After a year of teaching to blank Zoom squares, Lauren Brown reflects on pre-pandemic days and the rich, face-to-face experiences she always had with kids. Will her profound sense of loss change in May, with all her students back in physical class? Will school feel like spring? September?
Tagged: Future of History
Overcoming the sense of intimidation she’d felt in the face of the US Constitution’s immensity and importance, Sarah Cooper has found fresh ways to draw her 8th graders into the power and complexity of our divided government during this year’s remote learning.
It took the pandemic to convince Lauren Brown to finally check out Edpuzzle as a teaching tool. She’s quickly become a fan. Whether you are teaching live, online or in a hybrid model, Edpuzzle can be a helpful way to engage students in video content that you select or create.
After a spring of Zooming with established classes, Sarah Cooper finds new challenges using virtual breakout rooms this fall. Having to sort groups of unfamiliar students really makes a difference. She shares which breakout strategies still work and what needs extra care.
As Lauren Brown heads back to school for a year like no other, she considers how to combine academics and SEL support across the content areas. Along with activities for the first days of virtual or physical class, she offers three guidelines to engage kids all year.
Once Sarah Cooper’s 8th graders have finished their research papers on historical reformers, she has them to work in project groups to imagine which current cause their reformers might realistically support. Unexpected match-ups include Huey Newton and Sandra Day O’Connor!
The Chicago district where Lauren Brown teaches has wrestled with issues of equity centering around race with new urgency in recent years. Amid the pandemic and the rising Anti-Racist Movement, she believes part of the answer is deepening curriculum and teaching Black history throughout the year.
With her eighth graders’ online history podcast project now complete, Sarah Cooper shares six takeaways that have helped her imagine not only how to improve this assignment in future iterations, but how she can continue to grow as a teacher facilitating remote learning.
The pandemic has compelled Lauren Brown to draw on her answers to the core questions of teaching. The best she can offer her history students is clarity – to teach what she believes matters and why. “Because if it matters, my students will care. And if they care, they will learn.”
Now that her interaction with students is limited to a two-dimensional screen, Sarah Cooper is experiencing what many middle school teachers must feel each day of virtual learning – she misses the physicality of her kids’ messy, evolving, nonlinear growing-up process.