Social studies teacher Sarah Cooper improved classroom conversation and debate when she let students select and then rate current events articles as “super,” “okay,” or “not that great for discussion.” Cooper shares her process and some samples from each category.
Author: Sarah Cooper
Discussing political news in class continues to feel like “walking on glass barefoot,” says Sarah Cooper. She’s drawn toward humorous interpretations of current events to reduce tensions. After some trial and error, Cooper uses four criteria for video selection.
With post-election “vitriol” just below the surface in her classes, Sarah Cooper employs of a familiar history teaching tool: shifting perspective. First students discuss the Hamilton cast’s statement to VP-elect Mike Pence – then Jefferson’s slave ownership.
In the wake of the election, Sarah Cooper recalls that teaching MS history means teaching identity. “It’s our job to give examples. It’s our students’ job to internalize what they agree with, set aside what they don’t, and grow into the human beings we know they can become.”
The idea of asking students to create eye-catching, source-rich websites is appealing, writes history teacher Sarah Cooper. But are the two weeks spent learning the tech and developing content a good investment of class time? She reflects on both sides of the issue.
This fall Sarah Cooper is taking her usual current events unit in a fresh direction using a favorite strategy: layering news from today and yesterday. To demonstrate, Cooper draws on everything from suffragette “campaign” quotes to a John Oliver clickbait tirade.
Sarah Cooper’s spring U.S. history classes provided a dress rehearsal for the upcoming fall election season. Here are six classroom-tested strategies she plans to use during Constitution studies as her middle schoolers experience America’s often volatile political process first-hand.
In Sarah Cooper’s never-ending effort to reach beyond textbook basics, she sometimes asks students to read a selection from a scholarly journal article or popular history book. Carefully sharing a JSTOR piece on Sherman’s March helped students grasp “total war.”
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.”
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.