​The Cooper School is a private, independent, non-sectarian school that values the participation of families from diverse backgrounds. Founded in 2007, The Cooper School is a 501(c) 3 non-profit institution. The Cooper School offers an exceptional holistic education for children grades K-5. Academic excellence, stewardship of the environment, activity, and creativity are hallmarks of the Cooper School Curriculum.

Independent Learners December 8, 2017


Scientists this week got to explore the power of water! Third Graders read about how water can be used to move objects and create electricity. Throughout history, cultures around the world have harnessed the power of water to help make tasks more simple. This investigation gave Third Grade scientists a tray of materials and let them explore how to make a water wheel. Once the construction was complete, we headed outside to test them! Students were able to make their waterwheels lift a “load” (a binder clip) multiple times. The next challenge… how many 50 mL squirts from the syringe does it take to lift the edge of the basin? Water is powerful! Ask your students how many squirts it took them!



The Third Grade Informational Writing Unit is taking a shift from all that we know about one topic to the many uses of nonfiction writing. Before we can move on, Third Graders wanted to celebrate the hard work they had done on their Information Books. Students chose one of their topics to rewrite into a final draft, thus completing the writing process and celebrating their use of the new tools they had learned. Using their planning, editing, and revising skills, students were able to complete their final drafts by Friday… just in time to share and celebrate with each other!




This trimester we are focusing on the importance of independence. This week we began discussing what independence looks like in each subject area. As a group, Third Graders have been able to explain many different ways that they are independent in the classroom. This includes things such as accessing materials, working quietly on tasks, using their resources to solve problems, and asking a friend for help when needed. Students then completed their own page in their independence folders, thinking about who they are, what they can do, and who they have. These three questions help students to see how much they can do on their own and the many ways they can problem solve without relying solely on their teacher.



Important Dates:

  • Thursday, December 14th    Parent Coffee (8am)
  • Thursday, December 21st    Pajama Day, 11:30 Dismissal
  • Friday, December 22nd         Winter Break Begins



Historical Reading and Writing in 4th!


Over the course of the next several weeks, 4th Graders will be immersed in the subject of the American Revolution across disciplines.  Students will be reading, writing, and participating in centers all intended to teach about the Revolutionary War.  This week students began to write information texts about a chosen topic having to do with the war.  During this writing unit, students will learn the art of doing research and how to teach through their writing.



This week we continued our study of The Revolutionary War through nonfiction
 texts.  Students discovered that nonfiction texts are written in many different structures.  Some of the text structures that we discussed were descriptive, compare and contrast, and chronological.  Students learned how to not only identify the different structures, but also how to organize their thoughts in graphic organizers.



Magnetism has been on everyone’s mind this week in the Fourth Grade classroom.  Students had the chance to investigate a variety of test objects to see which ones were magnetic.  They soon discovered that objects made of iron were magnetic, and learned the concept of induced magnetism.  One interesting discovery made, was that two magnets were able to detect each other’s force through one of our wooden classroom tables! Our study of magnetism has even led students to create a “magnet museum”.  Students have found and brought in a wide variety of tools and toys that utilize the magnetic force. During centers, students are able to explore these many hands-on objects and solve how the magnets make them work.


Important Dates:


Thursday, December 14th     Parent Coffee 8am-9am


Thursday, December 21st     Pajama Day (11:30am dismissal)

Building More Knowledge December 1, 2017

American College of Building Arts

This week, Kindergarteners had the opportunity to visit the American College of the Building Arts. Kindergarteners learned that the new campus building used to be a trolley barn and has been sitting vacant for over thirty years before the college recently renovated it. Kindergarteners observed students drafting blueprints for houses and learned that everything that is going to be built needs to be drawn first so they know what to do. Building enthusiasts toured the library and looked at a pop-up Gaudi architecture book. There were a lot of OOH’s and AHH’s as our tour guide showed us each picture. Kindergarteners were then shown various tools like an ax, a paver, a  saw, and a hand screw.

Kindergarteners then toured the different parts of the college. Students were introduced to plaster molds, brickwork, and intricate woodwork that had pegs to connect them or that looked like jigsaw puzzles. Kindergarteners learned how stone is shaped with a mallet and chisel and that it is a very slow process and tedious process. Kindergarteners were able to watch blacksmiths forging different metals into nails and hammering them into shapes. They loved seeing the sparks fly and thought it was cool to see how big the fire got. Ask your kindergartener what they learned at The American College of Building Arts. 



