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    Welcome to 8th grade Social Studies! 

    Course Description:   This course will engage you in a study of the ideas, events, and leaders responsible for shaping the American tradition. You will develop critical thinking and inquiry through the exposure to a breadth of knowledge about the American Founding to Contemporary times.  You will have the opportunity to work in a variety of learning situations: individually, in small groups and as a whole class. In order to be successful you must take responsibility for your learning. I am here to help you succeed and am looking forward to a great year!


    This year we plan to explore the following topics…

    • Foundations of the American Government
    • Civics/U.S. Constitution
    • Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
    • Current Events
    • Economics & Personal Finance

    Course Goals/Outcomes:  The students will be working on the Deer Valley's 8th grade curriculum for Social Studies.  We will be using the backward design district preferred teaching approach where assessments of meaningful learning objectives using critical thinking skills will be the guide to answering essential questions along with ELA College and Career Readiness standards as set by the Arizona Department of Education.  All students will participate in Deer Valley's PDSA Cycles of Learning and Goal Setting to track their individual growth. 

    By the time students complete this class they will know or be able to:

    1. Use research skills to interpret historical data.

    2. Compare and contrast historical happenings to contemporary events.

    3. Identify key ideas, cite strong and thorough textual evidence and determine author’s point of view of informational texts.

    4. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of historical subjects.

    5. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately.

    6. Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    7. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one on one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on various historical topics, primary and secondary texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


    Arizona State Social Studies Standards:  Eighth Grade History Strands emphasize the historical foundations and democratic principles that framed our Constitution and led to our form of democracy.  The content focus will be viewed through civic and economic lenses. Citizenship and civic engagement will be taught through inquiry. Eighth grade students will make connections between historical and current/contemporary issues as a basis for implementing change in society. Students will recognize and practice their roles and responsibilities as both American and global citizens. United States History will focus on the major events that have their roots in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and subsequent amendments.


    8th Grade Standards


    Necessary Materials:

    Spiral Notebook (college ruled works best)

    Agenda Book for keeping track of assignments

    Pens & Pencils

    Colored Pencils


    Glue Sticks

    General Classroom Order:

    Behavior: The following is an outline of parameters that must be followed in order to ensure optimal success in the classroom and provide for a smoothly run class. This program is designed to promote positive cooperation between parents, students, and school. School wide expectations are based on the Positive Behavioral Intervention Plan (PBIS) and the Six Pillars of Character/Growth mindset. Each student is responsible for his/her own behavior.


    “No one has the right to interfere with the learning of others.”


    School Wide Rules:

    -Be Safe
    -Be Responsible
    -Be Respectful
    -Be Kind 


    Always be safe, responsible and respectful – you may not verbally or physically disrupt the educational process of any student. Bullying will never be tolerated - either physical or verbal.  Always be prepared for class with homework and supplies.  Follow all class and school rules.


    If a student CHOOSES to violate any of these expectations, there will be consequences for their actions.

    Consequences are progressive depending on the severity of the infraction and follow the DVUSD Student Rights & Responsibility Handbook.


     Start of Class Expectations:

    • Please enter the room quietly and orderly

    • Sit in your assigned seat

    • Organize yourselves and get out all necessary materials (agenda, notebook, sharpened pencil, homework, etc…)

    • Get started immediately and silently on the warm up. The warm up is generally a review of the previous day’s lesson or a preview of that day’s lesson

    During Class Expectations:

    • Have materials ready promptly

    • Focus your attention on the lesson

    • Listen carefully and follow directions

    • Make an effort to understand what is being taught and ask sensible questions at an appropriate time

    • Keep desks and equipment clean and free from vandalism

    • No Gum, Food, or Drinks (water bottles are the only exception)


    Classroom settings:

    Whole Group- 
                Eyes front;
                Listening to the speaker; 
                Stay in seat; 
                No talking

    Work on your own; 
                Raise hand to ask for help; 
                Stay in seat; 
                No talking

    Eyes on your own paper; 
                Raise hand to ask question; 
                Stay in seat; 
                No talking

    Follow directions; 
               Get prepared in the minimum amount of time without distracting others

    Small Group
    Follow directions; 
                Stay on task;
                Talk in 12" voices (Speak quietly. You should not be heard from across the room) 
                If you have a question, ask your group members first before asking teacher
                Be willing to help if a team member needs it.

    End of Class Expectations:

    • Students will be dismissed when ALL classroom supplies are accounted for, classroom is cleared of debris, and all students are in their seat and ready to leave

    • Wait quietly in your seat until the instructor dismiss the class

    Restroom Use: As per 8th grade policy, students are not allowed to use the restroom during passing times.  It is the expectation that students will use the restroom before school, during lunch breaks and afterschool. Using the restroom during academic time should be reserved for emergencies ONLY.  Students are encouraged not to use the restroom during instructional time. In the event that one needs to leave the classroom, students must sign in/out using the log book located by the exit during the designated classroom time.

