Sarah Cooper’s 8th graders recently attempted to create a “consensus document” on U.S. gun laws. She describes the research and discussion process, then shares what she and the students learned about consensus building when issues are highly controversial.
Author: Sarah Cooper
Current events discussions can be “a litany of disappointment” if they focus only on the dreary headlines of the day. Fortunately, writes social studies teacher Sarah Cooper, “sometimes students bring in articles that make us all laugh and think and give us hope.”
The debate about whether to teach history thematically or chronologically still captivates & frustrates Sarah Cooper. As she considers her time-hopping unit on federalism, she wonders which approach can best inspire students to apply more history to their lives.
FDR’s “Four Freedoms” speech in 1941 versus Donald Trump’s debate performances this year: meaningful connection or unfair comparison? Sarah Cooper describes her recent lesson and presents her new ground rules for history and current event mashups.
Wondering how – with enough learning time – she could reach individual 8th grade U.S. history students where they are “most curious & invested,” teacher Sarah Cooper considers the breadth of current events resources and connections she could suggest.
Sarah Cooper emerged from her summer study of Emancipation thinking about the surprises and challenges presented by primary sources. She explores several options that could help students understand sources with antiquated language and complex structure.
Social studies teacher Sarah Cooper has found it “heartening to talk about the news every day” with history students this school year and wonders about activities that might engage next year’s kids even more deeply in the important questions facing the world.
What do middle school students gain and lose in a thematic history curriculum? Sarah Cooper relays her experiences with both theme and chronology approaches, finding strengths in each, as national standards shift from facts and dates to skills and big questions.
Sarah Cooper leaves her MS classroom behind for a few hours to experience life as a history student again. Her online course proves calming and stimulating, challenging and refreshing. She sees how content area PD can strengthen her classroom practice.
Like many history teachers, Sarah Cooper begins her classes with a current events discussion. Sometimes it can be harrowing, “especially when acts of terror occupy the stage.” She reflects on ways teachers can help students cope through positive action.