Marsha enters her fifth year at The Cooper School. Raised in Charleston, Marsha received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from The College of Charleston. Marsha has taught for eleven years in both the public and private schools. She delights in fostering a warm classroom environment where children can thrive and express themselves comfortably. Marsha enjoys hula hooping, crafting, relaxing at the beach, and finding treasures at flea markets.

Read Marsha’s Testimonial.

We Persist! April 18, 2019

One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Treasure

In Art, students created found object collages. In honor of Earth Day, they upcycled items that would typically end up in the trash can, such as wine corks, bottle caps and nails, to create visually appealing, eclectic self-portrait collages. This really makes us think about the identity and functionality of different objects and encourages us to see and be inspired by the art that is all around us! This is something fun that you can do at home with natural found materials like tree bark, sticks and leaves, or with common household objects, fabric you no longer have a use for, or even with small toys your children don’t play with anymore!

Character Study

In both Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop, we have been focusing on characters. Using the Mr. Putter and Tabby books as a mentor texts to look closely at details about characters that authors convey in both subtle and direct ways and analyzing what the characters are trying to teach us, 1st Graders are developing their our own unique characters in their original realistic fiction stories. They used their realistic fiction writing checklist to honestly assess their writing and find ways to make it stronger. They made an effort to show, rather than tell, through techniques such as dialogue.  They inserted transition words and phrases, such as at the beginning, meanwhile, and finally into their writing, checked their spelling, and added necessary punctuation and grammar. Lastly, they made sure their endings really stayed true to the heart of their stories and that all problems were resolved at the end.

Keep On, Keepin’ On!

In Morning Meeting this week, we introduced a new social emotional concept-persistence. As we look back to the beginning of 1st Grade when we first met your children, we are reminded of how much they have grown as readers. Every time one of them told us, “I can’t read this book,” we answered with, “You can’t read this book yet, but you will be able to if you keep on practicing and using your strategies.” And you know what? Now, most of those books that were so hard at the beginning of the school year, are too easy now. What a beautiful example of persistence! Bravo, persistent scholars! Similarly, we have seen examples of this on the playground and at our swim lessons. If you find it difficult sometimes to resist the urge to rescue them when they’re dealing with frustration, know that you are not alone, but through struggle comes growth, and we have seen countless examples of that this year with this special group!

Important Dates:

Friday, April 19th-Monday, April 22nd-TCS Closed for April Break

Tuesday, April 23rd-Study Trip to see Flat Stanley at the Dock Street Theatre

Thursday, April 25th-TCS Black Tie and Blue Jeans Spring Auction 6pm

Friday, April 26th & Friday, May 3rd-remaining swim lessons

Friday, May 10th- 11:30 Dismissal

Friday, May 10th– Pass It On, 5-6pm at the Scottish Rite

Changing the World Begins With Us! April 12, 2019

Writing for Change

On Tuesday, April 9th, the entire Cooper School community came together to write tribute poems connected to the social justice cause we will support this year for Pass It On. A few weeks back, students voted on several environmental organizations after hearing a brief description researched by their peers about each. Earthwatch was the clear winner. Earthwatch combines volunteer opportunities for individuals from all walks of life with scientific research expeditions to conserve wildlife and the environment. TCS students in Kindergarten through 5th Grade wrote passionate poems about protecting our seas, our wildlife, and about how we can reduce the amount of pollution we create and make a positive impact on our world. From these poems, our poetry committee will select one winning tribute poem. All of the money collected at Pass It On will be donated to Earthwatch.

Fluid Dynamics

In Science students are studying the properties of liquids by observing everyday household liquids, such as cooking oil, fabric softener, and body wash. Liquids can be transparent, translucent, viscous, foamy, bubbly, and/or have color. Our young chemists are enjoying shaking and rolling the bottles to see how each liquid moves and how they react with each other.

Shapes All Around Us

In Math, we are in our Geometry/Attributes unit. We have been using our attribute blocks to sort and classify, build various shapes, cut them in half, think about patterns and proportions, and understand differences and similarities between these shapes. We have also been noticing where we see these shapes in our home and school lives.

