Overcoming the sense of intimidation she’d felt in the face of the US Constitution’s immensity and importance, Sarah Cooper has found fresh ways to draw her 8th graders into the power and complexity of our divided government during this year’s remote learning.
Author: Sarah Cooper
Here’s how Sarah Cooper taught her 8th grade social studies class today, as the nation went about determining a presidential winner. Unlike the day after the 2016 election, “I’m feeling not so much shock as the need to shore up my teaching and once again dig into difficult topics.”
After a spring of Zooming with established classes, Sarah Cooper finds new challenges using virtual breakout rooms this fall. Having to sort groups of unfamiliar students really makes a difference. She shares which breakout strategies still work and what needs extra care.
Once Sarah Cooper’s 8th graders have finished their research papers on historical reformers, she has them to work in project groups to imagine which current cause their reformers might realistically support. Unexpected match-ups include Huey Newton and Sandra Day O’Connor!
With her eighth graders’ online history podcast project now complete, Sarah Cooper shares six takeaways that have helped her imagine not only how to improve this assignment in future iterations, but how she can continue to grow as a teacher facilitating remote learning.
In response to the sudden shift to remote learning, history teacher Sarah Cooper has jettisoned her usual fourth-quarter Civil War unit and launched an opportunity for her 8th graders to create podcasts on challenging events in US history. Here’s the project in process.
Now that her interaction with students is limited to a two-dimensional screen, Sarah Cooper is experiencing what many middle school teachers must feel each day of virtual learning – she misses the physicality of her kids’ messy, evolving, nonlinear growing-up process.
Recently Sarah Cooper did two lessons with her eighth grade history and civics students that afterward made her stand back and ask: Why did that work out so well? Here she analyzes the women’s suffrage lessons to uncover the key elements of success for future reflection.
Writing a letter to a politician is about as “civic” an assignment as we can do within our classroom walls, and it feels so relevant in our polarized political climate. After 3 years of tweaking her project, teacher Sarah Cooper shares tips to boost the response rate.
Sarah Cooper is always searching for ways to strengthen her eighth grade unit on the Constitution. This year she deepened her exploration of iCivics and found visually appealing readings and games her students enjoyed. She added sparkle with video and other fun activities.