Recently Sarah Cooper’s history classes debated whether the electoral college should be abolished. Reflecting on the weeklong unit, Cooper concludes she “misstepped” in several ways. Learn what she plans to do differently next year, starting with a fresh debate topic.
Author: Sarah Cooper
Each day in Sarah Cooper’s 8th grade U.S. history class, they begin with a 5-minute discussion of current events. The sheer number of mass attacks in the United States this semester has pummeled Sarah and her students. She ponders how she and other teachers can continue to respond.
In a recent post, Sarah Cooper wrote about her fears surrounding a new current-events project – her 8th graders creating spoken poetry videos on issues of interest to them. Here she reviews the experience and its power to create community as it engaged her students.
History teacher Sarah Cooper is enthusiastically barreling into the year with a totally untried project. It asks eighth graders to research a current issue in the news that they’re passionate about, then write and film their own spoken word poem. What could go wrong?
A history teacher’s role is to transmute history into stories and lessons that engage and inform students. Sarah Cooper shares a think-aloud “wondering” about ways to incorporate some of her summer professional reading into middle school history classes this year.
Amid a near-universal celebration of collaborative, interactive work as a 21st century reality and ideal, teacher Sarah Cooper investigates something we so often forget in our classrooms and our schools: the need for quiet space and the challenges of achieving it.
Showing short video clips to her history students is easy for Sarah Cooper to justify, but with full-length movies she is more cautious about the time investment. Here she shares three films that make the cut: Iron Jawed Angels, Glory, and All the President’s Men.
Bit by bit, during each Friday’s 43-minute current events session, Sarah Cooper’s eighth graders come closer to a democratic classroom culture that students really own – through their ideas, through their questions, through their wondering how the world works.
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.
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.