Important Dates:

Friday, April 19th-Monday, April 22nd-TCS Closed for April Break

Friday, April 26th and Friday, May 3rd-remaining swimming lessons

Thursday, April 25th-TCS Black Tie and Blue Jeans Auction

Friday, May 10th- 11:30 Dismissal

Friday, May 10th- Pass It On (5pm-6pm @ The Scottish Rite)


Poetry, Math, and Swimming, Oh My! April 5, 2019

Poetry Pros

First Graders have been delving deeper into poetry in both Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop. Before we begin reading or writing, we have a short whole-group mini-lesson  on the carpet where students are introduced to a poetry mentor text that demonstrates a specific poetry technique. These poems can serve as examples to inspire our young poets and to help them brainstorm ideas. This week we looked at alliteration, line breaks, and luscious language. Then students went back and added these techniques to their poems to make them come alive!

Math Fact Wizards  

In Math, students have been using name-collection boxes to help them collect equivalent names for the same number. These boxes help children appreciate the idea that numbers can be expressed in many different ways. We have also been using fact triangles to show and practice fact families. Fact families are sets of three numbers that can be added and subtracted together which can help students develop an understanding of the relationship between addition and subtraction.

Mermaids and Mermen in the Pool

1st Graders started swimming lessons at the W.L. Stephens Pool this week! This is the first of four swim lessons they will participate in this spring. Cooper School students have the opportunity to enjoy a fun and challenging recreational activity each spring. We love sharing this time with them and seeing them shine and hone their skills.

Important Dates:

Saturday, April 6th-Spring Planting Party 9am-12pm (postponed from 3/16)  

Friday, April 19th-Monday, April 22nd-TCS Closed for April Break

Thursday, April 25th-TCS Black Tie and Blue Jeans Auction

Springing Into Break with Gusto March 22, 2019

Celebration & Cheer for St. Patrick’s Day!

Students were jazzed to discover that some mischievous leprechauns visited The Cooper School over the weekend and left gifts behind for everyone (as well as messes in all the classrooms). We celebrated with a Whole School Morning Meeting focused around the legend of St. Patrick’s Day and a backyard buddy hunt for green bead necklaces. Every green necklace was adorned with a limerick. We learned that limericks are short, humorous forms of poetry that originated in Ireland and students tried their hand writing their own original limericks.

Threads of Friendship

First Graders are currently participating in nineteen days of lunch buddies. At the end of the nineteen days, each student will have had the opportunity to have lunch with every student in the class. So far, this has been a beautiful way for students to bond and connect with peers that they normally don’t eat with or play with. We have enjoyed seeing them make connections and discover things they have in common. We often offer some fun conversation starters, such as, “What superpower would you like to have?” or, “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” After lunch, they all reflect on what they have in common.

The Power of Poetry

Last week, our young poets were inspired by nature and art. This week, they brainstormed wonders big and small and wrote poems about wonders. They also wrote what if poems. They started by thinking “What if?” in ways that are serious, sad, happy, and wistful, such as, “What if the sun stopped shining?” or, “What if aliens came down to Earth?” Next, will be poems that end with surprise and poems that give direction. Additionally we have been looking at poems with words that begin and end in digraphs and blends as part of Phonics Word Work.

Important Dates:

Monday, March 25th-Friday, March 29th-TCS Closed for Spring Break

Saturday, April 6th-Spring Planting Party (postponed from 3/16)  

Friday, April 19th-Monday, April 22nd-TCS Closed for April Break

Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary! March 15, 2019

Australia’s Great Natural Wonder

As part of our school-wide-leading-up-to Earth Day environmental initiative, on Thursday morning, First Graders educated the Cooper School community about the Great Barrier Reef marine ecosystem and coral bleaching. Did you know that you the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on Earth and you can see it from space? The reef is home to fish, sharks, dolphins, turtles, eels, sting rays, octopi, and mollusks, as well as 600 types of colorful coral. Corals look like plants, but they are actually animals that provide a habitat for many marine animals. Due to mainly to the actions of humans, the Great Barrier Reef is being destroyed! First Graders brainstormed things we can do as concerned citizens to counteract these negative effects, such as shutting off the lights when we leave a room to conserve energy, not littering and making sure we place trash in the appropriate bins (regular trash, recycling, compost). They drew pictures and made signs and even created a fun song!

