Teacher Feature: Clare Berke

Clare BerkeSix year veteran educator Clare Berke teaches ninth grade English and AP Language at Benjamin Banneker High School. She is also the advisor for the school’s newspaper club and Amnesty International club.

This is her second year using the One World Education curriculum in the classroom. When Clare first learned about it, she decided to try it because “I’m always looking for something new or for something I think will help students develop the skills I know they need.” She found the curriculum “really easy for a teacher to implement even if they’ve never done it before; all the work has been done for you. You just review it and think about how it would fit with your particular students.”

She says she really enjoyed learning what topics her students chose to write about last year. “It helped me connect more with them and know about their interests.” Their topics ranged from essays about how school should start later in the morning to serious topics like bullying and harmful representations of women in the media. When one student wrote her essay about human trafficking, Clare invited her to join the Amnesty International Club where she could take action around that issue with others who care about it, too.

The OWEd essay was the only research project her students had last year and it gave them the opportunity to review researching skills and learn how to find credible information to support an argument. It was also a chance for them to apply reading skills independently as they conducted their research. “It’s good for the students and good for the teacher to see if they are really getting it on their own,” Clare said. “I can see where they are in the process of developing their own independent ability to read and comprehend.”

The OWEd writing notebooks were popular with students because it gave them an organized way to learn how to write their essays. In fact, a student she taught last year came back to her recently and asked for a new notebook to help her write an essay she was assigned in her new class. Clare gladly gave her another notebook.

Clare also likes the notebook and finds it a “time saver.” It has freed her up to think about how best to teach research skills, media literacy, and help guide students to reputable research and sources for their essays.

Overall, Clare sees the curriculum as supporting the school’s goals and a useful tool for preparing students for Common Core testing.  

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