I will be teaching social studies and language arts in a block format. This year, seventh grade students will continue their examination of the world by exploring different civilizations from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Italian Renaissance. Included in this time span is the Crusades and the conflict over religious beliefs. They started this last year when studying the Roman Empire. I look forward to covering this material with the students as they are avid learners of past civilizations. Once we hit the Renaissance, we will shift to Washington State History. The students will spend the last part of the second trimester and all of the third trimester learning about their state history. They will learn quite a bit about the territory and treaty making. The study will be quite intense as this is a high school graduation requirement. Throughout the year, they will participate in numerous activities and have the chance to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. My focus is to improve their critical thinking skills and make sure they can transfer their knowledge of the past into the present.
The eighth grade class will focus on the formation of the United States of America and its development until the 1900's. In that time frame, we will study the growing pains the US had as it expanded its borders, and the conflicts that emerged as a result of that expansion. They will build on their knowledge of Native Americans they learned last year, and understand the incidents that led up to the conflicts and the government actions of moving the Native Americans onto reservations. Along with this, they will learn about the many cultural groups that impacted the United States. They will understand how the country's citizens worked together to help build the greatest nation in the world. They will learn about the own family immigration story and about the numerous innovations that resulted from the rapid growth of the United States.
In writing, I am having the students, in both seventh and eighth grade, practice writing for different purposes and audiences. They will continue to hone their craft and become adept at five paragraph essays.
In reading, they will continue increasing their reading stamina and read several novels. They will have numerous opportunities to write literary analysis papers and essays about the different literary components. They will learn to show empathy towards characters enabling them to scrutinize a character's motivation. Reading a variety of novels, the students will be better prepared for the rigors of high school.