Inspired by Nature

On Wednesday, we took our poetry writing outside! In Reading Workshop, we have been reading and discuss poetry with nature imagery. Students were inspired by the changing foliage and wrote poems about trees, the sun, birds and , lizards and insects, and as well as all of  the things they love to do on our playground. Students used the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of the things they encountered outdoors to create poetry.

The Action of Addition and Subtraction!

Learning basic facts is an important goal in our Everyday Mathematics curriculum. We reinforce that every day through our Math Message, which is a regular part of our morning routine, and by using ten frame cards to practice subitizing and understand how the number ten is composed. This week, we started subtraction using doubles. Doubles are two of the same number and doubles can help us add and subtract numbers that are almost doubles. We began by asking children to name and record doubles facts and then moved onto using near doubles facts to solve number stories.

Important Dates:

Monday, March 25th-Friday, March 29th-TCS Closed for Spring Break

Saturday, April 6th-Spring Planting Party (postponed from 3/16)  

Looking at the World and This Is What We See! March 8, 2019

Proud Scholars

After reflecting on and writing about their progress during Writing Workshop last week, students took the lead Monday and Tuesday in conferences. They guided their parents through various centers: a Social Studies Bridge building center, a Just Right book center, a Math center where they taught their parents the Digit Game, a class-favorite Math game, and a Self-Assessment center where they shared their folders and their online portfolios. Students spoke with confidence about their learning and about what they felt most proud of, and where they hope to grow and improve. We are so impressed with our fearless, joyful 1st Grade shining stars and thrilled to see them take ownership of their learning.

Third Trimester Science Investigation

We begin our third trimester with a Science unit on Solids and Liquids. In this unit, students will learn to identify solid objects and materials by their properties, sort objects into collections based on their properties, use tables to record their data, construct towers from solids objects, and search for and sort solid objects found in nature and manmade solid objects.

Seeing the World Through Our Poet’s Eyes

TCS launched it’s annual school-wide study of poetry this week! First Graders have been enjoying silly poems, serious poems, poems about food, poems about nature, and much, much more. We have also been drawing inspiration from past Cooper School poetry anthologies. What a treat it has been for our scholars to read poems their older siblings and mentors wrote when they were in the 1st Grade! On Wednesday morning, students were encouraged to think about five things they care about to jumpstart the poetry writing process. We have also added a poetry museum to our classroom so that 1st Graders can practice seeing things with their poet’s eyes, and we have been flooding our classroom with poems so that everywhere students look they see possible ideas for their own poems.

Important Dates:

Saturday, March 16th-Spring Planting Party

Monday, March 25th-Friday, March 29th-TCS Closed for Spring Break


Taking Care of Ourselves and the Earth! March 1, 2019

Glows and Grows

First Graders have been hard at work reflecting on and writing about what they do well and the areas they want to grow in, both academically and socially and emotionally, to prepare for student-led conferences. They also each chose a just-right book that they can read independently and wrote about their favorite part. Next week, they will share their self-assessment folders with their parents, lead their parents through Math and Social Studies Centers, and read their just-right book aloud. We are very proud of their tremendous progress and growth as scholars!

What Time Is It?

In Math, 1st Grade is studying time. Children brainstormed a list of activities that take an hour to complete, such as ballet class, baking banana bread, and going to church, and then practiced telling time on an hour-hand-only clock. They assembled their own hour-hand-only clocks with paper plates and used them to model appropriate times.

Protectors of Our Environment

In Whole School Morning Meeting this week, we talked about composting. At The Cooper School, children are encouraged to use our composting bin in the backyard for food scraps. We discussed items that can be placed in the compost bin and items that are not compostable and read a book called Compost Stew. Going forward, each class will have a bowl to place their compost scraps in and an assigned Composter will be added to the list of class jobs. We commend you, TCS Environmental Warriors!

Important Dates:

Monday, March 4th & Tuesday, March 5th-Half Days/Student Led Conferences

Saturday, March 16th Spring Planting Party

Monday, March 25-Friday, March 29-TCS Closed for Spring Break


A Short but Groovy Week! February 22, 2019

Talking About Writing!

