Sarah Anderson

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Sarah Anderson teaches middle school humanities and interdisciplinary studies at a place-based charter school in Portland, Ore. Originally from rural Vermont, Anderson has also taught nature studies to urban middle school students in the California Redwoods, career skills to at-risk youth on an educational farm in Vermont and Civics and Global Studies at an independent school in Maryland. She earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies at Bard College and a masters in education in Integrated Learning from Antioch New England Graduate School.


Pages authored by Sarah Anderson

Blog post
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Teachers Benefit from Yearly Book Club Each year, our school staff participates in a book club. In the fall, teachers nominate books and introduce them to the rest of the staff. We select...
Finding Character in 'Lord of the Flies' My colleagues thought my teaching Lord of the Flies was “perfect.” My seventh-grade class is two-thirds male. The group contains several strong...
Don’t Let Anxiety Stunt Students Editor’s Note: Some students may have a medical diagnosis of anxiety and be covered by an Individual Educational Plan. There are, however, many...
Problem-Solving as a Class Earns Merit Last year, our staff adopted the positive discipline approach to replace ineffective no-tolerance policies. Positive discipline is based on the...
Addressing Bullying from the Inside Out Middle school teachers struggle to find ways to respond to bullying, teasing, name-calling and exclusionary practices among students. We tread...
Seeing Through the Privileged Haze I have always considered myself a thoughtful and considerate teacher. I try to understand where my students are coming from. I want my students to...
Students Need Tools to Create an Inclusive Climate Jenny started the year desperate to make friends. She was new, immature for her age and starting seventh grade. Because of a learning disability,...
Political Discussion Belongs in Our Classroom I was excited by my lesson plan about the presidential elections. I planned to help students research issues and form opinions by guiding them...
Conflict Offers Perspective on Disputes A couple of years ago, I had a run-in with a parent. He had developed the habit of coming into school before the end of the day, standing outside the...
Preparing to Help Students Through Tough Times Sonia is a quiet girl with a shy smile who never raises her hand in my class. Recently, she told me that she is bisexual. Sonia shared this during...
The Power of Personal Narrative When I announced the annual personal narrative assignment, my students groaned. Every year I get the same response. Most of my students would rather...
Mapping Out a Get-to-Know-You Project One of the simplest ways to foster compassion and understanding in our classrooms is to give students opportunities to share stories about their...
Beefcake Images Disturb Boys My eighth-grade girls squealed at the shirtless male movie star photos in a magazine. “Oh my gosh! Check out the abs on this one!”  “Yeah,”...
Making Homelessness More Than a Stereotype My middle school students had started to use words like “bum,” “creeper,” and “hobo” to describe people who are homeless in our city. To my eighth-...
Breaking through the Religious Divide The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq marked my first year of teaching. When one of my students referred to Iraqis as “towel heads,” I told him he had to do...
Discovering Ordinary Bravery in the Movement Most students have heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. They also know of Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus....
Humanizing Middle Schools with Compliments Name-calling is pervasive in our culture. According to advocacy organization Mental Health America, teens hear anti-gay slurs approximately 26 times...
Decoding Media’s Image of Women Editor's Note: Teaching Tolerance launched a new series of lessons about Gender Expression for early grades. A featured lesson can be found here....
Daily Mix It Up Lunch Yields Big Shares My small school has no cafeteria. Students bring their own lunches and eat in the classroom with their teachers. When I first learned about this set-...
Middle School Mentors Cultivate Benefits A parent of a first-grader tried to wrangle her child from peering into my classroom. “He just can’t wait to be in middle school! He thinks your...
Class Meetings Build Community, Safe Zone The class was silent as we waited for Samuel to collect himself. It was a respectful silence that happens when everyone knows something powerful is...
Finding the Civil Rights Movement in Oregon Editor’s Note: Teaching Tolerance published a first-of-its-kind report in September examining the state educational standards for civil rights...
Perfection Check Needed in Middle Years For the past two years, I have taught in classrooms where the boys outnumbered the girls by a ratio of 3-to-1. Further, I noticed the girls in my...