Witnesses to History Series

Use memoir to engage students' minds and hearts.

This study guide series helps students access the past through the voices of real people recalling experiences from their youth. Through memoir, students connect with pivotal moments in history in a way that is emotionally compelling and builds a better understanding of the impact of these moments on individual lives.

Our approach to memoir develops students’ literacy skills; promotes historical analysis and understanding of some of the darkest moments in history; and fosters empathy, perspective-taking, and other social-emotional competencies.

Throughout the series, students will:

  • Explore the text: Text-based questions deepen students’ understanding of the memoir and prompt reflection on its themes.
  • Connect to the central question: By returning to a prompt in each section of the memoir, students trace how their thinking has developed and deepened over the course of their study.
  • Pursue deeper understanding: Through writing, reflection, and participation, students hone their literary analysis skills, develop a richer understanding of the historical context, and gain insight into additional perspectives on the events taking place in the memoir.

Upcoming Professional Development

Workshop
Workshop
New York
February 7, 2020

Teaching Japanese Internment Using Memoir

Empower students to identify injustice with a literary and historical examination of Japanese American Incarceration during World War II. We will feature Facing History and Ourselves’ new educator’s guide to Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston’s memoir Farewell to Manzanar.

Self-paced Workshop
Self-paced Workshop

Teaching Red Scarf Girl

This interactive self-paced workshop helps teachers develop a customized plan for teaching Red Scarf Girl informed by Facing History’s approach.

Workshop
Workshop
Illinois
March 26, 2020

Choices in Little Rock: An Approach to Teaching the Civil Rights Movement

Rescheduled from November 21st - 22nd 2019

Facing History and Ourselves invites CPS 8th grade humanities educators to participate in Choices in Little Rock as part of the Chicago Public Schools Curriculum Project. Learn more here.

Workshop
Workshop
Illinois
February 11, 2020

Choices in Little Rock: An Approach to Teaching the Civil Rights Movement

Facing History and Ourselves invites CPS 8th grade humanities educators to  to participate in Choices in Little Rock as part of the Chicago Public Schools Curriculum Project.

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