Near the end of Sarah Cooper’s unit on the film Glory, she wondered what her 8th grade history students found most interesting. Read about the “silent conversation” she facilitated to help them replicate the authentic adult experience of “browsing history.”
Category: Future of History
Today’s history students need to include evaluation, analysis, and synthesis in writing assignments, going well beyond the traditional reporting of facts. Shara Peters and Jody Passanisi share their methods for helping students improve their writing skills.
After a decade of forgoing the activity, Sarah Cooper recently revisited hand-drawn concept maps as a means to further engage her 8th graders in US reform movements. Here she shares ideas she’ll use to deepen the successful assignment next time.
Project-based learning in history class can be challenging as teachers juggle a content-laden curriculum and limited class time. Shara and Jody and their tech colleague Doug Hinko set out to find practical ways to make PBL work with a unit on medieval China.
Sarah Cooper’s 8th graders recently attempted to create a “consensus document” on U.S. gun laws. She describes the research and discussion process, then shares what she and the students learned about consensus building when issues are highly controversial.
When U.S. history teachers Jody Passanisi and Shara Peters celebrate Presidents’ Day, all 43 presidents are featured. Eighth graders research and assume the identity of an assigned president, then campaign in costume for reelection among 6th & 7th grade “voters.”
Current events discussions can be “a litany of disappointment” if they focus only on the dreary headlines of the day. Fortunately, writes social studies teacher Sarah Cooper, “sometimes students bring in articles that make us all laugh and think and give us hope.”
A struggling student’s recent exclamation that she UNDERSTOOD a history lesson confirmed to Shara Peters that her new school’s grading policy improves teaching and student achievement by shifting the emphasis from earning a higher grade to achieving mastery.
What works to help 7th graders understand the US Constitution? Former HS teacher Lauren S. Brown got a crash course in teaching the document as she returned to full-time teaching this fall. Slowing the pace, using the primary source, and blending in current events all helped.
The debate about whether to teach history thematically or chronologically still captivates & frustrates Sarah Cooper. As she considers her time-hopping unit on federalism, she wonders which approach can best inspire students to apply more history to their lives.