On Tuesday, February 19th, Cooper School faculty had the pleasure of welcoming Carl Anderson, one of the nation’s leading experts on teaching writing to students in grades K–12, to our school. A former longtime New York City elementary and middle school teacher, Carl now coaches teachers in schools all over the United States. In the morning, Carl visited each classroom and conferred with student writers. After meeting with students across grades, Carl delivered a wonderful presentation to teachers around the parts of effective writing conferences, strategies for teaching writing and conferring with students, and how to individualize writing feedback and instruction to meet the needs of all writers and to boost student engagement around writing.

Singers AND Songwriters

In Writing Workshop, students are getting ready to jump into poetry! Leading up to that, we have been studying songs that we already know all the words to, such as popular nursery rhymes and songs we use in our classroom throughout the school day to emphasize routines or deliver directions. Then we spent time re-writing these lyrics. We started by stringing together words that fit into a rhyming pattern and then moved on to adding meaning to tell about feelings or events. There may be a young Paul McCartney among us!

Time to Celebrate!

At The Cooper School, we celebrate each student’s birthday with a Birthday Circle. During the birthday circle, the birthday child walks around a model of the sun, holding the globe to represent each year of his or her life. As he or she walks, one of his/her parents (or teachers) shares a story about his/her life. Afterward, students may play a game of the child’s choice or listen to a read aloud. This could be a birthday book or a book special to the birthday child’s family.  Families may choose to bring their child’s favorite treat, donate a book to our library for all students to enjoy, or to bring a favorite game to play with the class. This week, we celebrated two birthdays in 1st Grade!

Important Dates:

March 4th & March 5th- Half Days/Student Led Conferences

March 25-29: Spring Break

Love is in the Air! February 15, 2019

Welcoming the Next Generation of TCS Students

On Monday, February 11th, we welcomed eleven younger siblings of current students, who will join us at TCS next year! 1st Grade had a total of eight younger siblings who visited for the morning in the Kindergarten classroom. 1st Graders and their siblings participated in Morning Meeting together, and enjoyed Centers, Snack, and Outdoor Time. What a treat and a wonderful introduction to TCS for these future students!


All You Need is Love!

On Valentine’s Day, the entire school community gathered at The Circular Church in downtown for our annual Valentine’s Day Choir Performance. Students entertained their parents and families with their vocal stylings as they sang songs about love and friendship! It was definitely a feel good event and we are grateful to Mrs. Hazel and Mr. Bob for working with students to teach them new songs and prepare them to be performance ready! Our hearts are so full!

Master Spellers

1st Grade launched Spelling this week! In addition to our Snap Ring words, students are also exploring spelling rules and patterns. This approach helps children spell many words, not just a single word on a spelling list to be memorized. Additionally, spelling is individualized, so students are working in small groups based on their level.

Important Dates: 

Monday, February 18th- No School

Tuesday, February 19th- Half day (11:30- Dismissal)

Monday, March 4th & Tuesday, March 5th-Half Days/Student Led Conferences

How Are You Didgeridooing?! February 8, 2019

Me, Jane and We, First Graders

First and Second Grade students learned about Dr. Jane Goodall, the legendary anthropologist and conservationist, and her wonderful work protecting all living species through an entertaining musical adaption at the Gaillard Center.

Exploring Aboriginal Culture Through Music

On Tuesday, February 6th, we welcomed special guest, Daniel Scruggs, who shared his passion and appreciation for travel and music education with us. First Graders were fascinated by his many relics from all over the globe and by his didgeridoo playing!

Center Time is Mind Building  

Our class center time allows students to explore materials in hands-on ways, extend and enhance learning concepts, and to grow in their social skills as they navigate interactions with their peers during this time. Centers are curriculum-based and developed around specific subjects, such as Math or Language Arts or thematic units. Some of our centers this week included Phonics tiles, Lego Math, Snap Word Bingo, a Noun/Verb Sort, and Australian animal research.

Important Dates:

  • Thursday, February 14th -Valentine’s Day concert (1:30 @ The Circular Church)
  • Monday, February 18th- No School
  • Tuesday, February 19th- Half day (11:30- Dismissal)


Annual Fund Update

Thank you so much to all of you who have so generously donated to the Annual Fund. This year, to my delight, the Silent Auction raised more money than ever before. I wanted to take a moment to let you know exactly where your Silent Auction donation dollars are going…

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