Social Studies Course Outline

 Eighth Grade Social Studies: Mrs. Bryant


“Social studies is the study of us… of people and their interactions, both past and present.  Students learn that the past and the present interact inseparably, which helps us to understand the world and our place in it.” Mike Schmoker


The Course

In this course we will be studying American History; our focus will be the time period between Colonization and the Reconstruction.  We will explore how and why our country and government were formed, why people moved west, and finally why our country was torn apart. We will also spend a lot of time discussing current events.  Although our content will be social studies, we will concentrate heavily on literacy skills.  You will be expected to write and read regularly, and to show a high level of craftsmanship and critical thinking skills in all your work.

Our primary goal in eighth grade is to prepare you for high school.  The habits and skills that you develop this year will determine the level at which you will begin your high school experience next fall.  Your eighth grade teachers expect you to achieve your “personal best” and here is how:


Have these materials with you every day:

  • Social Studies Journal (this can be kept in in your portfolio file in the room).
  • Writing utensil such as a pencil (with an eraser) or pen
  • Highlighters
  • A manual pencil sharpener
  • Current Assignment
  • Planner
  • A Good Attitude

Work hard
 Grades will be based on the following Common Assessment Rubric:
Exceptional (6)
Wow! Work is complete, thorough and unique. You express complex connections beyond what was required or expected. Your thinking, communication and presentation demonstrate advanced craftsmanship.
Accomplished (5)
You got it! Work is complete and demonstrates a high level of understanding and craftsmanship. You show evidence of comprehending the material, applying it, and communicating clearly what you learned.
Sufficient (4)
Good work! Work satisfactorily demonstrates an understanding of key concepts. Your work shows minor errors, or a need for improvement in craftsmanship and/or better communication of what you learned.
Developing (3)
Keep going! You demonstrate effort toward learning and are getting closer to the target(s). Work needs revision or additions to demonstrate thorough understanding or craftsmanship.
Inadequate (2)
Try again! Work demonstrates a lack of understanding, is incomplete or incorrect.
Major revisions or additions are required to show competency.
Minimal (1)Very little work completed or accurate


Maintain academic integrity Your eighth grade teachers expect you to have integrity while completing assignments, this means that you do your own work.  If you copy someone else’s work, or let someone else copy your work, you may think you aren’t really hurting anyone or anything, but… you are.  If you copy, you are putting yourself at risk of missing valuable learning experiences. Plus, you don’t want to make needless withdrawals from your emotional bank account.  Cheating will earn you an office referral.  Plagiarism (copying work from any source without quoting the author) is also cheating.  Cheating will carry serious consequences.  Be smart and don’t make a bad choice!


Turn your work in on time! Deadlines matter!

An assignment is LATE if it is not fully completed when it is due.  If an assignment is turned in late it cannot be revised!! 


If you are absent you need to be responsible:

1)  Check the small whiteboard in the classroom marked “This Week” to see what you missed.

2)  Email or talk to a friend that is in your class.

3)  Talk to me about what you missed… do this before 9:15, after class, during office hours, or during other breaks in the day when I am not directly addressing a class.   When class is starting or when class is ending is not a good time. If you return to school after an absence then email me to ask what you missed, my response to that email will always be “COME SEE ME”.  If you are going on vacation during the school year you will need to make up the missed work when you return.
Maintain a high level of craftsmanship     No matter what job you have, that job is your craft; craftsmanship is the quality of the work you produce. Right now being an eighth grade student is your job.  I will always expect your best effort when completing assignments. My expectations are that you achieve your personal best at all times.  Take pride in your work!  Your name is on it, and your hard work is a reflection of who you are as a student.

Revise when possible

Follow these simple steps:
1Make sure the assignment is revisable, the opportunity is not always available.

  1. Complete the required pre-revision tasks; this will vary from assignment to assignment.
    2. Schedule a revision conference with Mrs. Bryant (during office hours). Come see me if you have any questions about scheduling. During this revision conference we will be discussing what you have changed and why.


    Revising is:
    Adding new sentences and words
    Removing words or sentences you do not need
    Moving a word or sentence
    Substituting words or sentences for new ones
    Revising is not:
    Editing, such as correcting capitalization, spelling,  punctuation errors, or correcting usage of nouns and verbs.
    Completing an incomplete assignment is not a revision!


If You Need Help
If you do not let me know that you need help then I won’t know.  It is a really good idea that you advocate for yourself.  Which means if you have an issue of any kind please come and talk to me about it.  Take advantage of office hours, but if your issue cannot wait until the next available office hour day then come speak with me and we will work out a convenient time for both of us.


May 2018
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