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8
th
grade U.S. History, 2014-2015:
Course syllabus and overview

Ms. Fillingham, Room 228
efillingham@roycemoreschool.org



Course overview:

8th Grade U.S. History is designed as a survey course through American History. This course
will start with the discovery of North America through the Cold War (note: this schedule is
tentative, and we may go beyond the Cold War). Unfortunately, it is impossible to go over each
time period and event in American History, so students will get the opportunity to delve into a
topic of interest in U.S. history in an independent project during the 4
th
quarter. Students will
gain an understanding of the chronological and thematic history of the United States from the
late 15
th
Century through the 21st Century, with relevant current events included in history
context, throughout.

Students will develop a deepened understanding of the following processes and skills: reading
and communication; inquiry, research, and analysis; public discourse and decision making; and
citizen involvement, as they build the general social studies knowledge that will form the
foundation for high school social studies instruction.

Communications:

Our class website is http://fillinghamclass.wordpress.com under the tab “8
th
Grade U.S. History.”
You should utilize the website for keeping up to date on assignments, homework, and other
important information for the class.

Do not hesitate to contact me at efillingham@roycemoreschool.org with any questions or
concerns about the class. I will try my best to respond to you as soon as possible, but please note
that I do not check and respond to email after 5pm on weekdays. During weekends, my response
may be more intermittent, where I usually check my email once on Sundays.
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We can also meet before or after school at anytime in my classroom (Room 228) or in the
library, just please make sure to contact me beforehand so I will be sure to be there.

Required books:

• Creating America: A History of the United States (McDougal Littell, 2007)
• Other reading materials which I will hand out in class and/or provide on our website
online

Required materials: It is imperative that you keep all of the materials and notes for this class
organized neatly. If you need tips about organization for this class, feel free to reach out to me.
Every day, please bring the following:

• Pen and/or pencil
• Binder: to keep class materials organized in a neat fashion. This will not only act as a
place to keep handouts and readings, but also to keep your notes on looseleaf paper. Your
binder will be graded at the end of each quarter, and it will contribute to your class
participation grade. If you lose your binder prior to the end of a quarter, you will
have to make up each assignment or else you will receive a 50% F for the notebook
grade.
• Assignment notebook: to write down the homework and other minor/major assignments

Homework

Homework will be assigned most nights. When you enter the classroom, you will get out your
homework and place it on the desk while doing a warm-up activity. Most homework assignments
will not be turned in. While you complete the warm-up, Ms. Fillingham will go around the
classroom and put homework grades in Engrade. Grades are the following:

5/5: On time and complete
4/5: On time and mostly complete
3.5/5: One day late and complete
3/5: Two days late and complete
2.5/5: More than two days late

As you can see from the rubric above, I am looking for completion. The purpose of homework is
for you to practice a skill that you’ve already learned in the classroom. However, the goal is to
not complete your homework as fast as possible; you should complete each assignment with
rigor and effort. The more effort you put into your homework, the better you will do on your
quizzes, tests, and projects.

Students are responsible for writing their assignments in their planner and are given time in class
each day to do so. All assignments are due the following day unless otherwise noted. Many
items will also be posted on the Roycemore Middle School blog as a courtesy; however, this
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should not be used as the sole source of information for assignments. All students are
responsible for keeping their planners up to date based on in-class information.

Grade Criteria, Trying Your Best, and Asking for Help:

There will several opportunities for you to show what you have accomplished in this class. Your
grade will be comprised of several assignments, including but not limited to: homework (almost
daily), writing assignments, class participation, group and individual projects, quizzes, tests, and
the semester exam.

You can access your grades online at Engrade and I suggest you check your grade every week.
During the first week of class, I will give you your Engrade login information. Please note that I
usually do not update my gradebook daily. If your grades have not been updated for more than a
week, please come see me.

I understand that students are at different levels in terms of learning history, but I want each
student to try your best. If you think this class is too easy, please let me know. If you think the
class is too difficult, please let me know. I will try my best to provide assignments that suit each
student’s need and ability, but if you don’t communicate with me, it will be hard to know what is
easy or difficult for you. Do not be afraid to reach out and contact me with any questions or
concerns you have about the class.

Grade makeup:
Class participation (includes discussion & binder grade): 25%
Quizzes/Tests-25%
Projects-25%
Homework-25%

Class expectations:

Class expectations established by the Roycemore Middle School are enforced in Ms.
Fillingham’s classroom. These policies are consistently enforced throughout the school year and
are reviewed at the beginning of each quarter. Each student is expected to know, understand and
follow these policies. If you feel class or school policies need clarification speak with Ms.
Fillingham directly.

Attendance: Prompt daily attendance is expected. All students must be seated in the classroom
and prepared to learn when the bell rings. That means coming into the classroom quietly (no
talking), grabbing a “Warm-up Activity” sheet, go to your assigned desk, complete the Warm-
up Activity, and write down any upcoming assignments that will be projected on the board.

If you are late, you will be handed a check slip to fill out. This will be handed over to Ms. Di
Iorio at the end of each day, and will factor into your SHIELD/House points.

Approved school activities do not count against attendance, provided the student attends the
activities and is doing satisfactory work in class. Additionally, if a student is aware of up-
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coming absences, it is her/his responsibility to inform Ms. Fillingham before the absences and
arrange make-up or alternative work (Always look at the “makeup folder” in the front of the
class when you return). A friend in class is helpful to collect materials and information if you are
absent.

Classroom behavior: You are a member of a community of learners. For any community to
thrive, certain concepts must be embraced. In our classroom community, I expect everyone to
abide by the Roycemore Middle School expectations that were established in the beginning of
the year.

Cheating, copying, and plagiarism: Cheating, copying and plagiarism are serious acts of
academic dishonesty that are not tolerated. All team teachers, parents of students involved and
the program coordinator will be informed of such behavior.

Students who cheat receive a zero for the assignment or exam. Students involved in copying of
work receive a zero for the assignment or exam, including any student allowing the copying to
take place. Students who plagiarize the first time will receive a zero for that assignment, a check
slip to Ms. Di Iorio (which will factor into SHIELD/House points), and a warning. Students who
plagiarize subsequently after the first time will receive a check slip to Ms. Di Iorio (which will
factor into SHIELD/House points) and a failing grade for that quarter.

Plagiarism is the use of another’s ideas or expression without appropriate acknowledgement of
the source. Examples of plagiarism include failure to give appropriate acknowledgement when
repeating another’s phrase, sentence or paragraph; failure to give appropriate acknowledgement
when paraphrasing another’s thesis or argument; failure to give appropriate acknowledgement
when presenting another’s line of thinking; or, turning in a paper for a current course that was
written for another course.

Plagiarism, like cheating and copying, results in serious consequences. I have found that in my
teaching experience, many students are unaware of what constitutes plagiarism, cheating, and
copying. If students or family members have questions or need clarifications about this, please
talk to Ms. Fillingham.














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