The Cooper School Daily

Look for New Perspectives

For years I kept this sign on my desk at a previous teaching job:

Despite its dramatic appearance, it is simply the formula that Frederick Taylor used at the turn of the century to determine how efficiently a laborer could perform “barrow work” – loading, transporting, and unloading a wheelbarrow at a steel plant. Not surprisingly, the effort to apply Scientific Management to such an individualized task was a colossal failure, and a strong indication that common goals may often best instead be achieved through individual methods. Teachers must be guided by similar thoughts and understand that students may arrive at a common destination by wildly divergent paths.
I didn’t bring the sign with me to The Cooper School because, well, we don’t really use teacher desks, and wall space is too precious of a commodity. Ironically, however, I can’t think of a better place than TCS where this sign applies. It is one of the most unique places I have ever seen. And interestingly enough, each student’s uniqueness is as noticeable in the play area as in the classroom. The cooler weather these past few days has liberated them to turn it up a notch: to chase faster, to play harder, to be themselves in ways that a 98-degree sun inhibits. They play in as many individual ways as they learn in the classroom. Maybe I’m focusing on the outdoors more than usual because it would have snowed already where I lived until 6 months ago. But change can make us aware of things that we might not otherwise have noticed. Like the idea that each kid is different: as teachers we inherently know that. But that they play differently as well as learn differently? That’s been a fun one to watch – they’re so entertaining!
Neither teaching nor learning is a one-size-fits-all. Perhaps it’s fitting that I don’t have room for my sign. I’d rather be reminded each day of its message in much more organic ways, like outdoors and in the classroom. And sign or no sign, TCS is an ideal place to celebrate that uniqueness.


Here’s a look at what is happening in each of the classes:

What’s happening in Science?

Seventh Graders wrapped up their astronomy unit with a final quiz this week. They were sent home today in the “Parent Folder.” They have been working diligently on their TedTalk presentations! Some topics being researched include animal research in space, exoplanets, space technology, and could “Star Wars” really happen sometime in the future. Some people are creating dynamic TedEd’s with animation to keep the viewer entertained, while others are concentrating more on articulate speeches like a conventional TedTalk. Next week, Seventh Graders will continue to work on their presentations and wrap it up before Fall Break.

What’s up in Math?

The Seventh Graders took a mid-unit assessment at the beginning of the week. Kind of a harsh way to come back after what amounted to 5 days away from class for them. But we had done a lot of reviewing last week, and a tiny bit more before the test – they didn’t seem much phased by it. We’re still working with Dilations, making a polygon larger or smaller by a scale factor to create similar, but not congruent, figures. It’s a good opportunity to strengthen their recognition of corresponding parts of shapes. After flipping, spinning, and sliding a shape all over the page, it’s good to be able to tell where a particular part ended up – sort of a mathematical 3-card monte without the risk of losing all your money. Scale factor continues to be important as we shift from scaling by easy-to-spot factors like 2x or ½, and into things where the Seventh Graders will need to do some hefty division to see if all the parts are still in scale. Might be close to review and end-of-unit assessment by the end of next week. (Was that mean of me to both open and close this paragraph with news of an assessment?)

What’s happening in ELA?

Seventh Graders are doing well with their realistic fiction writings. Did you know your kids are talented writers? When they become famous authors, I would like a shout out in their dedication page. This week, I introduced them to Kurt Vonnegut’s Story Arcs. They really grasped the concepts. Feel free to click on
to learn more about story arcs. We also looked at including imagery and dialogues in our writings. Parents, please take some time to review your kids’ writings and help them to edit. Please keep an eye out for their grammar/vocabulary rubrics that are sent home every Friday and their reading log journal rubrics that are sent home on Mondays.

What’s going on in Social Studies?

In Seventh Grade we finished our colonial unit by creating a colony from scratch using information we covered throughout the unit and began looking at the causes of the American Revolution. We dove into the French and Indian war and the students read about the different reasons the colonists were growing resentment against the British Crown.

Next week we will begin by creating propaganda posters for either a patriot or a loyalist. This will lead into our debate on whether the colonies should stay with Great Britain or leave. Students will also be challenged on several primary sources throughout the week, focusing on the different colonial feelings that are spreading during this time.

Important Dates:

October 17-18 – Fall Break (No School)
October 31st- Halloween Carnival (11:30 Dismissal)
November 1st- Teacher Work Day (No School)