8th Grade Class Syllabus

    Grade 8 Social Studies

  Course Syllabus 2018-2019


Dear Students and Parents/Guardians:


Welcome to 8th Grade Social Studies.  I am looking forward to getting to know you and having a wonderful experience this year.  Below is a class overview. 


Areas of Study:

Social Studies

Topics of study will include U.S. History from the Revolutionary War through the 19th Century.  We will also examine American Civics through the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the three branches of government.  Other topics during the year will include the history of slavery and the American Civil War, reconstruction and immigration.  Our first social studies unit will be the Road Trip project, which includes the study of the North American continent and U.S. geography. Later in the year, students will research and debate on a Bill of Rights topic of their choice as part of their Classroom-Based Assessment.


Students will be reading and writing on a regular basis both in class and at home. Throughout the year students will improve their researching and writing skills, reading strategies, and critical thinking as they read both fiction and nonfiction texts.


Other Disciplines

Students will continue to develop their organizational and interpersonal skills while working independently and in small groups.  Every student is encouraged to enthusiastically contribute to the classroom activities and discussions.  Part of the grade a student earns in social studies is based on his/her participation and willing cooperation.


Daily Assignments and Homework

Sufficient class time will be provided for daily assignments; however, students who miss class or do not use their class time efficiently will need to complete the task as homework. There will also be some homework assigned to allow students additional independent practice of skills taught in class and to prepare students for participation in class the next day. Therefore, it is essential that students complete their assignments on time. Students will record assignments in their student planners and the class website will be updated regularly as a resource for students and parents. In addition, all assignments with due dates will be on the class whiteboard. When a student is absent from class, it is expected that he/she will check the class website. When back from an absence, he/she needs to find out what was missed by checking the Absent Student file, consulting with his/her table team, and checking with me for clarification. I am available before and after school to help students. For students who demonstrate that they need a challenge beyond what is covered in class, there are several extension projects/activities available.


Late Work

It is expected that assignments will be turned in on time.  However, students receive partial credit for late work when it is turned in within one week of an assignment’s due date. The highest grade a student can receive on late work, which meets the assignment criteria, is a C. Assignments turned in after an absence will not be counted as late.  There will be no late work accepted the last quarter of eighth grade.



Online grades will be available on Skyward and updated every two weeks. Please contact the office, if you need a reminder about your username and password.

Grades are weighted with Assignments/Homework worth 70% and Quizzes/Tests worth 30%.


The following standard grading is used for this class:

A  93- 100%        B   83 – 86.9%       C  73 – 76.9%                D     63-66.9%

A- 90 – 92.9%      B-  80 – 82.9%       C- 70 – 72.9%                D-   60-62.9%

B+ 87 – 89.9%     C+ 77 – 79.9%       D+ 67-69.9%                 F     below 60%



Students will be assessed on meeting the learning targets both during and at the end of a unit. Some assessments will be informal (not graded) and used so that I may adjust my teaching, so all students learn the skill being taught. Other assessments will be in the form of short writing, formal research writing, or class debate/discussion. Quizzes and tests will also be given. If a student does not pass a quiz, he/she may retake the quiz to receive no higher than a C- grade.


Supplies Needed (* Items Used for All Classes)

Blue Heron Planner*-received in Period 1 class                     

one spiral notebook (70 pages)                  notebook paper in ample supply*

two 2-pocket style folders                          scissors*

index cards (approximately 200)                 12 sharpened pencils*                                    

1 package of Post-Its (3 X 3 inches)            ballpoint pens (blue and black)*

1 roll of scotch tape                                   colored pencils*

pink, green, and yellow highlighter pens*     Hand-held pencil sharpener (one that holds shavings)*          

blue and black ultra-fine point Sharpies*       glue sticks*     

black fine point Sharpie*                              box of tissue & Clorox wipes (1st period class)



MOST IMPORTANT: Flash Drive/Memory Stick (2GB) to be used for all core classes. Students also need to have a novel to read every day, especially on quiz days, when they may finish early.

I also recommend having a world atlas, dictionary, and thesaurus available for home use.  These are provided in the classroom, but are not sent home with the students.



Talking with your student on a regular basis about what he/she is learning in Social Studies, checking the class website, along with reviewing assignments in your student’s planner are key methods to support your child in this class.  Please check your child’s grades online. Help your child access the website and monitor his/her academic progress in Social Studies.


It is great to have parent volunteers in class.  Please let me know if you are interested in helping out in any way, even as a guest speaker for one of our topics of study. I am especially interested in regular volunteers who provide reading, research, and writing support. 


Before/After School Assistance

I am eager to assist students to succeed academically and I am available before and after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, though students will need to arrange for transportation home after school.

Students should sign-up or make an appointment ahead of time to avoid a previously scheduled meeting. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s progress in Social Studies. The most efficient method of communication is email.



Leslie Shively

Email address lshively@ptschools.org Email works best!

Classroom 379-4540 ext. 4364

Class website www.ptschools.org (Select “BlueHeron”>“BH Staff”> “Teachers”>“Leslie Shively.”