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.
Category: Future of History
A History and Social Studies blog
“Imperative means the same thing as important, so why can’t we just say important?” asked Adele, a student in Lauren Brown’s US history class. How do we help kids learn the academic vocabulary they need to enrich writing and deepen understanding? Brown means to find out.
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.
Grading never goes away. But what if we approach it as a form of personal PD? Teacher Lauren Brown traces how a history assignment evolved over four years as she paid close attention to what stymied her 8th graders and adapted her instruction to support their learning.
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.
The Chicago district where Lauren Brown teaches has been wrestling with issues of equity centering around race with new urgency in recent years. She believes part of the answer is found in revising and deepening the curriculum and teaching Black history throughout the year.
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?
American Indian or Native American? Latina or Latino or Latinx? African American or Black? History teacher Lauren Brown shares activities and resources she uses to help students understand the background and history of such naming choices and why it’s important to teach.
History is not just the causes of the Civil War, reasons for industrial growth, or dates associated with “big events” and major characters. Lauren Brown works to help her middle schoolers understand it’s about ordinary, often archetypal lives of human beings much like us.