Facing History and Ourselves

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Bottom Line

These valuable materials empower students to understand and address difficult ethical choices -- past and present.

How Can I Teach with This Tool?

The site has an extensive collection of powerful curricula that teachers can use as-is or adapt to their students’ needs. Lessons tend to be one to two hours long and units can last a few weeks, so teachers should take time to plan and think about the best ways to integrate these materials into their classroom. Most lessons are designed for whole-class instruction, but supplementary materials can be used for independent research and review.

What Is It?

Facing History and Ourselves is a free website with resources for teaching about and combating hatred and bigotry. The website has free lesson plans, units, resource collections, videos, and podcasts, and the materials here are interdisciplinary as well as Common Core-aligned. For example, the social studies unit, Choices in Little Rock, explores civic choices and includes supplementary writing strategies and prompts.

Is It Good for Learning?

Facing History and Ourselves offers engaging curriculum resources that are intended to help students become socially responsible adults. Studies have shown that these materials are effective in reducing prejudice, encouraging tolerance, increasing knowledge, and improving academic skills. As an example, Facing History’s core unit on the Holocaust, Decision-Making in Times of Injustice, begins with students creating a class contract to foster a respectful environment. The unit continues with an examination of the choices made by those living in Germany during the WWII era. As students study the history, an emphasis is placed on helping them build personal connections, as seen with the “Where I’m From” poetry activity.
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