Week One: 9/4-9/6

After introductions and an icebreaker involving a map of Ann Arbor, students reviewed the course outline and course procedures and expectations documents.2013-14 MS Social Studies Pacing Guide HCSocialStudiesPoliciesOverview

Students also received a letter to bring home to parents introducing me as their teacher and talking about the course: HC Social Studies Letter to Parents 2013

We did an activity called Box of Clues to introduce students to the idea of the discipline of History as the careful analysis and interpretation of evidence. Student groups worked together to catalog, discuss, and interpret a box of artifacts that they were told belonged to one person. They then had to create a profile of that person. The follow-up homework asked them to compare the activity to how historians attempt to reconstruct what happened in the past. Hopefully students concluded that evidence is carefully examined, interpretations are made, discussions are had, conclusions are revised, and absolute certainty is elusive. The follow up task is here: Box of Clues Homework

The above paragraph is the first writing sample I used to gauge student thinking through writing. Students also completed a social studies autobiography to help inform me of their strengths and preferences in social studies: SocialStudiesAutobiographies

Finally, to help round out my understanding of students skills and understanding before the year gets into full swing, students completed a Google Form which contained 20 multiple choice questions spanning basic social studies knowledge. Questions probed their spatial awareness and systems, their knowledge of how we track time, their knowledge of research tools,  and some basic historical, government, and economic knowledge.

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