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 Social Studies?

This week took a turn in Eighth Grade social studies. Students were asked to do some research on a revolution and create a mini-powerpoint presentation to present in class. This acted as an introduction to the research project next week.

Next week, the students will be asked to create a persuasive research paper on a specific revolutionary woman. The argument they are fighting is that their woman was the most revolutionary of them all. They then will turn that research paper into a powerpoint to present to the class. This will carry on throughout the week and into the following.

What’s happening in ELA?

Eighth Graders are continuing their work on their investigative journalism pieces. They are doing a phenomenal job being journalists. I think the biggest challenge for them is to remain unbiased as they report the news that is unfolding around them. They have between three to five articles that they are putting into their very own newspaper. I am the chief editor, but I need your help to be editors as well. Parents, please take some time to review your kids’ writings and help them to edit. As a journalist, they cannot write from a first person view (unless they are writing a letter to the editor). They must write from a third person point of view. Finally, 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 happening in Science?

This week, Eighth Graders began their Rube Goldberg blueprints and have decided that we are going to enter the International Rube Goldberg annual contest. Check it out here. The girls have divided the chain reaction steps so each person will create and troubleshoot at least three steps. They have finalized their materials list and might be scouring your garages for some odd things for their creation. They will begin construction next week and then will create mini experiments using the Rube Goldberg machine to apply what they learned in the gravity unit. They will present their machine to you all on Thursday 11/4. I will send out a formal email about the presentation next week!

What’s happening in Math?

Eighth Graders learned about linear equations last year, but because it’s Math it can always get more complex, and that’s what’s happening this year. It’s starting as a comfortable review, but it’s working its way into finding the solution to a system of 2 equations: when does it become more expensive to choose one company over another when it actually starts out being the cheaper one? Or doesn’t it? The Eighth Graders would know to just graph both equations and see where they intersect. By the end of the week they’ll be learning how to rewrite equations to know what to solve for. Normally we solve a linear equation for this variable called “y”. But trying to isolate just one “y” can turn into a lot of work sometimes. But one thing we can count on is that they are always up for the challenge!

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