Holiday Collaborations with First Graders

Kindergarten students have been busy working with First Grade and Fifth Grade to prepare decorations for our tree in Marion Square. Fourth Grade friends helped teach the lovely art of finger knitting to Kindergarteners. Students collaborated to finger-knit garland and to prepare pinecone bees for the tree. Students were excited for our festive outing Thursday, to decorate the tree! We are so excited and proud to have a holiday tree in downtown Charleston’s majestic Marion Square!

Discovering More About Donald Crews

Kindergarten readers continued exploring their author study on Donald Crews. This week, Kindergarteners explored the many ways that good readers approach books. Kindergarten readers used Donald Crews books to examine how authors use different fonts that make readers pay attention. Readers practiced reading and then retelling the major events from the beginning, middle, and end of their books to sequence events. Students learned that good readers use picture clues to read words and tell the stories and that sometimes books can teach us about numbers and math! It has been a lovely week exploring the joys of reading and learning about Donald Crews’ collection of books.

Important Dates:

  • Friday, December 8th Holiday Concert at the Circular Congregational Church at 1:30
  • Thursday, December 14th Parent Coffee (8am)
  • Thursday, December 21st Pajama Day 11:30 Dismissal
  • Friday, December 22nd – Thursday, January 4th Winter Break

Writing Reviews, Looking at Our World and Growing Independence

 Cheese Pizza is the Best!

First Grade writers have been busy finding many ways to convince their readers. These writers know that when convincing their reader it is important to give their opinion with details and explain reasons why. First Graders brought in personal collections to help inspire their opinion writing. These brave writers were also introduced to an opinion-writing checklist to help guide their writing. Scholars spent time checking their writing to be sure that they grabbed their reader’s attention, gave an opinion, and supported their opinions with reasons and details.

Our World

During Social Studies, First Graders took time to investigate, “ Where in the world do we live?” Scholars learned the seven continents and were able to identify that we live in North America. From there, they zoomed-in on the country that we live in. First graders identified that we live the country of the United States. Scholars then, zoomed-in even closer to identify the state and city that we live in. First Graders spent time mapping the street that they live on and shared these maps with their peers. Ask your First Grader what they know about, “ Where in the world do we live?”

We Are Independent!

 This week scholars began looking at the many ways that we can be independent at school. First Grade friends discussed ways they can be independent in staying healthy, by being sure to sneeze or cough into their “Germ Jail” and always washing their hands before leaving the restroom. These independent scholars know they can demonstrate independence in the classroom by referencing charts on the wall for information. First Grade writers demonstrated independence during Writing Workshop by using a checklist to be sure they had included certain components in their piece of writing. Ask your brave First Grader their favorite way to show independence at school!

Important Dates

Friday, December 8th            Concert at the Circular Church (1:30pm)

Thursday, December 14th    Parent Coffee (8am)

Thursday, December 21st    Pajama Day, 11:30 Dismissal

Friday, December 22nd         Winter Break Begins

Hard Workers


Third Graders have learned about the ways that temperature affects water. Warm to hot temperatures cause water to change from a liquid to a gas. This is called evaporation! Cold temperatures cause water vapor to turn to liquid water. This is called condensation! After conducting experiments and observations of these two processes, students were able to clearly understand the way the Water Cycle works. Then, they built their own Water Cycle in a cup to observe these reactions and to see if they could cause precipitation. You could even try this at home!




This week we started our class book clubs! This is a favorite every year and allows students to share series books and conversations about their reading. Students are reading books in a series, either “Time Warp Trio”, “Boxcar Children”, or “Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events”. They began by working out how much they would have to read each day in order to finish the book by the end of the week.

 This allows students to take responsibility of their reading and hold each other accountable for doing their reading each day. They then discussed different story elements each day, such as characters, setting, and relationships. Shared reading is what makes reading so enjoyable and the Third Graders are loving it!




