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

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.

November 17, 2020

Meetup: CPS 8th Grade Educators using Choices in Little Rock

Join us for a one hour zoom meetup to be in community with other teachers who are preparing to teach Choices in Little Rock. We will spend time discussing implementation with an experienced Facing History educator, talk about modifications you may want to consider for learning from home, and answer questions you may have. This meetup is for teachers who have already participated in the in person 2 day professional development, or the online self paced course.

New York
January 20, 2021

Teaching Memoir Series: Identity, History, and Choices

This three part series will draw on Facing History’s Witnesses to History Collection, to explore ways to engage youth in thinking about identity, reflecting on the impact of history on individuals and groups, and analyzing adolescent choices. The third session will feature Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know.

This workshop is intended for middle and high school teachers in the New York/New Jersey area. NY participants will receive CTLE hours and NJ participants can get PD hours upon completion.

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Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.