As Lauren Brown heads back to school for a year like no other, she considers how to combine academics and SEL support across the content areas. Along with activities for the first days of virtual or physical class, she offers three guidelines to engage kids all year.
Author: Lauren S. Brown
The Chicago district where Lauren Brown teaches has wrestled with issues of equity centering around race with new urgency in recent years. Amid the pandemic and the rising Anti-Racist Movement, she believes part of the answer is deepening curriculum and teaching Black history throughout the year.
The pandemic has compelled Lauren Brown to draw on her answers to the core questions of teaching. The best she can offer her history students is clarity – to teach what she believes matters and why. “Because if it matters, my students will care. And if they care, they will learn.”
The global pandemic “will be in the history books, won’t it?” Absolutely, 8th grade teacher Lauren Brown told her students. She’s devised a simple home assignment – students create a ‘primary source’ for future historians by jotting down their questions, concerns and observations. See her suggested prompts to get kids started.
“Imperative means the same thing as important, so why can’t we just say important?” asked Adele, a student in Lauren Brown’s US history class. How do we help kids learn the academic vocabulary they need to enrich writing and deepen understanding? Brown means to find out.
Grading never goes away. But what if we approach it as a form of personal PD? Teacher Lauren Brown traces how a history assignment evolved over four years as she paid close attention to what stymied her 8th graders and adapted her instruction to support their learning.
American Indian or Native American? Latina or Latino or Latinx? African American or Black? History teacher Lauren Brown shares activities and resources she uses to help students understand the background and history of such naming choices and why it’s important to teach.
History is not just the causes of the Civil War, reasons for industrial growth, or dates associated with “big events” and major characters. Lauren Brown works to help her middle schoolers understand it’s about ordinary, often archetypal lives of human beings much like us.
That day you left your notes at home. Or taught a stupendous lesson that left kids bored. Or found a student’s super essay was all plagiarized. Or arranged a special speaker only to learn about a conflicting event. Middle school teacher Lauren Brown offers solace and a mood lifting idea.
Linking one event or person to later developments opens history students up to seeing how pieces of the massive puzzle of the past fit together and how the issues we face today developed. Lauren Brown shares several engaging strategies to help make those connections.