Weekly David Cluster Newsletter Blurb:
This week, we wrapped up (get it?!?) our Egypt unit. Students had fun debating who artifacts belong to (the archaeologists who find them? The culture they represent? The country they were found in?) and wrote concluding letters or TREES paragraphs about Egyptian daily life and religion in Egypt.
Next week, we’ll delve deeper into the continent of Africa. Our first lesson will be on assumptions. Africa is so diverse but is often stereotyped and homogenized, so I will be introducing students to the diversity of the continent right away. As usual, we’ll truly begin the unit with geography, climate, and resources. The study will continue with the civilizations of Ghana and Mali. We will eventually discuss colonization in Africa, and do some modern-day case studies on South Africa, Kenya, and Sudan. Africa is a major unit of study that will take us into March.
Our Essential Questions
How does where you live affect how you live?
How can we understand multiple values and beliefs?
How are people and places shaped by their history?
How do activists promote change?
In what ways are we Global Citizens?
What is Civility?
Civility is claiming and caring for one's identity, needs, and beliefs, without degrading someone eles's in the process
-Institute for Civility in Government
Resources for parents of 6th grade social studies students:
The following is a compilation of resources that you might find interesting as a way to connect with your sixth grader around the curriculum they are studying. They also lend themselves to great discussions at the dinner table!
BOOKS FOR ADULTS: (topics of interest and study; books are only appropriate for adults)
Note: We have viewed most but not all of these. All come highly recommended from credible sources.
BOOKS FOR KIDS: (we will read some of these in class)
TED TALKS AND THE LIKE:
8th grade information for parents:
EIGHTH GRADE SOCIAL STUDIES
I. In social studies this year we will be answering two essential questions:
II. Goals of 8th grade social studies:
III. Curriculum outline:
Unit One: Foundations of Justice
In this unit we explore the important roles governments play in establishing justice. We discuss the idea of "unalienable rights" through a close examination of the Declaration of Independence. Then, we study the layout of our national government. Finally, we learn about the Bill of Rights, paying close attention to the First Amendment. In this unit, we will debate a number of Supreme Court cases involving the rights of adolescents.
Unit Two: Fighting for Justice
In this unit we explore the ways activists have worked to create just communities. We begin by the unit by learning about the struggle for women's rights. We study the events at Seneca Falls, look at the struggle for suffrage, and explore the second wave of feminism. Then we will shift gears and examine how young and old activists fought against racial discrimination, including an exploration of the philosophy and practice of nonviolence. We’ll end the unit by looking at the struggle for equal education, including an in-depth comparison of the integration in Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957 and Boston Public Schools in 1974. In this unit, we’ll be reading the novel The Rock and The River about a young man in Chicago, who must choose between using nonviolence and following a more extreme path towards justice. We’ll end the unit by analyzing how people memorialize the fight for justice. This activity will help us prepare for our trip to D.C.
Unit Three: Justice Denied
In this unit we explore the role of ordinary people in fighting injustice and creating just communities. We examine what happens when governments and citizens fail to protect the rights of people. Our primary focus is the Holocaust, the systematic murder of six million Jews by the Nazi government and its collaborators. Our goal is to wrestle with the complex moral question surrounding this tragedy. We study the origins of anti-Semitism and the rise of Hitler. Together, we will try to understand why many Germans supported the Nazi party. Through reading a work of historical fiction called The Boy Who Dared, we will also examine the ways in which some men and women resisted the Nazi powers. Finally, we will ask who bears responsibility for the Holocaust.
IV. Assignments and assessment:
I believe grades serve two important purposes in school. First, they offer students feedback about their progress and achievement. Second, they can motivate students to work harder and learn more. Each quarter students’ grades will be computed using a total points system. I want students to master all of the skills and concepts we are learning together. Therefore, students may revise all projects in social studies class until they demonstrate that they have mastered these skills and concepts. I will only record the highest grade in my gradebook.
The most significant part of grades will be students’ performance on projects. I have found that written projects are the most effective (and most engaging) way for students to demonstrate that they have mastered teach topic we cover. Some of the projects students will work on include
8th grade newsletter:
Happy New Year! I write to ask your help with two upcoming social studies events:
1) In class yesterday, students were introduced to our next project, an oral history about the women's rights movement. Students will be interviewing an adult who can share her/his experiences with changing gender roles. I suggested several potential interview topics:
When students complete the interview, they will transcribe it and analyze it, using five questions assigned in class. I have shared an example of an interview I conducted with my sister, so that students know exactly what is expected.
Thanks for your support. If you would like more information about this project, please ask you son/daughter to show you the documents on Google Classroom, or feel free to email me.
2) A reminder about our upcoming Film Screening. Please mark your calendars! On Thursday, January 26th, at 7PM we will be hosting a screening of the film Soundtrack for a Revolution in the WMS Theater. Parents are invited to join their sons and daughters to view this powerful documentary that tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement through songs. For students who are unable to attend the Thursday night screening, we'll have an after school event and copies of the film to borrow and view at home. Here's a link to a trailer for the film: Soundtrack for a Revolution Trailer.