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8th grade Social Studies Course Syllabus

8th Grade – Unites States History Prior to Reconstruction 

           Rachael Yaden                                             


Telephone: 606-365-8400 

Course Description 

Welcome to 8th grade U.S. History! I hope that you will find this class interesting, informative—and fun! You will be working very hard to develop new skills and understand new concepts this year. I strongly believe in challenging students through a variety of activities that will make history “come alive”. This syllabus will give you information about how to become a productive member of my classroom, so that you become your very best by doing your very best. I am looking forward to what we can accomplish this year. 


You will be learning about the people and events that created our nation and government, formed our society, and shaped our beliefs and principles.  In this course you will study the history of the United States from the exploration era up to the period known as Reconstruction.  You will also be immersed in primary and secondary sources where you will sharpen your critical thinking skills, practice your 21st century skills, and learn to defend your opinion by citing evidence. 


Course Materials & Resources 


Textbook:           A variety of textbooks – classroom sets (History Alive! The US Through Industrialism, The American Nation, America: The History of Our Nation) 

Digital Resources (Apps):Edmodo, EdPuzzle, Remind, Thinglink, ChatterPix, Twitter, Instagram  

Digital Resources (Web Sites):Edmodo, EdPuzzle, YouTube, Monitcello, Mount Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg 

Materials Required: Composition Notebook, Colored Pencils, Pencil, Loose-Leaf Paper, 1” 3-Ring Binder, 8-tab Dividers 


What We’re Learning 

  • Three World Collide: Students will explore the variety within the land of the continental United States. Students will also study the impact of the geography upon both the Native Americans and the European Explorers.  Students will discover the myriad of influences of the early African and European settlers. 

  • Colonization: Students will learn about the English colonies – the regional differences, as well as what day-to-day life was like. Students will compare life then to life today. 

  • Revolution: Students will explore the mounting tensions between the American colonies and the Motherland – Britain. Students will investigate the causes of the American Revolution and its impact. 

  • Constitution: Students will learn about the ultimate Law of the Land – the U.S. Constitution. Students will look at how it guides our country. Students will also investigate how the Constitution provides a framework for our working government. 

  • A Young Nation: Students will explore the developments of the young country, including political developments, foreign affairs and the growth of democracy. 

  • Expansion: Students will study how American felt it was their God-given right to expand – expand their borders, expand their reforms, and expand their technology. Students will also discover that many “traditionally” American customs were actually traditions borrowed and adapted from a variety of rich cultures that came to America to be part of the “the great American melting  pot.”  

  • Conflict: Students will discover the causes of the Civil War that almost tore this country apart. Students will also discuss whether or not those issues are still present in current society. 



This section needs to be the same for all teachers of the course.  

  • Grading Practices: 



Types of Assessment 

Weighted % Score 





Extended Responses 

On-Demand Writing 

Included in 70% 



Short Writes 

Short Answers 

Included in 70% 






Common Assessment multiple choice 

Included in 70% 


Approximately 20 points 

Learning Checks 

Included in 70% 


At the discretion of the teacher 




  • While homework is not routinely assigned, there may be occasions  when what was begun in class must be finished for homework. Students will always be given time to complete independent work, but we recognize that sometimes things happen: students may be off-task, we may have class interruptions, or sometimes students just need a little extra time.This will be considered a "classwork" score. 

  • Students will receive a unit self-assessment with all relevant standards listed. Each student is responsible for tracking and recording their mastery of each standard. In addition, all assessments (short writes, learning checks, and common assessments) will have standards attached to each item (to be kept in the 3-ring binder).  

  • Student grades will not be penalized for absences, late work, or behavior issues. You may turn in missing and late work up to TWO WEEKS after the assigned due date. However, missing work after this time WILL result in a zero score. We do not offer or accept extra credit.  

  • Student grades will be calculated by using the following weighted scale: 70% assessments (learning checks, short writes, and common assessments) and 30% classroom activities (graphic organizers, timelines, political cartoons, foldables, vocabulary). 

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