 22, 2015

Democracy works "through the collaborative efforts of ordinary people." Fernando Reimers, Harvard University, shares this in an essay just published by Facing History and Ourselves. (Click here to download a free excerpt from this new book.

But, what tools do we have to make our democracy work better? We put this question to teachers in our most recent seminar, A New Approach to Teaching Mockingbird. Here is their response:

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Critical Thinking

People Make Choices

Posted by Rebecca Berger on May 20, 2015

People make choices. Choices make history."

My 7th graders know about Hitler. They are deeply curious about him. They ask questions about his childhood, how he died, how he got to be dictator of Germany. And while I understand their fascination with trying to understand one of the greatest demagogues of the last century, I try to channel their curiosity in a different direction; my students are not going to understand the Holocaust by uncovering everything there is to know about Hitler, but they will come much closer to understanding how the Holocaust could have happened just by looking at the everyday people who were living in Europe at that time.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Critical Thinking, Facing History PSA, A View from the Classroom

One Of Us? Or One Of Them?

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 13, 2015

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Choosing to Participate, Bullying, Critical Thinking, Facing History PSA, Upstander, A View from the Classroom

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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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