Third Graders were really excited to begin learning all about multiplication and division in math this week. We began by exploring real world applications of multiplication and division through number stories that require equal sharing. This helps students understand the need for these skills as well as have concrete ideas to connect to these concepts. Students also learned about arrays and how arrays can help to solve multiplication and division. These foundational skills are important as Third Graders progress into more challenging math.

Important Dates:

  • Friday, December 8th            Concert at the Circular Church (1:30pm)
  • Thursday, December 14th    Parent Coffee (8am)
  • Thursday, December 21st    Pajama Day, 11:30 Dismissal
  • Friday, December 22nd         Winter Break Begins

Goodbye November, Hello December

Fired Up For Rocket Math

      Second Grade has officially launched into Rocket Math!! Each day, students practice their automaticity and speed, completing fact sheets for time and accuracy. Each student has a set goal, and their challenge is to correctly complete each level in order to move forward. Each level gets increasingly more challenging with higher digits and a larger range of numbers and sums. Second Graders have been thrilled to begin this part of our math unit and will continue through to the year’s end.

That’s The Way The World Goes Round

      Geography, Ecology, and the Earth’s biomes! Yes, this week we started our first Social Studies unit on landforms and continents. Learning the Earth’s biomes (ocean, polar, temperate forest, desert, grassland, mountains, tropical forest, and wetlands) helps to teach students to think of the world in terms of ecosystems and natural boundaries instead of political or historical divisions. We will be studying how humans share these spaces with flora and fauna, and how each biome’s climate and soil affect the way we adapt to the biome in which we live. Charleston is classified as wetlands.

Interim Class Pet

      While Michael Jordan and Oscar are off getting pampered at the pond spa, we have a new class pet for the week. Ms. Brooke gladly brought in her family pet, Teddy the hedgehog. Teddy is nocturnal and loves to burrow in his little hut. He eats mealworms as a snack. His quills can be sharp when provoked, but students loved meeting him and petting him on his wet doggy-like nose.

Important Dates:

Friday, December 8th              Concert at the Circular Church (1:30pm)

Thursday, December 14th      Parent Coffee (8am)

Thursday, December 21st      Pajama Day, 11:30 Dismissal

Friday, December 22nd           Winter Break Begins



Westward Ho!


Onward to the West! Students began writing research papers on their choice of a Westward Expansion topic. Students have chosen topics such as the Gold Rush, transportation, and outlaws. This unit correlates with our Reading Workshop and gives students a chance to expand their U.S. history knowledge on the Westward Expansion. Students will be researching, using geography and timelines to add details to their research report. Ask your child what topic they chose to research!


Your historians continue to study the era of Westward Expansion in the United States. This week during Reading Workshop, students started a historical fiction novel, Mr. Tucket by Gary Paulsen. Students will be discussing the various settings in the novel and the stops along the Oregon Trail. They marked the stops on the trail on a U.S. map during centers. In the Westward Expansion center, students chose an important location or trail and labeled it on our map. They had to use our collection of books or their iPads to find the accurate location. Ask your child what they added to the class map this week!


 A pendulum is a mass hanging from a fixed point that is free to swing to and fro. Can you think of an everyday object that is a pendulum? Your scientists came up with a swing on the playground, a grandfather clock, a bell ringer, and a wind chime! This week, your thinkers began Variables in science. This unit is focused on creating controlled experiments by manipulating one variable at a time. This unit will set each student up for success in the Science Fair later in the year, Friday, February 2nd. Ask your child about our swingers investigation!


Important Dates 

Friday, December 8th               Concert at the Circular Church (1:30pm)

Thursday, December 14th        Parent Coffee (8am)

Thursday, December 21st        Pajama Day, 11:30 Dismissal

Friday, December 22nd            Winter Break Begins

Fourth Graders “Stick” Together!


What attracts? What repels? These are questions Fourth Graders have been exploring as we begin our new science unit about Magnetism and Electricity. This week, students have used magnets to discover what types of materials stick to the magnets, what materials a magnetic force can go through, and how much force or weight it takes to break the force of magnets. Students greatly enjoyed exploring the classroom to find as many objects as they could that were magnetic!


