Aug 25, 2007

Eighth Grade Social Studies/ American History II:
“The Constitution Challenged”

Ms. Kim Allen
St. Luke’s School
September, 2007

WELCOME! I welcome you to what I expect will be a wonderful year for you – and for me. I am truly excited about working with you, the new eighth grade (can you believe it?), in your last year before you go on to high school. As before, this class will be a combination of learning about what happened in the past, as well as developing the skills and attitudes of the historian. Keep in mind that becoming a good student historian means becoming a better thinker and problem solver. The following are the topics we will study.

· Historical Inquiry Method
· Judging Reliability and Validity of Sources of Information
· Comparing and Contrasting
· Understanding Cause and Effect
· Expressing Critical Opinions
· Writing Analytically (Essays/Research Paper)
· Speaking and Listening Effectively in Large and Small Groups
· Initiating and Taking Part in Service to the Community

¨Constitution, Past & Present ¨ The Supreme Court and Judicial Review
¨ Growth of the U.S. as a Nation ¨ Difficult Topics in U.S. History (such as
¨ The Civil War & Reconstruction slavery, racism, and war)
¨ Civil Rights Movements ¨ Immigration (Research Paper)
¨ American Frontier ¨ Human Rights Law
¨ Rise of Industry & Cities ¨ Social & Economic Rights
¨ Foreign Policy Unit: Imperialism, World Wars, Cold War, Vietnam, & Terrorism
*Events in the News *Amnesty International Chapter
*United Nations Millennium Goals:

Here is the description in our official curriculum guide:
Students enhance critical thinking skills with greater sophistication and depth. Using primary and secondary sources, extensive research and writing, creative projects, regular use of multimedia and film, and class discussions, students resume a chronological study of American history, beginning with an in-depth study of the history of the Constitution, including a trip to Philadelphia, and a comparison with constitution-making in Afghanistan. The living Constitution is emphasized through a study of the Supreme Court, including an analytical essay on landmark cases concerning juvenile rights. A continuation of the human rights themes from Grade 7 informs the study of the Civil War, the Jim Crow Era, and the Civil Rights movement, and immigration as a major force in American culture. Pupils write a comprehensive research paper comparing two immigrant groups, while also nurturing a year-long relationship with students at Newcomers High School in Astoria, Queens, who visit St. Luke's School for an annual Human Rights Day and are interviewed about immigration on a field trip to Astoria. The culminating focus of the curriculum is the role of the United States in the world, and a special emphasis is placed on the Vietnam War as a means of examining current conflicts. As student historians in high school and beyond, it is expected that St. Luke's students apply historical attitudes and analyses to themselves and the society around them, and that they use their knowledge to make a positive contribution to their world.

The key to success as a student is o r g a n I z a t I o n!

Put together a three-ring binder with dividers. It should have at least the following sections in this order. No exceptions! Keep it neat!

1. Notes, Homework, and Handouts (keep in order of the topics studied).
This section includes old homework and new homework. Don’t separate your notes, homework, and handouts. Together, they will tell the story of the history you’re studying. If you keep the “story” together in this section, you’ll have study notes for quizzes and tests.

2. Quizzes, Tests, and Projects (things with grades on them). Signatures required!

In the Classroom:
1. Follow all the rules of St. Luke’s School.
2. Be on time and prepared. Being late disturbs others.
3. Do all homework to the best of your ability so that you can participate fully in class.
4. Respect the property of others and treat your own things well.
5. Be polite at all times.
6. Be responsible when absent by asking for and completing all makeup work.
7. Help making learning a top priority in this classroom!
8. Laugh and smile frequently throughout the day.

GRADING: Assignments are recorded as points in the grade book, and grades are given based on an attained percentage of points. I will only mark letter grades on quizzes, tests, writing assignments, and projects, not on homework.
A 93 – 100 B+ 87 – 89 C+ 77 - 79 D 65-69
A- 90 – 92 B 83 – 86 C 73 – 76 Below 64 does not
B- 80 – 82 C- 70 – 72 meet requirements

Two Types of Grades:
Grades are divided into two main parts which are equally important to the final mark each trimester. Hard work and organization are just as important as testing for success (in real life as well as in school).

Daily Grades (1/2) Test Grades and Project Grades (1/2)
Homework Major tests Creative projects
In-class assignments Quizzes Presentations
Group work Pop quizzes Research reports
Participation In-class essays Take-home essays

I prefer to solve homework problems directly with you. However, I will inform parents and Ms. Spyropoulos about multiple missing or late assignments, or if you make a C- or below (below 73) on any test, quiz, or project (not pop quizzes).

Please ask for help when you need it. You may also email me at: If I am online, I will be happy to “rescue” you or answer any questions you have. However, it’s best to talk to me in person. Feel free to drop by to chat or set up a time for extra help. The Eighth Grade Homeroom is your room, and I like talking to you.