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.
Category: Future of History
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.
In a recent post, Sarah Cooper wrote about her fears surrounding a new current-events project – her 8th graders creating spoken poetry videos on issues of interest to them. Here she reviews the experience and its power to create community as it engaged her students.
There’s no perfect teaching recipe that balances patriotism and civic responsibility, says middle school history teacher Lauren Brown. But if educators attempt to ignore the low points in America’s past, they’ll insult students’ intelligence and lose their trust.