    Electronic Device Use: As a STEAM Academy, teachers may choose to periodically allow students to use technology (computers, cell phones, iPods, hand-held devices, etc.) in the classroom throughout the school year. The technology is intended to enhance the learning environment for all students; however, any use of technology that substantially degrades the learning environment, promotes dishonesty or illegal activities, is prohibited. If the instructor determines that the use of technology is a distraction to the learning process, either of the student using the technology or to those around him/her, the student may, at the discretion of the teacher, be asked to discontinue the use of technology in the classroom. Personal devices such as cell phones and music players must be stored away in the students’ backpack and not used during the school day unless directed otherwise by a teacher. Use of cell phones without teacher permission will result in confiscation of the devise until the end of the school day. 

    ClassworkMost of the work for Social Studies class will be completed within the classroom via class discussion, notes, and primary source analysis.  We will also be focused heavily on the writing process as this is a school wide initiative.

    Homework: In order to learn any new skill, you need practice. Homework is where you practice your skills. As stated in DVUSD Promotion & Retention Guide, students in eighth grade should expect to have 120 minutes (combined content areas) of homework each night.  Students should plan to spend time each night reviewing course material regardless of whether or not a formal homework assignment is given.  Study the notes and/or handouts provided during class for about 5-10 minutes.  Students should also expect current event homework each week.  Make sure all work is turned in on time and is neat and organized with proper formatting.

    Assessments:  A pretest will generally be given at the beginning of each unit. This will not count for a grade.  The pretest will be used as baseline data to guide instruction.  Students should set individual goals and track their results. Along the way, formative assessments will be given in order to track and monitor student progress.  These will count for a grade and include such items as quizzes, pop quizzes and notebook processing. A summative assessment will be given at the end of every unit, which is typically every 4 weeks. Summative assessments will consist of multiple choice, document based questions, short answer, and/or essay questions. Projects may also be considered summative assessments. In addition to unit exams, at the end of each semester there will also be final exams that are developed by the district.  The Deer Valley Social Studies Assessments or (DVSSA) consist of two exams: the multiple choice exam and the document based essay.

    Projects and long term assignments (long term assignments are those whereby the student was provided at least two weeks to complete) are due on the due date.  – No exceptions.    

    Absences & Make-up Work: The first thing you should do after you return to school is find out what you have missed. Get any notes/assignments missed during the absence from a classmate or from the absent bin.  Students will have the same number of days to make up work as the number of days absent. Any work assigned before you were absent, and was due during your absence, is due on the day you return to class with the exception of projects and long term assignments. If requesting work for an extended absence, at least 24 hour notice is necessary. Work requested early is due upon the day you return to class. Please understand that it may not always be possible to provide work ahead of time. Long-term absences will be handled on an individual basis.
    Redo & Extra Credit: Students will have advance time to study; however, in the event that a student does not demonstrate proficiency of the standard(s) retakes of an equivalent assessment is an available option. Students seeking to retake an assessment will need to complete all items on the retake contract prior to scheduling a retake. No retakes are available during the last week of the marking quarter. Students absent during a test or quiz will be required to take the test/quiz on the day of his/her return. Retakes are not available for district assessments or final exams. No extra credit assignments will be provided.
    Integrity and Character Counts: How do you act when no one is looking? Integrity is important. Any incidence of cheating will be handled according with the DVUSD handbook. Students who choose to submit work that is not their own, or provides their work for another student to copy, will receive no credit for that work and may face further behavioral consequences. According to plagiarism.org, plagiarism is defined as the following:
    • turning in someone else's work as your own

    • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit

    • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks

    • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation

    • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit

    • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not  




     Weighting of Grades: PowerSchool is Deer Valley's gradebook of record. Points are assigned for learning progressions and assessments. Assignments and grades are entered weekly, which are then automatically calculated. Powerschool grades are based on the weights of categories. The weighted categories calculate grade items as a percentage of a final grade worth 100%. The maximum points assigned to individual grade items can be any value, but their contribution towards the category they belong to and the final grade is the percentage value (weight) assigned to them. Grade items in a category count as a percentage of that category, not of the final grade. This is a common practice across DVUSD classrooms from elementary through high school in the Powerschool gradebook.  The weighting for this class is broken into two categories:  Assessments and InProcess
    Need Help? If a student feels lost in any assignment or has any concerns they need to bring it to my attention right away. If there is not time during class, an appointment can be set up that works for both parties. It may not always be obvious if a student has a question so he or she must take the initiative to seek help. Please schedule a time with me prior to coming in for assistance. I am happy to help!
    I look forward to having a successful year with every student and their family. It is an honor and a pleasure to have your trust and partnership, as I welcome your ideas and participation. Please feel free to contact me anytime. Together we will find success, make good memories and have fun in the process. Yes!
    Mrs. Nuckolls