U.S. History

"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
-Aldous Huxley

Mr. Leighty's Calendar

Lakota Sioux Chief Sitting Bull

John Leighty
303-982-9907 (voicemail)

Welcome to 8th Grade Social Studies!

This year we will study the historical foundations and democratic principles that continue to shape our city, state, and nation.

Our 8th grade American history class will cover four different units: Foundations of a Nation, Westward Expansion, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.  Each will offer an invigorating look at how the United States progressed over time and will give us an understanding of how the U.S. came to be what we know it as today.  Important documents for each unit can be found in the left-hand column under each designated unit.  Be sure to check there first if you happen to lose an assignment or worksheet.

Note: We will complete a mini-lesson between the Civil War and Reconstruction covering personal finances.  Information about the content can be found under Unit 3.5: Personal Finances on the left-hand column under U.S. History.

(The movies listed below pertain to our learning throughout the course of the year; however, many of them are quite graphic* and should be approved by a parent or guardian before viewing)

12 Years a Slave*
(About a free black man kidnapped in the North and sold into slavery in the South before the war)

(About a Spanish slave ship in the 1700's)

Amazing Grace
(About the abolition of the slave trade in England)

Blood Diamond*
(About modern-day child slavery in Africa)

The Conspirator
(About the seven men and one woman charged with conspiring to kill President Lincoln)
Dances With Wolves*
(About a Civil War lieutenant who moves out west and assimilates into a Sioux Tribe)

John Adams*
(HBO mini-series about President John Adams)

(About President Lincoln's struggles in office during the Civil War)

Lord of the Flies*
(Depicts what life might be like in a "state of nature")

(Adaptation of the book "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara)

(About the 54th Massachusetts -- The 1st all African-American military regiment)
(We will watch the edited-for-school version of this movie after the Civil War unit)

Gods & Generals*
(The prequel to the movie "Gettysburg")

The Patriot*
(About a farmer who leads a rogue militia against the British Army during the Revolution)

(About a couple in 1960's Virginia that leads to a Supreme Court case on interracial marriage)

(Most of the books listed below are advanced readings; however, we will use excerpts from some of them in class* as part of our curriculum to help supplement our learning)

by: David McCullough
(Follows George Washington through the most important year of the Revolutionary War)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee*
by: Dee Brown
(Chronicles the history and displacement of Native Americans in the West)
Founding Brothers
by: Joseph J. Ellis
(Examines the lives of our prominent founding fathers in post-Revolutionary America)

John Adams
by: David McCullough
(A brilliant biography about our second president John Adams)

Johnny Tremain
by: Esther Forbes
(Follows an apprentice silversmith through important times of the Revolution)

The Killer Angels
by: Michael Shaara
(Tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg and uses characters based on real historical figures)

Lies My Teacher Told Me
by: James W. Loewen
(Presents themes that are ignored in traditional history textbooks)

Nothing Like It in the World*
by: Stephen E. Ambrose
(Narrative history about the Transcontinental Railroad that connected the east and west coasts)

A People's History of the United States*
by: Howard Zinn
(Presents an alternate interpretation of U.S. History that's viewed through the lens of the minority)

The Red Badge of Courage
by: Stephen Crane
(Follows Union private Henry Fleming as he faces the decision to turn and run or stay and fight)

Uncle Tom's Cabin
by: Harriet Beecher Stowe
(An anti-slavery novel that's said to be one of the causes of the Civil War)

Undaunted Courage*
by: Stephen E. Ambrose
(Outlines the Lewis & Clark Expedition using letters written by members of the Corps of Discovery)

We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher*
by: Helena Huntington Smith
(E.C. "Teddy Blue" Abbott's account of cowboy life on the cattle drives from Texas to Montana)

History Websites

Just Who is Mr. Leighty?

I was born in Minnesota but grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is where I call home. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Geography where I played hockey for the Sooners and was a Young Life leader. I decided to move to Colorado in 2008 once I finished school and I haven't looked back since!

I love learning about history, especially U.S. History, and about the unsung heroes who have stories unfamiliar to popular culture.  When I'm not researching their stories or reading biographies, I enjoy all that Colorado life has to offer.  In the summer, I'm either on the river hunting trophy browns and colorful 'bows or golfing!  In the winter, you can find me on the back bowls at Vail or on a frozen pond playing hockey!  I also love hanging out with my eight-year-old Border Collie, Berkley.  Oh, and I live for OKLAHOMA football!


    Trophy Brown on the Blue River near Breckenridge
                                                                                      My old playing days at the University of Oklahoma

                     Hucking back bowls at Vail

                                                                                                                             Meeting OU legend Joe Washington

               Lord Stanley's Cup
                                                                                                              Deep sea fishing in Cabo San Lucas for sushi

         One of my favorite holidays: OU/tx weekend

                                                                                                        Avalanche/Red Wings outdoor game at Coors Field
    Maroon Bells with Berkley and family

                                                                                                              Skeet shooting out at the farm in Oklahoma

                      Multnomah Falls in Oregon

                                                                                                                          Rainbow on the Frying Pan near Basalt