Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Branches of Power

Today in class we played a game called "Branches of Power" on iCivics.  If you are interested in checking the game out, you can click below to get to it.

Branches of Power
We played this game to help us understand what it would be like if one person or group of people controlled the entire government.  With that knowledge in mind, students were assigned a few questions to think about and respond in a paragraph.  Here's what students were asked to do:

Written Assignment 1-1: Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances
From what you have learned and read about in class, why did the Founding Fathers choose to separate the powers of government and include checks and balances on those powers? What were they trying to avoid? Finally, explain what you think could have happened had the Founding Fathers not decided to separate the powers and make sure there were checks and balances in place.

DIRECTIONS: In a Google Doc, respond to the question above in a paragraph of 4-8 sentences. Be sure to proofread and use correct spelling and grammar. This is an assignment that will be rated 1-4 I have attached the rubric with my expectations for your overall skills in learning about the government. But specifically on this assignment, keep these things in mind:

An answer that is a "4" would include:
-Several well-written sentences.
-Answers every part of the question above.
-Refers to class notes, the reading assignment, and the game you played in class.
-Is accurate in its explanation
-Successfully explains what could have happened had the Founding Fathers not set up the government the way that they did.

An answer that is a "3" would include:
-Several understandable sentences.
-Answers every part of the question above.
-Refers to class notes, the reading assignment, and/or the game you played in class.
-Shows little inaccuracy in its explanation.
-Attempts to explain what could have happened had the Founding Fathers not set up the government the way that they did.

An answer that is a "2" would include:
-Several sentences that could be written more clearly, but are still understandable.
-Answers parts of the question above, but not everything.
-Uses what you have learned in class so far.
-Shows inaccuracies (major and/or minor) throughout.

An answer that is a "1" would include:
-Few sentences, or sentences that are unclear or hard to understand.
-Answers little to no part of the question above.
-Does not use anything learned in class.
-Shows major inaccuracies throughout or is simply incorrect.

Best of luck!

Mr. J.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The 7 Principles of the Constitution

Today in class we discussed the 7 principles of the Constitution.  These are the founding beliefs and ideas that were built into our government.  We first discussed the meaning of a "constitution" as well as "democracy" before digging into these principles.  Below you can see what we took a look at in class:

These big ideas are the foundation of our government and will be important moving forward.  Students have an assignment on Google Classroom to complete that will make sure they know which principle is which.  If a little more help is needed, check out this presentation below that may also help spell out the differences.  We did not cover this one in class:

We will move on to our first 1-4 assessment of the year tomorrow dealing with checks and balances and separation of powers!  Let's make sure we all start on the right foot!

-Mr. J.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Bit of Review

So we might have gone a bit too fast yesterday...

Students were still a bit confused about their assignment today so we slowed it down for today.  I am going to attempt to clear up any misconceptions there might be about what we are trying to accomplish.

Whenever read something, we look for four major themes.  Social is pink, and involves very large groups of people or society in general.  Political is blue, and involves the government, law, and authority.  Economic is green, and involves money, production, and consumption.  Lastly, cultural is yellow, and is all about the things that make groups unique.

When we find these things in what we read, we highlight them the colors mentioned above.

From there, we write examples of the four themes in our notes.  At the bottom of our notes we write questions about things we are not sure about.  Those get answered in class.

So here's how it looks.  First we read and highlight using our four themes and their four colors:

It's ok if stuff gets missed.  It's ok if students think something is a different color than what another student thinks.  It's ok to disagree.  As long as a student can justify why they highlighted something the color they did, they are correct.  They just have to convince me they have a good point.  After we are done highlighting, we take those highlights and convert them into notes like the ones below:

When that's done, we write down questions about the things that just made no sense to us.  That way in class we have something to discuss.  Students should put a little box by the question and check it off as it gets answered.  At the end of class if it still isn't answered, the student should absolutely ask that question.

That's our inSPECt process in a nutshell.  I hope this helps!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

inSPECting a Text and Taking Notes

Today in class we talked about how to take notes on a reading assignment while looking for our four major themes.  Students worked in class to highlight examples of themes and explain their reasoning for the theme they chose.  Tonight they will copy this information into their notes and add to it as they read from The American Journey, pages 214-217.  Our goal is to identify exactly what is going on by listing out the four themes.  Tomorrow in class we will go back and discuss exactly what everything meant and sum it up.

Below is a diagram of how their notes should look in their notebook.  Only the left side is completed when students read.  The right side of the notebook should be 100% blank.  We do that in class.

Students should follow these directions to complete their notes.
Students should continue to list examples of themes and explain them in the appropriate corner of the notebook.  Information goes with the theme that students think it fits with.  After it is listed should be a few words on why it fits there.  Students are allowed to use shorthand, abbreviate, and use symbols as long as it is clear what they are saying.  Only major examples should be listed, and some themes may have more examples than others.  Some examples may fit in more than one category also.  At the bottom of the page students may list any questions about what they don't understand.  As those questions get answered tomorrow in class they check them off and jot down the answer.

Stay tuned for an example of how a completed notes page should look!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Learning how to inSPECt!

Today in class I introduced the inSPECt process.  This stands for "social, political, economic, and cultural" themes "in (the) text."  We inSPECt everything that we read in order to get more out of it.  Below you can see what we discussed in class as well as one of the handouts that was given to each student.  This work comes from Text Inspection on the Core, by Anthony Fitzpatrick.  I have personalized his ideas for my classroom and was actually featured in his book!  I believe that this process well let us dig deeper into history and really get a sense of what is going on.  Look for students to be able to use these words and explain what they are learning in terms of these four themes.  We will take the next step with this work tomorrow!.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Welcome to Class!

Welcome to my classroom webpage.  I will do my best to keep everyone updated on what is going on in class!  Today we discussed the rules and procedures for social studies class.  You can take a look below to find that information.  I have also included some other information for parents about myself and the class.

Rules and Procedures

About Me

More information will be coming tomorrow!  For now, be sure to check out Class Dojo to get connected to student behavior information.  There is a smartphone app that is a great way to stay in touch!

Mr. J.