Moving current events front and center has been one of the most influential paradigm shifts in Sarah Cooper’s years of teaching U.S. History. How does she find the time? Learn three simple ways to help students stay attuned to the news and make historical connections.
Category: Future of History
A History and Social Studies blog
When Lauren Brown left her history classroom and became a teacher educator, she always shared a page of advice when pre-service teachers finished her course. Three years after returning to middle school, Brown updates her tips with fresh insights from the front lines.
This year, as 8th graders at Sarah Cooper’s school developed their community impact projects, she added a twist to the required (but seldom read) 300-word research display. Intriguing quotes, many with engaging graphics, increased student investment and audience attention.
As students research US history for Sarah Cooper, they are used to trying search terms on a screen. But when assignments require them to wander the stacks for books, sometimes they don’t know where to begin. Answering their questions has given her ideas to share here.
In teaching history, how much weight should we give to Logos (the facts), Pathos (the human impact), and Ethos (the morality) as we try to engage students in the meaning of great events? Middle school history teacher Lauren Brown reflects on her WWII/Holocaust unit.
Sarah Cooper’s eighth graders take a “Bread and Roses” metaphor from the Progressive Era to the fight for the ERA – making insightful comparisons Cooper had not anticipated. “Giving students room to make their own connections meant that they could teach me,” she says.
Lauren Brown and her middle schoolers are in the sweet spot of the school year – settled after the holidays and with spring break in the distance – a perfect place to deepen learning built on established relationships and student skills developed over past months. Snow days help, too.
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.
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.
Lauren Brown’s eighth grade classes are undergoing a “writing revolution” since she discovered the ideas and strategies of Judith Hochman. Thanks to writing templates and explicit instruction, students are beginning to write more complex answers to history questions.