Here’s how Sarah Cooper taught her 8th grade social studies class today, as the nation went about determining a presidential winner. Unlike the day after the 2016 election, “I’m feeling not so much shock as the need to shore up my teaching and once again dig into difficult topics.”
Category: Current Events
After three hate crimes in one week in late October, 8th grade teacher Sarah Cooper came in on Monday ready to talk, “to imagine how we could react in healing ways.” Yet, as her first class began, “I realized this conversation would be different. As a Jew, I felt shaken.”
Current events add immediacy to history class, but with crowded curricula and the challenges of the political climate, Sarah Cooper is fine-tuning the news discussions in her 8th grade classes. She shares several stories and explains what makes them right for fall 2018.
As schools reopen, Lauren Brown revisits the essentials of history teaching in a time when authoritarianism is in the air. Central are not only caring about individuals in the next generation but also being ‘keepers of the meaning’ when established values are challenged.
When Sarah Cooper launches an op-ed writing project, students respond best if they have wide latitude to choose a topic, picking an issue that sparks a personal connection. Beyond research and writing, the highlight for kids is sharing their op-eds with an audience.
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.
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.
In the wake of the election, Sarah Cooper recalls that teaching MS history means teaching identity. “It’s our job to give examples. It’s our students’ job to internalize what they agree with, set aside what they don’t, and grow into the human beings we know they can become.”
Jody Passanisi, an eighth grade teacher and author of “History Class Revisited,” uses a three-step scaffolding process to help students raise their awareness between events currently taking place and the historical events they study in the social studies curriculum.