The Past Two Weeks in History 11/5-11/16

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  • Sunday, November 18th-Tuesday, November 20th – Book Fair
  • Tuesday, November 20th – 11:30 dismissal (pds 1-4), Parent/Teacher Conferences  from 12:30 – 8:00pm
  • Wednesday, November 21st – Thanksgiving break begins!
  • Tuesday, November 27th – Future Freshman Night at LT 7 pm
  • Wednesday, November 28th – Student Council Sponsored $1 Green or Orange Dress Down

That’s Ancient History (6)

Last week we finished up our study of Mesopotamia with a test that the students rocked! Within this unit the students learned about the different aspects civilization: religion, society (social structure), government, accomplishments (written language, art, and technology) and economy (food supply). They explored how solving problems within small communities grew Mesopotamia into city-states and eventually empires. They got to learn what it was like to live during the Babylonian Empire and follow Hammurabi’s code by presenting and acting out different court cases to then be decided on by a jury of their classmates. They were shocked by the harsh and strict sentences all defendants (and some prosecutors) received.

The 6th graders have a great opportunity to get to know students from a local public school while writing to them as pen pals throughout the year. The students shared their interests, favorites, dreams/goals, and what their respective school was like. The students have loved getting to know their penpals and are excited to continue to get to know each other.

We began our new unit on Ancient Egypt this week. The students explored how much the geography of the region played a role in Egyptian’s lives by labeling and analyzing maps, questioning their motives for settling near the Nile. They also practiced their close reading skills while reading about how important the Nile was to the Egyptians, enough that they worshipped it like a god! In the short week and when we return from Thanksgiving, we will continue to discover more about Egyptian Pharaohs, each separate kingdom and its time period, and what else makes up Egyptian civilization.  We will take a trip to Egypt through Google Earth, build pyramids, and experience Egyptian life through simulations. Image result for ancient egypt gif

The Constitutional Classroom (7)

Last week the students finished up our study of the early United States. Though they briefly explored the events leading up to the war in previous years, they went much more in depth, taking a took at the early government and political moves both the colonists and King George made. The students took part in these events by taking on a colonial identity, looking through their specific lens and how their colonist’s perspective impacted their viewpoint on the taxes, acts, and events during this period. They debated over what laws should pass and how the colonies should respond to Britain’s actions, just like the early fathers of our country. The students gathered their information from primary sources and proposal documents from this time period and were able to not only find out the facts, but develop their own opinions on the topics we studied. We also explored how myth and exaggeration play a role in some of our greatest historical stories. The students just completed this unit with a big quiz, and the they did awesome!

The students then began our biggest project of the year, Chicago Metro History Fair, connected to National History Day. November marks the beginning of our adventure into the National History Day project. Over half a million students participate in this competition annually. Students will have the opportunity to dig into a historical topic that is of interest to them. The only requirements for the topic is that the historical event associated with it must have occurred at least 25 years ago, connect to Chicago or Illinois history, and it must meet the annual theme of “Triumph and Tragedy”. Upon completion of their research, students have the opportunity to develop a presentation mode of their choice. Students may choose to create a performance, website, historical paper, exhibit, or video documentary. Our goal is to complete research by the second/third week in December and their final product following the holiday break. The St. Cletus History Fair will take place on January 23 and the projects will be on display for Catholic Schools Week Open House. As we continue to work on this project, we will briefly explore the American Revolution and begin to dive into the country post-war, focusing on the development of our country’s government. Students will work to explain the challenges the U.S. faced in setting up a new country, describe the key principles contained in the U.S. Constitution, and evaluate decisions made by the new government.

*For more information regarding specifics on History Fair, please refer to Google Classroom and reference pages sent by email.**

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America on the World’s Stage (8)

The past few weeks the 8th graders have been in the thick of WWI. We began by exploring the 5 MAIN causes of the war through primary sources, a murder mystery investigation, videos, and readings. Then students explored the dominoes that fell to create the start of the war, pulling countries in one by one. The warfront was our next topic, with students participating in our own exciting and exhilarating simulation of trench warfare in our classroom. Students acted out roles in their trench, learning about the stress, disease, and life that soldiers experienced while the trenches were their homes. Information was gathered through primary sources letters from soldiers, pictures, and videos. We then celebrated Christmas early with the Christmas Truce and wrote back home to our families as though we were soldiers who experienced this amazing event. The students also analyzed how different countries and people reacted to this shocking peaceful act. Our next area of focus was then America’s neutrality and final entrance into the war. We examined President Woodrow Wilson’s speeches and determined why the U.S. really entered the war.

This week we saw how negatively the war affected Russia and led to its revolution. We then analyzed propaganda posters from different countries and discovered how songs became the main way U.S. citizens learned about the war. The students will end the last few days before break by creating their own propaganda posters, songs, or raps, advertising what people could do to help the war effort. When we return after Thanksgiving we will finish up our war exploration by comparing Wilson’s 14 points and the Treaty of Versailles and take a look at how the war changed the map and geography of Europe. We are lucky to have our WWI unit coincide with the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, so students will have a chance to see how the world celebrated these historical events.

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