How should we teach US History? Is it mostly about caring? Or critical thinking? What about historical knowledge? Teacher Lauren Brown stands firm for content. “If we’ve learned anything from the culture wars this year it’s that too many Americans do not know their history.”
Author: Lauren S. Brown
With eighth grade graduation over, history teacher Lauren Brown will devote her summer break to real self care, concentrating on rejuvenation and resisting the temptation to glance back at the pandemic year or look ahead to anticipated challenges. Finally, it’s time to relax.
After a year of teaching to blank Zoom squares, Lauren Brown reflects on pre-pandemic days and the rich, face-to-face experiences she always had with kids. Will her profound sense of loss change in May, with all her students back in physical class? Will school feel like spring? September?
As U.S. history teacher Lauren Brown prepared for her classes to resume following winter break, she considered what she would say to her students about the Capitol riots. “To say nothing says way too much.” See her full discussion of teaching ideas for now and later.
It took the pandemic to convince Lauren Brown to finally check out Edpuzzle as a teaching tool. She’s quickly become a fan. Whether you are teaching live, online or in a hybrid model, Edpuzzle can be a helpful way to engage students in video content that you select or create.
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.
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.