Category Archives: EARCOS


Confronting Genocide: A Failure in Humanity (CHOICES) Shanna and Tony Hurt

This session dealt with ideas on how to effectively educate students about genocide using the Choices curriculum. Within the curriculum documents there are loads of resources that help educators to discuss genocides, including:  Armenian, Bosnia Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur and Cambodia. The resource package also has the background to how genocides were defined, maps of different areas around the world where genocides, and the current state of the genocide policy.  The presenters challenged me to think about ways in which educators can discuss these topics with students.I have uploaded their documents to my google docs for those interested.

There were several different activities that I felt would help with student learning and understanding of topics.  One of the first activities that we did was to rank different values: freedom, equality, education, democracy, and justice. I feel this would be a great activity at the start of the unit to see what the student’s prior opinion is, then finish with this activity to see what if and how their perspectives changed. In addition to just ranking the words at the end of the unit I would ask them to explain why they feel that their opinions have changed. I was thinking that I could use survey monkey for students to poll their opinions.

The final activity we looked at in the session was to role play different perspectives on genocide and other countries taking action to stop the genocide. Students would work in groups, and be provided with some facts on their perspective; they would then need to present their case on what their position is and be prepared to defend their ideas. The video created by choices also helps to explain why role play in important in our classrooms.

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In this activity students were not provided with a choice of perspectives, which would cause them to look at an issue from a view that they would not normal take. Students are challenged to look at an issue from multiple view point’s besides the one that they have. Role playing activities often give students a real life context to their learning instead of just making them learn about how an issue can be understood. There is also an audience for the students to share their learning with besides just the teacher which makes it more meaningful.


At the end of March I was able to attend the EARCOS conference in Kota Kinabaul, I have created some blog posted based on a few of the conferences I attend.

Revolutionary Voices: Integrating Historical Inquiry and  Narrative Writing

This session was presented by two men from ISB who taught year 8. Their presentation discussed how they took a unit and made it “better”. The unit was on different revolutions and the significant concept was change. The unit outlined new online resources, teaching strategies and activities for me to reflection on and integrates into my classroom teaching practice. Their wiki page is Revolutionary Voices


The first resource was “Thinking like a historian” This books challenges students to think critical about history from multiple perspectives and look at primary sources in order to help develop their own ideas. I believe using the tools in this book does help students become better inquiries, as they are able to create their own ideas based on what they think and are able to back up their ideas using primary data instead of the same sites they are use to working with, like google search and Wikipedia.I would like to find a resource similar to this that is free online! One download video that I found was Historical Thinking Matters.

The some of the activities they discussed were to allow the students to role play the different perspectives in history. They felt this type of exercise helped student to have more meaning and a deeper understanding of the topic, and students felt that they were able to become a part  of history, instead of only memorizing facts about that person or situations. Research shows that students are able to grasp issues on a deeper level when they put themselves in the situations of the people or time period they are inquiring into. Some examples are also found on this blogs  site.


Another interesting activity the presenters had their students do was to select two different perspectives on an issue and keep a journal of that that person’s life was like. Students used the information they found to create a journal. There was not a specific criterion that the students needed to follow, but merely they needed to express how someone would have felt during this period.

This presentation also highlighted the importance of integrating course together; they were specifically talking about English and History. Thus many of their tasks involved a writing component in a historical context, hence the journal writing activity.

The final assessment task was for the kids to show their understanding of the entire concept of revolutions in whatever way they wanted. In my humanities class we often ask the students to show understand of the unit question in method of their choice. However, as the presenters pointed out, differentiation can be difficult to assess. As teachers will receive a multitude of different presentation formats and they all communicate a different, but slightly similar idea. Again when applying this to my teaching, I often create rubrics that outline what the concept is that the students need to explain and how express their understanding is up to them. Often times, creative students excel at this type of task, but those who think linear/logical are frustrated with the idea. Regardless these kids do come up with a great way to express their ideas, but it is more “traditional” as they often will write an essay of what they think instead of drawing a picture or creating a cartoon. Either way, in my opinion they have been able to demonstration their learning in a format that best works for their thinking.

Overall this workshop “Revolutionary Voices” really helped me to think about my teaching practices. I realized how I can better integrate my humanities and English course more effectively, learned new activities both online and assessed.