Seventh Grade Social Studies/ World History:
Islam, the Renaissance, and U.S. Colonization

Ms. Kim Allen St. Luke’s School September, 2007

WELCOME! I’m finally going to get to know you, and I look forward to a great year together! Even though this is a course in American history, we’re first going to tie together some of the threads of world history that you studied last year. In addition, the course will focus on how to be a good student historian: how to think “historically” and analytically, and how to carefully interpret sources about the past. You’ll learn to be a better thinker and problem solver, and sometimes we’ll have fun! Here are the topics we’ll study.

· Historical Inquiry Method
· Judging Reliability and Validity of Sources of Information
· Comparing and Contrasting
· Understanding Cause and Effect
· Expressing Critical Opinions
· Researching a Topic in History
· Writing Analytically (Essays)
· Public Speaking and Making Presentations
· Initiating and Taking Part in Service to the Community
¨ Human Rights: Rights of Children, Social and Economic Rights
¨Islam as a World Religion and Social System
¨Introduction to the Renaissance and Reformation
(things you need to know in order to understand U.S. history)
¨Exploration, Conquest, and Colonization of the Americas ¨Comparison of the Independence Movements of Colonial America and India
¨ Difficult Topics in U.S. History (such as Slavery and the Treatment of Native Americans)

§Events in the News §Amnesty International Chapter
§United Nations Millennium Goals: http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/mdgs/index.html

I believe that one of the most important reasons to study the past to become better citizens in the present. We will be studying the ongoing struggle in the world for human rights. As citizens of a democracy, we have a big job in protecting these rights even within our own borders, as well as in other places. The St. Luke’s Amnesty International Chapter will give you the opportunity to earn community service credit by writing letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience, people who are in jail for being “different” or for speaking their minds freely. In class, we will focus on social and economic rights, such as the right to clean water, to an education, or to adequate shelter. In October on Human Rights Day at St. Luke’s, we will work on an immigrant rights campaign with Newcomers High School. We also will help you to participate in your own service learning activities that will enhance your understanding of these rights. This year, we challenge you to develop your own community service plan.

Here is the description in our official curriculum guide:
Through a wide range of activities, including extensive use of primary sources, textbooks, writing activities, and creative projects, students are challenged to deepen their attitudes and skills as historians. Students examine other cultures and world issues for the purpose of comparative study. After a global unit on Islam, the class investigates the Renaissance and Reformation as a background to studies in U.S. history. American history topics include European exploration and colonization, and the independence movements of the 13 colonies, India, and other countries. In addition, the themes of human rights and social justice are woven into the curriculum. An emphasis is placed on thoughtful analysis of American history and the relevance of the historical perspective to the study of contemporary society, and to the personal lives of students.

The key to success as a student is o r g a n I z a t I o n!
Put together a three-ring binder with dividers. It should have at least the following sections in this order. No exceptions! Keep it neat!

1. Notes, Homework, and Handouts (keep in order of the topics studied).
This section includes old homework and new homework. Don’t separate your notes, homework, and handouts. Together, they will tell the story of the history you’re studying. If you keep the “story” together in this section, you’ll have study notes for quizzes and tests.

2. Quizzes, Tests, and Projects (things with grades on them). Signatures required!

In the Classroom:
1. Follow all the rules of St. Luke’s School.
2. Be on time and prepared. Being late disturbs others.
3. Do all homework to the best of your ability so that you can participate fully in class.
4. Respect the property of others and treat your own things well.
5. Be polite at all times.
6. Be responsible when absent by asking for and completing all makeup work.
7. Help making learning a top priority in this classroom!
8. Laugh and smile frequently throughout the day.

GRADING: Assignments are recorded as points in the grade book, and grades are given based on an attained percentage of points. I will only mark letter grades on quizzes, tests, writing assignments, and projects, not on homework.
A 93 – 100 B+ 87 – 89 C+ 77 - 79 D 65-69
A- 90 – 92 B 83 – 86 C 73 – 76 Below 64 does not
B- 80 – 82 C- 70 – 72 meet requirements

Two Types of Grades:
Grades are divided into two main parts which are equally important to the final mark each trimester. Hard work and organization are just as important as testing for success (in real life as well as in school).
Daily Grades (1/2) Test Grades and Project Grades (1/2)
Homework Major tests Creative projects
In-class assignments Quizzes Presentations
Group work Pop quizzes Research reports
Participation In-class essays Take-home essays

I prefer to solve homework problems directly with you. However, I will inform parents and Ms. Spyropoulos about multiple missing or late assignments, or if you make a C- or below (below 73) on any test, quiz, or project (not pop quizzes).
Please ask for help when you need it. You may also email me at: kimallen@gmail.com. If I am online, I will be happy to “rescue” you or answer any questions you have. However, it’s best to talk to me in person. Feel free to drop by to chat or set up a time for extra help. I am interested in you and I’m a great problem solver, so come see me!

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