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.
Author: Sarah Cooper
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.
At its best, annotation starts a dialogue between our English and History students and thoughtful writers past and present. But that doesn’t mean adolescents are eager to do it. Sarah Cooper shares ideas and online resources to make the process a true learning experience.
Assigning The Hate U Give as a summer read for history and English eighth graders seemed like a slam dunk to Sarah Cooper and her colleague. Looking back, she weighs the experience to better understand how she can prepare to teach, and then lean into, difficult topics.
Limiting feedback to final drafts means lots of teacher work and little student learning. What if, Sarah Cooper wondered, she could give students enough scaffolding – using an outline organizer and peer response – that their rough drafts included everything she wanted?
How can history students use resource books more effectively in their research papers? Taking a cue from a staff meeting, Sarah Cooper devised a handout to help 8th graders quickly scope out a nonfiction book and find stories and quotes to enliven their papers. It worked!
Returning from the 2018 NCSS conference, Sarah Cooper reignites her US history unit on reformers to deepen student understanding about historical, current and future activism. Learn more about the 10 Changemaker Questions she used to create a sense of action in her classes.
It’s at the precise moment when students are bombarded by facts, whether historical or current, that we need to be especially vigilant, writes American history and current events teacher Sarah Cooper, paraphrasing historian Sam Wineburg. Sifting through sources has become a life skill.
Sam Wineburg’s new book Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone) is a game changer, writes Sarah Cooper. Here she focuses on his ideas for teaching students to evaluate websites laterally in addition to vertically, in the manner of professional fact checkers.
While photos and texts can bring alive an issue one medium at a time, reality-based comics have the power to drop us into a story both visually and verbally. Sarah Cooper’s eighth grade students learned that lesson when they followed the trek of Syrian refugee Mohammad.