“Powering Up” Facing History’s Unit on the Reconstruction Era

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 27, 2016

Malia Warner has taught at Beverly Hills High School for 11 years, and is a member of the Los Angeles Teacher Leadership Team for Facing History and Ourselves. In 2015, she participated in our "powering up" project with her United States History class. She describes her experience.

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Topics: Reconstruction, Teaching, Using Technology, Powering Up Facing History Lessons, Tech Innovation

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

Humanizing Online Engagement

Posted by Mary Hendra on February 26, 2016

As part of our "powering up" series, we wanted to share a collective inquiry into bringing a humanized approach to online engagement. Adopting technology isn't just about finding fun new tools, but how we create new models for interaction and how we use those tools for our larger goals. In Facing History's case, this means how we can use tech tools to create a more engaged, compassionate citizenry. It starts with how we engage with each other, face-to-face and online.

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Topics: Using Technology, Powering Up Facing History Lessons, Tech Innovation

Padlet Response - How Do You Stay Engaged?

Posted by Mary Hendra on February 12, 2016

A few months ago, I posed the question, "how do you stay engaged? in a blog post reflecting on current events. One group of teachers engaged with this question - and each other - through an online forum callled Padlet.

Our New York office is engaged in an effort to bring together Facing History educators from different schools across the region in Professional Learning Communities, through a grant from the Booth Ferris Foundation. The PLCs meet monthly, virtually or in-person, so that Facing History teachers can share best practices, reflect on pedagogy and instruction, and explore new resources. In a recent discussion focused on helping students connect to the real world, they discussed our Learn+Teach+Share blog post by using Padlet.

As part of our on-going series this spring on "powering up" Facing History lessons, we share their Padlet response below.

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Using Technology, Powering Up Facing History Lessons

StoryCorps and the Great Thanksgiving Listen with Facing History in Los Angeles

Posted by Mary Hendra on November 1, 2015

StoryCorps's mobile booth is in Los Angeles this month, which makes us appreciate all the more the power of stories. I'm always amazed by the depth and breadth of stories a simple conversation with another person can yield. 

Here's one of the animated StoryCorps shorts I found recently that is quickly becoming a favorite:

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Topics: Identity, Los Angeles, Community Event, Using Technology

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

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

Top 5 Posts of 2014

Posted by Mary Hendra on December 24, 2014

2014 has been a great year for our blog, and we appreciate all of the writers, guests, commentors, partners, and inspiration that has been part of Learn+Teach+Share! So a big "THANK YOU" for being part of this community, with a snapshot of the top posts this year - as evidenced by page views and comments.

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Topics: Safe Schools, In the news, Using Technology

Student Agency, Student Voice, and the Maker Movement

Posted by Mary Hendra on October 23, 2014

As October is Connected Educator Month, we are pleased to announce our partnership with Educator Innovator! Educator Innovator, powered by the National Writing Project, provides an online "meet-up" for educators who are re-imagining learning. Educator Innovator is both a blog and a growing community of educators, partners and supporters. We know we're with the right partner, because in this month focused on "Connected Education," the theme chosen by Educator Innovator as its key focus is:

Student Agency, Student Voice, and the Maker Movement

"Powerful learning occurs when youth, driven by their own interests, are supported in being creators and not just consumers of knowledge." We agree. And, it makes me think of the story behind a young group of "makers" we worked with several years ago.

I love the project, too, but the story behind it is so special to me!

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Bullying, Student Work, Upstander, Using Technology, Tech Innovation


Posted by Mary Hendra on September 30, 2014

Have you ever taken a "selfie"? We all get a good laugh these days about selfies - the candid taken with a celebrity or in a striked pose - but could taking selfies help students dive deeper into the complexity of their own and others' identities?

A few months ago I saw the short film, "Selfie" produced by Dove, and I still think about it. It examines the way taking and posting selfies on social media can change our definition of beauty and transform our sense of our own beauty. (Click here for an article on the film, or watch it below.)

I don't know about you, but when I was a teenager, the LAST thing I wanted was a picture of myself. I hated how I looked in pictures. My parents had a plethora of photos of the back of my head as a result of my quick reaction to a camera being raised around me.

So, "Selfie" got me questioning:

  • How many times, if ever, did a young woman in one of my classes put "beautiful" on her identity chart? (It was rare if ever!)
  • Does our self-identification as beautiful or not impact our sense of belonging?
  • If others' description of us as beautiful contributes to being accepted, can redefining "beauty" also expand group acceptance?
  • The quick blame for almost unattainable standards of beauty often goes to corporations (Barbie, cosmetics, clothing, plastic surgery), but to what extent do mothers pass it on to their daughters, sisters to sisters, peers to peers, and so forth?
  • After so many generations of female beauty being defined by professional photographers. magazines, and cosmetic companies, is it truly possible that the democratic nature of social media and self-taken, impromptu photographs can redefine our standards of beauty? If so, "choosing to participate" could be as simple as... taking a selfie?
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Topics: Identity, Teaching Strategy, Using Technology

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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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