Author Archives: Cliff

About Cliff

Hi, my name is Cliff Des Marais and I teach 7th and 8th grade Social Studies at Bellows Falls Middle School in Bellows Falls, VT.

World War II

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How did the Great Depression affect political life in Germany and Japan? What were the issues that led to World War II? What role should the United States play in foreign affairs? These are our essential questions as we explore World War II in grade 8 social studies. Click on “more” to see details of the assignments that we have completed in class.

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Causes of the Civil War

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How do economic, social and cultural factors lead to civil wars? How do the issues of the American Civil War continue to affect our country today? These are the essential questions that we will seek to understand as we begin our investigation into the causes of the Civil War. (more…)

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Human Rights

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What is a natural right? How has the protection of rights changed over time? What rights are protected by our Constitution, and what are the limits of our rights? We will ask these questions in this unit as we explore the Bill of Rights, the concept of human rights in general, and as we introduce the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human rights. Click more to see some details of this unit.

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Booms and Busts

depressionOverview

As the first world war comes to a close, the nations of the world have a variety of issues and conflicts to confront. Social unrest becomes the new norm in much of war-torn Europe while the United States is able to avoid most of the complications of the post-war years. Revolution dramatically alters Europe as two global superpowers emerge. As most Americans experience the frantic pace of change of the “roaring twenties,” others find it difficult just to get by. America’s post-war prosperity is unfortunately not able to last.

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American Government

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In this unit, we begin our discussion of the framework of American Government. Part history and part political science, in this unit we’ll discuss the historic forces that shaped our federal government as well as how our government works.

 

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World War I

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The First World War, originally referred to as, “The Great War” or “the War to end all Wars,” is an interesting study for a number of reasons. World War one is the first major war of the 20th century. It brings in the widespread use of modern technological weapons such as the machine gun, the airplane, the tank and poison gas. In addition, it begins an era of international politics which pits the importance of both ethnic and linguistic divisions against the forces of nationalism, and empire. Many historians argue that the first world war represents a transition from the innocence of an earlier age where war is viewed as heroic and courageous to a more realistic perspective that tells the true nature of such a complex phenomena as war. The end result is a world not only with a dramatically re-drawn political map, but a new era of modern global conflicts. Click “more” to see details about this unit, or click on Last year’s World War I Test to see the type of summative assessment you will be asked to complete. Click below to see the details as we continue through this unit.

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Virtue, Mirror Neurons, and the Social Contract

mirrorbrainGreetings folks,

Thanks for checking in. If this is your first time here, welcome to the blog. In these posts you can find quick updates regarding what we are currently studying in 7th grade social studies. For our first unit of study we have been focusing on virtue, integrity, and the social contract. In this unit we will begin to discuss and construct our 7th grade team’s social contract. A Social Contract is “an agreement between the members of a group where each person  identifies the duties and responsibilities of the people involved.” In order to help us succeed in our goals this year, we will work towards consensus in creating the agreement that we use to govern our 7th grade team. Enjoy our transition back into academics and don’t forget to bring your family to open house on Wednesday, October 28.

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Welcome Back!

fullsizerender-17Thanks for checking in. If this is your first time here, welcome to the blog. In these posts you can find quick updates regarding what we are currently studying in 8th grade social studies.

For our first unit we explore how we learn as individuals and we discuss the importance of social studies. How does our brain work? How can we work together to function and have fun while learning as a class? What does it mean to have a “growth mindset?” For the first part of our unit we will work on group dynamics, learn class routines, and talk about the way we learn. The second part of this first unit includes exploration into the social studies. We’ll discuss what disciplines make up the social studies and what part of the human experience each discipline studies. Enjoy our transition back into academics and don’t forget to bring your family to open house on Wednesday, October 28.

Remember, fair isn’t everyone getting the same thing. Fair is everyone getting what they need!

 

ALSO CHECK OUT YOUR AMAZING STUDENT’S WORK BY CLICKING MORE!

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Happy Summer!

Enjoy your vacation!

Plant a garden. Read something interesting. Find new places. Climb a tree. Play in the streets. Go into the woods. Swim in a river. Run through the fields. Climb a mountain. TURN OFF YOUR DEVICES. Ignore facebook. Smash your television. Write something about anything. Hug your parents. Thank someone. Learn to sew. Meet people. Do something new. Experience life in the world.

And by all means, write Mr. D. an e-mail and tell him all about it!

FerryBeach

 

 

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the Cold War

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You’ll find out real soon, that there wasn’t much cold about this one… Two global superpowers battle for supremacy. Citizens of the world live in constant fear of nuclear war, and the “cold war” ultimately gets hashed out in battlefields not of the U.S.S.R. or the U.S.A., but in the countries that these superpowers hold influence over. Click “more” for details on our Cold War unit.

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