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Archive for July, 2011

Week of August 6

July 28th, 2011 Comments off

Welcome to 8th Grade Social Studies!

This year, students will be embarking on an academic journey that will take them around the world and expose them to many current global issues.  The primary focus of 8th grade social studies will be on current issues and will involve students in reading about, researching, critically thinking, discussing, and debating complex issues and developing workable solutions to global concerns.

Our first quarter theme is “SYSTEMS” and in social studies, we will examine the role of international systems of governance.  Central to this will be a study of the United Nations, its history the role it plays in global issues, and its strengths and weaknesses.  At the end of the quarter, students will participate in a model United Nations conference in which they debate and attempt to solve a global issue as yet to be determined by the high school MUN students who will be serving as chairs for this conference.

As our primary focus will be on current issues this year, current events will be an important focus in this class.  An understanding of current events is essential in establishing successful global citizens.  Beginning at the end of August, students will have a regular weekly assignment referred to as Read and Respond.  More details about this will come at that time.  In addition to the weekly Read and Respond, students will be putting their current events knowledge on display every Monday in a game called Current Events Football League (CEFL).  Though the game sounds like a sporting event, a knowledge of current events is all that is needed to succeed in this game.

Assignments:  Most assignments in this class will be submitted electronically through GoogleDocs.  This means that often times, assignments will have a due time outside of school hours.  GoogleDocs is used in my classroom for several reasons, including (1) reduction in the use of paper which often assists with , (2) easier organization for students, as most SS assignments will not be in a folder or backpack, (3)  ability to provide students with quicker feedback, (4) ability for students to work collaboratively on some written assignments, and (5) enabling students to work with technological applications that will benefit them in the present and future.  While technology can be frustrating at times, its advantages significantly outweigh any drawbacks.  For any problem that comes up, there is always a solution, and an important part of being an 8th grader is to demonstrate responsibility and adaptability to different situations.  There will be times this year when the internet goes out, but that will not change assignment due dates.  We will discuss in class how responsible and adaptable students can work around these issues.

Supplies for this class:

1.  Pens / pencils must be brought to class every day

2.  Notebook – separate from other subjects as this is something that will be handed in periodically

3.  Flash/thumb drive – due to our extensive use of technology in this class, a flash drive will come in handy at times

4.  Colored pencils – we will be using colored pencils in class at times for making maps and other projects

5.  Laptop** – a laptop is NOT required for this class, but many 8th graders do find it convenient and by 9th grade most students are working on laptops.  We will be using computers regularly in class, and some students like the consistency of working on their own machine rather than computers in the school lab.  Of course, the school labs are sufficient for assignments in this class.  The decision about an individual laptop is up to families.

I look forward to getting to know students and parents this year, and am excited about the school year ahead.

Mr. Eric Hamlin

8th Grade Social Studies Teacher

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