What is "beauty"?

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 20, 2016

What would it mean to have your picture taken by a world-renowned fashion photographer? What would it mean to your daughter or son? What could it mean for your students, more specifically for that student who walks in, head down, and heads to the back of the classroom, to the shadows?

Positive Exposure, featured in a special exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance, turns society’s definition of “beauty” on its head and asks us to “change how you see, see how you change.”

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Topics: Identity, Los Angeles, Social and Emotional Learning, Community Event

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

Civic Engagement in a Digital Age

Posted by Daniel Braunfeld on April 22, 2015

My children will come of age in an era of easy digital access, of school districts across the country exploring one-to-one computing, and their hometown deciding that students have the right to bring personal cell phones and electronics into schools. So, like many other parents of digital natives, I wonder how they will harness and utilize the power of this global access. How will they navigate the myriad of behaviors, distractions, and opportunities that the digital landscape provides? How will they define their digital Universe of Obligation and, as digital natives, will they be digital bystanders or digital upstanders?

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Social and Emotional Learning, Upstander, Using Technology

Why We Love Monsters

Posted by Stephanie Carrillo on October 28, 2014

As Halloween draws near, representations of ghosts, goblins, and vampires saturate the seasonal displays. Given the success of various Halloween events at local theme parks, it's clear that there is no shortage of people who want to be frightened. For a fee, we can go to a haunted house or staged zombie apocalypse, and experience the thrill of controlled panic.

I can't help but ask myself, "Why would we want to surround ourselves with these images? What is our fascination with monsters?"

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Topics: Holocaust and Human Behavior, Social and Emotional Learning, Upstander

I'm a Bear! Aren't I?

Posted by Elana Goldbaum on August 13, 2014

Working with students, in my case high school, "Who am I?" is not usually a question that you hear teenagers say aloud, but you can see them going through this on a daily basis: clothes they wear, makeup color choices, different hairstyles, questions they ask about religion or politics. I see my students working to find themselves in myriad of ways and I feel very privileged to be a part of that process. My challenge as a teacher is to take the concept of identity, as my students see it personally, and challenge them to relate it to people in history.
One of the most successful and fun ways I've been able to do this is by tailoring discussion around an old cartoon. This clip is a video adaptation of the illustrated book, The Bear That Wasn’t.


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Topics: Critical Thinking, Social and Emotional Learning, Teaching Strategy

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

Happy Birthday, Anne!

Posted by Stephanie Carrillo on June 11, 2014

Anne Frank. The name and the face are instantly recognizable to millions of people throughout the world. And whether we think of Anne's legacy as one of a prodigious literary genius, an unfailing optimist, an insightful adolescent, or as a representative of the plight of Jews during World War II, the one word that we most closely associate with her is diary. Anne Frank received that now-famous diary on June 12, 1942 for her thirteenth birthday. Had she survived the Holocaust, Anne Frank would be 85 today.

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Topics: Teaching, Holocaust and Human Behavior, Critical Thinking, Social and Emotional Learning

A Tapestry of Truth

Posted by Stephanie Carrillo on January 8, 2014

In the first week of December, I went to see a block panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt displayed in the lobby of West Hollywood City Hall. It had been a long time since I'd seen any portion of the quilt and I wanted to pay tribute to this powerful memorial and be reminded of the important stories the quilt holds. There's something to be said for seeing the quilt in person. Up close, you can appreciate the details- the colors, textures, stitching, and fabrics interwoven to create a permanent acknowledgement of a life cut short. At the same time, to see the largeness of a single block panel is to get an inkling of the enormity and the scope of the tragedy that this quilt documents.

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Topics: Social and Emotional Learning, Judgement and Legacy

What are we reading?

Posted by Mary Hendra on December 13, 2013

Educators are always reading, aren't we? As you wind down your semester and perhaps think about the nerdy friends on your shopping lists, we thought we'd share what we're reading in the Los Angeles office of Facing History and Ourselves.

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Topics: Critical Thinking, Social and Emotional Learning

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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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