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.

Saying Goodbye to an Epic School Year! May 31, 2019

Paving the Way…

This week, 1st Graders interviewed 2nd Graders to get an idea of what their next year will be like. It was so wonderful to hear all the things their older peers love about 2nd Grade and it definitely got everyone excited to move up! They also reflected on their 1st Grade year and wrote letters to the Kindergarteners (rising 1st Graders). Some things they wanted to highlight from 1st Grade were the Insect Study, the Bridge Study, the Author Expert project, the exciting field trips, and that you become a better reader in 1st Grade (true).

Bidding Farewell to Our Grads

Congratulations to the 5th Graders-Carys, Grant, Hadley, Maggie, Mia, Miles, Olive, Penny, Sam, Sydney, and Willis and to their fabulous teacher, Ms. Erica! 5th Graders- you will be missed! One of our very own 1st Graders, Harry, was chosen to be a graduation buddy for a 5th Grader and attended the ceremony to present Willis with his graduation book! After the ceremony at the Circular Church, 5th Grade grads were welcomed back by all the younger students who formed a human tunnel for them to run through. Then everyone enjoyed lemonade and strawberry shortcake- a TCS tradition. Thank you to the 4th Graders and Ms. Lauren and Ms. Kara for organizing that and to Ms. Brooke for her gorgeous decorations!

Field Day and Then School’s Out for the Summer!

On Friday, May 31st, the entire Cooper School community commemorated the end of the year with Field Day. Outdoor games were organized by the graduates, and students competed with their Field Day groups decked out in their group’s color! Pelican Snowballs was the perfect sweet, cold treat to finish out a hot, but awesome day!


How Far We’ve Come! May 24, 2019

1st Graders Are Author Experts

Our week in 1st Grade culminated with the Author Expert Presentation. When we began this project, each student selected a favorite author that they wanted to learn more about. After weeks of reading their author’s books and doing research, each student created a poster board that featured biographical information on their author, a book report, a book review, character illustrations, and a book list. Additionally, students wrote author-inspired stories based on a mentor text written by the author they studied. Below is the full list of authors the class studied, from the very recognizable, beloved authors, like Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle and Ezra Jack Keats, to more up and coming authors such as Oliver Jeffers (Lost and Found) and Adam Rubin (Dragons Love Tacos) and Andrea Beaty (STEM-focused books, Rosie Revere, Engineer, Iggy Peck, Architect, Ada Twist, Scientist, and more)! We recommend checking out any or all of these authors’ amazing books!

Mary Pope Osbourne

Mo Willems

Jane Yolen

Laura Numeroff

Adam Rubin

Mem Fox

Salina Yoon

Cynthia Rylant

Oliver Jeffers

Doreen Cronin

Jane O’Connor

Dav Pilkey

Aaron Blabey

Ezra Jack Keats

Mercer Meyer

Dr. Seuss

Eric Carle

James Dean

H.A. Rey

Andrea Beaty

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

TCS families and teachers enjoyed an end of the year celebration at the Riverdogs baseball game on Sunday, May 19th. It was a fantastic evening of baseball, friendship, delicious ballpark eats, and fun. The Riverdogs put forth a valiant effort and everyone cheered for Charleston’s hometown team. What a great way to commemorate the end of a stellar school year!

The Future Depends on Social Emotional Learning  

Research shows that social emotional learning can not only have a positive impact on students’ academic performance, but is critical to a child’s development, as it directly correlates to success and happiness as an adult. The Cooper School values social emotional learning and intentionally weaves it into the curriculum. Along with tracking academic progress to make sure students are meeting grade-level standards, Cooper School teachers also complete a standardized, strength-based behavior rating to measure each student’s social-emotional competence each trimester. This helps us to understand students’ SEL strengths and needs and to be responsive in our teaching.

Important Dates:

Monday, May 27th-TCS Closed for Memorial Day

Thursday, May 30th-TCS Graduation (11:30 dismissal)

Friday, May 31st-Field Day/last day of school (11:30 dismissal)

More Than Ready for 2nd Grade! May 17, 2019

Crafty Kiddos

1st Graders have been working on weaving in Art and doing some beading in Centers. These activities help to develop the strength between the thumb and forefinger. The pincer grip is the same grip children use for handwriting, so it’s good practice for developing beautiful, neat handwriting. These skills not only build fine motor and hand-eye coordination and concentration, but also help children learn how to create patterns and work through problems they may encounter while handling delicate or small objects.

