the Cold War


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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How does our history as a nation of immigrants affect our perception of our country, the United States? In this unit, we will discuss what it means to be  American. We will explore where many of our ancestors came from and how immigrants came to the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Essential Questions include:

  • “Why do people immigrate?
  • Why are people considered ‘desirable,’ or undesirable?
  • How are immigrants assimilated into society?”

Click “more” for details on the unit.


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World War II Anchor Activity Ideas and Resources

 Small Anchor Activity Ideas

  • Primary Source Analysis
  • Watch a Crash Course Video and create three good questions about things that you learned
  • Find a picture that is representative of a future chapter in Bomb, by Steve Sheinkin, e-mail it do Mr. DesMarais before we read the chapter
  • Read an Upfront Magazine Article about the time period, isolate the main idea with 3 supporting key details: Find Upfront Articles from each unit here!

Internet Resources

Historical Fiction Suggestions

Primary Sources

Potential Research Topics

 Crash Course WWII Videos

Crash Course US History Part 1

Crash Course US History Part 2

Crash Course World History

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The Social Contract

socialcontractIn our current unit, we begin to discuss and constructour 7th/8th 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, we will work towards consensus in creating the agreement that we use to govern our 7th/8th grade team.

Check back soon!

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Community Asset Maps


This week we will begin tolearn about sociology with our Neighborhood Map project. We will start the week by discussing what community assets are and where we find them in our neighborhoods. Our discussion of community assets will culminate in creating a “my map”-using the google map program-which will outline things that we find valuable in our towns and neighborhoods.


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Welcome Back!

growthmindsetWelcome back 8th grade! As you have undoubtedly noticed by now, we begin the year with a unit on how we learn as individuals. 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, September 24th.

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

Resources and Handouts


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Beyond Eco-Phobia

sobeldavidDavid Sobel, Antioch University Department of Education, is a pioneer philosopher and teacher of Place Based Education. In this landmark essay, “Beyond Ecophobia,” from a 1995 issue of Orion Magazine, he outlines some of the successes and failures of our attempts at creating environmentally literate students. He later developed his research and analysis into the literacy series of the same name as well as other place-based works such as Map Making with Children, Know Nukes: Controversy in the Classroom,  and Childhood and Nature.

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Guns, Germs, and Steel: Understanding Global Inequality

“Why do some nations have so much material wealth while so many others have so little?” This question framed the thesis for Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs, and Steel.  After discussing a time in global history when all societies were roughly equal (over 13,000 years ago), Diamond discusses key variables that led to highly complex, material-rich societies, while others developed at much slower rates.


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Free Documentaries

documentaryCheck out these great resources for documentary films, compiled by Matt Henchen of Harwood Union High School’s History Department.



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Howard Zinn and Big Think

Click here to listen to one of the most influential and popular contemporary U.S. historians.

Howard Zinn, 1922-2010 was an activist, historian, political scientist, social critic, playwright, and  author of the bestseller A People’s History of the United States(more…)

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