Middle School Social Studies
Welcome to St. Patrick School!
I hope you are all enjoying your summer break. There is no summer homework for social studies.
Our 6th grade students study World Geography, which is a natural follow-on to the study of ancient world cultures in 5th grade. At the end of the year, students will present their "Adopt-a-Country" projects to the school & parents. We begin working on these projects after the Christmas break in small stages -- the school always looks forward to this! Starting last year, students were each issued a physical textbook but also had access to the online textbook.
7th graders study US History through the Civil War & Reconstruction. 8th grade begins with a unit on government & the Constituiton and then picks up with Westward Expansion and studies US History to the present day. We are updating the textbooks this year so that students will have new textbooks and access to an online textbook.
Each day, students begin class by watching "CNN10," a 10-minute current events broadcast designed for ages 11+. Quite often, one of their news stories or special features makes a connection to what we have been studying. Students also learn how to use their textbooks independently in social studies: 6th graders use guided notes and 7th & 8th graders learn to take their own notes. This will help them through high school and college classes to do more than just read when they are assigned pages to read. Our tests are a mix of simple recall (multiple choice & matching), interpretation of documents/diagrams,/short videos, and essay questions that require students to support their answers.
Although COVID restrictions have been a challenge, it has encouraged us to adapt & overcome. In terms of technology, we've become so much more adept in using online tools to create and enhance assignments & classwork. We are already familiar with our one-to-one Chromebooks, using google.classroom and the tools within it (google.docs, tests & quizzes on google.forms, google.slides, google.hangouts).
What if we have to go online again? In the spring of 2020, I presented new information through Nearpod, which allows for student activities and responses intermixed with slides and video clips. We also have practiced using google.classroom for assigning BrainPop videos & quizzes, self-paced Kahoots & Quizlets,and Flipgrid. Using a variety of teaching methods and assignments, students were able to make excellent progress as we engaged in distance learning last spring and I'm confident we can continue to build on this experience if it becomes necessary again. I'd like to give an extra shout-out to the parents who encouraged their students at home and worked with us to keep the students accountable for their learning -- we literally could not have done this without your support!