Almost Author Experts

We have been putting the finishing touches on our Author Expert projects. This week, scholars worked on making their author inspired stories exceptionally juicy and really staying true to each author’s specific style, while also making sure their unique writer’s voice comes through loud and clear. Looking at examples from last year’s 1st Graders (current 2nd Graders) was very helpful and inspiring. Students have also been painting book covers and illustrating characters, editing their research and turning it into paragraphs, as well as compiling author book lists.

Meteorology Study

In Science, we are in our weather study. We are learning about why we have seasons and how meteorologists predict the weather. Students have been especially curious about rainbows and wind and we used that to spark some investigations this week. They have also been keeping weather journals and tracking the weather each day.

Important Dates:

Sunday, May 19th-End of the Year Celebration TCS Outing to the Riverdogs Baseball Game

Friday, May 24th-1st Grade Author Expert Presentation at 8:15am in the TCS Library

Monday, May 27th-TCS Closed for Memorial Day

Thursday, May 30th-TCS Graduation (11:30 dismissal)

Friday, May 31st-Field Day/last day of school (11:30 dismissal)

Savoring Every Special Moment May 11, 2019

Festival of Flowers

This week, we had a 1st Grade parent come in to teach us about Flores de Mayo. Flores de Mayo is a festival held in the Philippines in the month of May.  It is the most colorful, the most widely celebrated, and the most anticipated of the many festivals celebrated in the Philippines. “Flores” is the Spanish term for flowers and “Mayo” is the local term for the month of May, so Flores de Mayo literally means Flowers of May. May, after all, is the month when most flowers are in full bloom, making it the perfect time to hold such an event. Children are also very much involved in the festivities and dress up as young queens or little angels. We are grateful to Anouk’s mom, Cinelle, for sharing some of her culture with us and to Anouk for teaching us a traditional Filipino dance!

Puppet Adventure in Folklore

In Music class, students have been creating a folklore inspired musical puppet show. Through this creative play, they are using their imaginary characters to explore expressing emotions and feelings and to extend music concepts and performance concepts such a beat, rhythm, call and response songs, and changing the pitch, volume, and timbre of one’s voice.

Passing on the Good Vibes!

On the evening of Friday, May 9th, TCS students, teachers, parents, and families gathered for a poetry celebration at the Scottish Rite Center. During this annual TCS poetry showcase, Pass It On, each student has the opportunity to read an original poem on stage in front of an audience. The event kicked off with our tribute poem winner, Rafferty Berry, reading his poem. Our guest poet, Ed Gold, also shared a poem he wrote about the students’ poems. We have had lots of practice leading up to Pass It On so that students would feel comfortable on stage. We are so proud of each and every one of these brave young scholars!

Important Dates:

Sunday, May 19th-End of the Year Celebration TCS Outing to the Riverdogs Baseball Game

Friday, May 24th-1st Grade Author Expert Presentation at 8:15am in the TCS Library

Monday, May 27th-TCS Closed for Memorial Day

Thursday, May 30th-TCS Graduation (11:30 dismissal)

Friday, May 31st-Field Day/last day of school (11:30 dismissal)

Watch Us Bloom Like Spring! May 3, 2019

Amazing Authors

This week in 1st Grade, we launched our Author Expert Study. Each student selected a favorite author whose books they enjoy reading or whom they want to learn more about. Some of the authors that students chose include Cynthia Rylant, Ezra Jack Keats, Mercer Mayer, Mo Willems, Jane Yolen, Oliver Jeffers, and Eric Carle. Throughout the course of the next few weeks, students will have the opportunity to delve deeply into their author’s life and body of work. They will analyze themes, techniques, and characters. They will look closely at the author’s illustrations and the mediums each author uses and they will create their own art in their author’s style. They will write their own stories using one of their author’s books as a mentor or inspiration text. In the words of a 1st Grade scholar, “We are all very excited to read our favorite authors’ books. It inspires our spirits!”