Revolution Reading and Writing

Over the course of the next several weeks, Fourth Graders will be immersed in the subject of the American Revolution across disciplines.  Students will be reading, writing, and participating in centers all intended to teach about the Revolutionary War. Students have been enjoying reading all about the revolution and gathering information about why it began and who was involved. This week students began to write information texts about a chosen topic having to do with the war.  During this writing unit, students will learn the art of doing research and how to teach through their writing.


Independent Learners

 This week, Fourth Graders discussed the second trimester SEL skill of independence. Becoming an independent learner is important in many different ways. As children grow and mature in their cognitive abilities, obtaining independence improves their self-esteem and confidence. Students have been practicing independence in and out of the classroom. One way a Fourth Grader will demonstrate independence is by reading instructions closely and by rereading the directions carefully before asking a neighbor for help.



Important Dates:


Friday, December 8th            Choir Concert at Congregational Circular                                                     Church 1:30-2:15

Thursday, December 14th     Parent Coffee 8am-9am

Thursday, December 21st     Pajama Day (11:30am dismissal)

A Grateful Week! November 20, 2017

Social Studies Study Trip

Students visited the Gibbes Museum of Art today to end our unit in Social Studies. Students studied the art from the time periods we studied from the Constitution to post Civil War. Students learned the importance of our city during the Civil War and different pieces of artwork that display the importance Charleston had during this time period. Ask your child what their favorite piece of art was at the Gibbes!



Every November, students are introduced to the social-emotional topic of gratitude. Students watched a Kid President video in Whole School Morning Meeting to understand the meaning of gratitude. Students then brainstormed a list of things they are grateful for in their own lives. On Thursday, students wrote post-its to fellow friends to show their gratitude. Students will be presenting their gratitude books to you at the Harvest Feast!


Thanksgiving Reading

This week we ended our biography unit and spent two days reading about the Wampanoag people and the tradition of Thanksgiving. Students worked in groups to read and discuss the importance of the Thanksgiving holiday from different points of view. Ask your child what they learned about the Wampanoag tribe!


Parent Teacher Conferences

It was a pleasure to meet with all the parents Monday and Tuesday. I loved getting to talk about all the fun units of study we have learned about so far in 5th grade. Our class has had a great capstone year so far!


GRP Visit

On Thursday, we had a visit from two GRP leaders, who were visiting Charleston. They brought along a friend from the mountains with them! Check out the pictures below!



Important Dates

Monday, November 20th-Harvest Feast, 11:30 Dismissal

Tuesday, November 21st-Thanksgiving Break, No School

Monday, November 26th -School Resumes

Friday, December 8th-1:30 p.m.- Choir Performance

Thursday, December 14th– Parent Coffee (8am-9am)

December 21st-Pajama Day- ½ day

Skatepark Fun!!! November 17, 2017

Push. Skate. Ride. Learn Science!!!

     Second Graders learned the physics of skateboarding today during our field trip to the local skate park. As Mr. Davis modeled how friction makes skateboarding possible, students were constantly engaged with hands-on activities and explorations. Our rad little learners tried their balance skills out on Indo-boards with Ms. Brooke and picked up bottles of rice with only a pencil (and friction!) with Ms. Franci. Our trip concluded with a derby car competition down the ramps. Each student created their car using the wheel and axle systems taught in class. It was quite an exciting day for our Second Grade friends!!

Rocket Math Has Commenced

    This week we blasted off with the start of our Rocket Math. Students were so excited to test their speed against their accuracy!! Rocket Math aims to strengthen each student’s automaticity with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even division facts. Second Graders can move up to more challenging facts each week as they progress through levels A-Z.

Harvest Feast Monday

     Our TCS family Harvest Feast is coming up on Monday, November 20th. Please join us from 10:30-11:30am and don’t forget a potluck item to share! There will be activities like a DIY photo booth, a “Gratitude Tree”, and other family oriented activities to keep you busy after our feast!!! Hope to see you there!

Important Dates

Monday, November 20th       ½ Day – Harvest Feast

Tuesday, November 21st      Thanksgiving Break – No School

Monday, November 27th       School Resumes

Friday, December 8th            Choir Concert at Congregational Circular Church 1:30-2:15

Thursday, December 14th     Parent Coffee 8am-9am

Thursday, December 21st     Pajama Day (11:30 Dismissal)

Pickin up rice with friction!






The Cooper School