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.

December 9, 2021

In Conversation: Identity, Memoir, and Storytelling

Please join The New-York Historical Society and Facing History and Ourselves for a conversation with Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know, a memoir of growing up as a transracial adoptee and of Chung's search for the truth about herself and her Korean birth parents. Chung will explore how we construct our identities through the stories we are told and that we tell ourselves, as we seek an answer to the question, “Who am I?”

December 14, 2021

Choices in Little Rock Office Hours for CPS 8th Grade Educators

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 and answer questions you may have. This meetup is for teachers who have already participated in the professional development, or the self-paced workshop.

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