8th History Overview 2019-2020


from:Paxton, Greg

to:History, 8th Grade

Time Sept. 13, 2019

Crowden Eighth Grade History - Greg Paxton, Teacher

Eighth graders will embark on an exploration of historical events that shaped America, with an emphasis on varied groups and their contributions to our society. Additionally, we will explore the tenants of the constitutional process, and analyze its relevance to current events.

Texts  - We will be using several resources including A More Perfect Union (Houghton Mifflin), along with various publications, articles, and editorials.

Format - Class consists of lectures and slideshows (with note-taking), with an emphasis on seminar-style discussion and reflection (critical thinking). Periodic labs and/or activities will integrated into the class discussion as well.

Note taking - Students will assemble a notebook of resources consisting of the main notes from class lectures, handouts, maps, and student-interpreted renderings. All students should have a spiral-bound notebook for notes, and a designated sleeved folder for handouts (preferably a binder to house all of these).

Research Papers - With an emphasis on critical thinking, students will sharpen research skills by gathering historical information, and then with Greg’s guidance, synthesize that information through written papers and/or reports. A rubric for each paper will be posted well in advance of the due date.

Class Projects - Class presentations, in the form of research projects, are designed not only to be a fun and creative, but also provide an opportunity for students to teach fellow students, as well as experience the dynamics of group planning (some projects are individual). Each project will involve submitting a proposal that I approve. Students are encouraged to use their imagination and creativity projects utilizing art, role-play, multi-media, model-making, and so forth, while balancing these formats with sound research. A rubric will be given for each project that details expectations. Some projects may also require a written component.

Homework and classwork - To what extent possible, I will strive to provide ample time for students to complete assignments as part of the class itself, though projects and research papers will need to be completed at home. When assigned, homework will consist of additional reading or research to supplement what has been discussed in class. Assigned research will either by followed by an assessment (quiz), or included as part of an upcoming test.

Tests and quizzes - Before each unit test or quiz, at least one period will be devoted to reviewing all materials for that unit (grades 6 & 7). Test dates will be posted on ThinkWave at least one week in advance. Study Guides will be assembled during the review period (a day or two before). During mid-terms and finals, either a test may be given, or a research paper may be assigned, depending on the class/unit.

Grading - Tests and quizzes are graded on a straight-forward point system. Research projects and presentations follow a rubric of required components. The main emphasis of both tests and projects is to ensure that each student grasps the historical concepts discussed in class, and that they can apply a measure of critical analysis to the facts.

Geography - Geography is taught concurrently with each unit throughout the year.

8th Grade Course Overview - Part One. Below is a sample of of the units covered in the first half of this year. Some units are taught chronologically, and some are thematic.

The Land - Geographical acclamation of the topography, and how/why this sets the stage for historical events.

Earliest Americans - An Introduction. This will begin an ongoing series of texts, resources, and discussion concerning the original inhabitants and their place in history.

European Exploration - The seeds of Commerce, Colonization, and Conversion.

Early European Settlements - Exporting European interests (and conflict) in the “New World,” as well as communities in exile.

The British Colonial Period - Detailed examination of the make-up of each satellite, daily life, and the pitfalls of being “ruled” from afar.

French and English Conflicts - And their impact on the residents of the “old” and “new” world.

Emerging Identity in the Colonies - Concepts of pluralism, immigration, and salutary neglect.

Religious Influences in the colonies - The intersection of the first “Awakening” and self-rule.

Pre-Revolutionary Ideas and Events - Rebellion against acts, the importance of printed pamphlets to spread ideas, and those who published these ideas.

The American Revolution - Declarations, geography of a non-certain outcome, emerging leaders of the rebellion.

Inside the mind of Jefferson - Influences on his own thinking, and the intent behind his words.

Early expansion in the Northwest Territory - Why this was important to a new nation.

Working It Out - The Constitution/Bill of Rights - Historical context for the “rule book” of democracy. The conflicts, compromises, debates, ratification process, and importance of state’s rights in seeking to amend it all.

Understanding the Constitutional Process (role of three branches) in an election year. - An overview of the separation of powers (its roots), and how this is playing out in current events. Creating a metaphor for the three branches, and the relevance of the Bill of Rights today.

Tests of Foreign Relations and U.S. Sovereignty. - The war of 1812, the Monroe Doctrine, and the emergence of Andrew Jackson as a “frontiersman.”

A Nation Grows - Westward expansion, Manifest Destiny, neoclassical revival, geographical differences in economics, more Great Awakening.

The Institution of Slavery - A timeline of events, exploration of histories, economic dependences, and the potential rupture to the union. Walter Dean-Myers: Now is Your Time.

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