Talking Numbers

TCS teachers meet for weekly faculty meetings. This collaborative culture allows us the space to share ideas, discuss challenges, support each other, and ultimately enhance and improve our teaching to more effectively meet students’ needs. This week’s meeting was focused on Math, specifically how we can help students build their number sense. We discussed the concept of Number Talks, a tool that TCS teachers use in their classrooms regularly. Number Talks are quick interesting Math problems that can be introduced in Morning Meeting, before a Math lesson, or even at transition times. They get all students involved, help them strengthen fluency, intuition, and mental math strategies, think flexibly, and improve their ability to explain their solutions. Number talks also allow teachers a valuable window into their students’ thinking and allow students to learn from their peers by seeing multiple ways to solve a single problem.

A Whale of a Tale

In Vocabulary this week we are reading Ibis: A True Whale Story by John Himmelman. 1st Grade students were particularly interested in learning more about this exciting account of the first successful rescue of a net-entangled whale, so we will be doing some research related to humpback whale rescue and conservation efforts. It also fits in well with our Pass It On Poetry charity (Earthwatch) and Earth Day focus around protecting our species.

Important Dates:

Friday, May 10th-half day (11:30am dismissal) and Pass It On, 5-6pm at the Scottish Rite

Sunday, May 19th-End of the Year Celebration TCS Outing to the Riverdogs Baseball Game

Friday, May 24th-1st Grade Author Expert Presentation at 8:15am in the TCS Library

Monday, May 27th-TCS Closed for Memorial Day

Thursday, May 30th-TCS Graduation (11:30 dismissal)

Friday, May 31st-Field Day/last day of school (11:30 dismissal)

The Life and Times of TCS 1st Graders and Their Families! April 26, 2019

The Adventures of Flat Stanley

On Tuesday, April 23rd, 1st Graders and Kindergarteners enjoyed a show at The Dock Street Theatre, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. The play, based on Jeff Brown’s bestselling children’s book, tells the story of Stanley Lambchop, a normal boy who is just like everyone else. But, that’s the problem. For Stanley, life is too normal. Determined to do something amazing, something no one’s ever seen before, he makes a wish on a falling star. The next morning, Stanley Lambchop wakes up flat as a pancake and begins his new life and his unexpected quest to see the world, which is easy when you are flat enough to fit into a mailing envelope! We have been reading the Flat Stanley books for read-aloud, so students were very excited to see these stories come to life on the big stage! We also had a special guest-TCS 4th grade teacher, Ms. Lauren, who shared her very own Flat Stanley inspired project that she did when she was an elementary school student! Ms. Lauren’s “Flat Lauren” traveled all over the globe-to England, Hong Kong, Japan, and even to Australia-before finding her way back to South Carolina!

TCS Auction-A Parents Night Out to Support the School!

TCS hosted its annual auction this week. Parents and faculty enjoyed a night out at The Historic Rice Mill with cocktails, dinner, a silent auction, a live auction, and live music from The Hungry Monks (Mrs. Hazel’s band!).  Bravo to our Director of Advancement, Amanda Brodbeck, and all the parent volunteers for their hard work, and a big thank you to all the sponsors and underwriters who made this fabulous event possible. Teacher experience packages were especially popular with bidders and also generated a lot of excitement and buzz with students! The teacher experience packages included Head of School for the Day, breakfast with teachers, crafting with teachers, an outing to see Beauty and the Beast, a trip to the Charleston Aquarium, a trip to the movies, and a trip to Break Out Charleston escape room!

What Time Is It?

1st Grade Mathematicians have been learning to tell time to the hour using analog and digital clocks. Math partners participated in a clock matching game to practice and Morning Meeting has been filled with more activities to help reinforce these concepts. Another important life skill many students have been practicing is tying their shoes! We love seeing our scholars become more independent.

Important Dates:

Friday, May 3rd-remaining swim lesson

Friday, May 10th 11:30 Dismissal

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

Sunday, May 19th-End of the Year Celebration TCS Outing to the Riverdogs Baseball Game

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


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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