Preparing to dig into the DOI – Assignment August 29/September 2

We agree that government is important … yes?  So we have to get back to the beginning, don’t we? Where should we start with our study of the first American government? Simple – the document that started it all, the Declaration of Independence.

Begin by reviewing the events and ideas that led up to the Declaration by using your DOI Preview assignment and the voicethread below. This will provide some CONTEXT for our next class (and probably be review for most of you).

When you are done, test yourself a bit – Do you feel that you understand …

  • the colonists’ major complaints about the British rule?
  • the reason for the calling of the SCC?
  • the early expectations of the delegates?
  • the Olive Branch Petition?
  • why delegates “drifted” toward independence?
  • Thomas Paine’s Common Sense?
  • natural rights, the state of nature, and the social contract?

Now, it’s time to revisit the most important document in American history.  Using the image and text of the document from the National Archive, browse the DOI.   You can also  use this podcast from Colonial Williamsburg to help! And, if you are a football fan …!  The break up letter on the back of your pre-activity should help …

Want some DOI fun?  Check out “Too Late to Apologize” from the folks at Soomo Publishing- the lyrics are available as well!

Continue reading

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DAY ONE! Why should we study history?

Here we go – use this link!

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AND WE ARE BACK! – Assignment for August 28/29

Welcome, Young Historians!  Wasn’t it great to dive into America’s Story today and set the stage for nine months of historical love? Of course it was!

Your first assignment is to chat with your parents about why it is important to study history and then write a solid reflection that responds to the following two prompts – Why should we study “America’s Story”?  What do I want to learn about “America’s Story”? Share your well written response with Dr. Walczak and me a through our google accounts – and  It shouldn’t be a novel, but you should have two well-written paragraphs (one for each prompt) with a topic sentence, details supporting your main idea, and coherence in your writing.   We are excited to see what you have to say … so send it to us by WEDNESDAY of next week – ok?!?!?

To prepare for your next class, you MUST take the 24 HOUR GOVERNMENT CHALLENGE!  Think about your life for (almost) 24 hours – from wake up to wake up, or from dinner to dinner, or  form loving history to loving history (that’s all the time, right?) On a piece of paper or your computer,  list every way the government has an effect on your average everyday life.  Be creative, use detailed bullet points, spend five-ten minutes talking about it with your parents, brainstorm with a friend … you may win the challenge with the most (and most creative) examples. Also – post AT LEAST ONE example on the bulletin board for your class … but you can’t repeat anyone else’s post!

If you want some more inspiration, check out, and!

Finally … make sure you complete the BACK TO SCHOOL tasks that i emailed your parents before today – ok?!?!?


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Back to school …

Yup – the inevitable is almost here – the beginning of the most important school year of your life!  (Well, that’s a little biased, but it is a big year, you know.) There are always some nuts and bolts stuff that you have to do in every course to get prepared, and we wont spend any time in class doing this kind of stuff – so you can do it now!

Here’s the basic list …

1) Check out the syllabus for the course

2) Complete the very quick Info for Taft form

3) Sign up for the AHR! Celly using the instructions on this page

4) Start reading all the entries on “The Student Page” – it’s chock full o’ helpful stuff for a successful year! Make sure you check out the hints for success from past students!

5) Get a jump on our first activity by taking a look at “Why should we study history?

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Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 9.05.55 PMThanks for the fun feedback - Check it out here

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In class June 9 – It’s a wrap

Sniff, sniff… sorry, I was just dabbing my eyes as I realize that the school year is actually over and you all will never be in my classroom as my young historians again.  The tears are flooding my keyboard as I type, causing probleeems wth tae lttersb;kb lknkl ..

Okay, I pulled it together and can complete the post.  In our final 45 minutes together, please do me a favor and provide some feedback about 8th grade American history.  Thanks!

Click here for the survey.


Then, please help Mrs. Nosbusch with her speech for Wednesday!

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In class June 6 – The Legacy of Vietnam

What is the legacy of Vietnam? Post your responses here or if the first one is full, post here.

What should we teach our children about Vietnam? Excerpt 1Excerpt 2Excerpt 3

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Stories - A great look at the Wall and what has been left there – check out the video starting at 13:00!

The Things They Leave Behind: Artifacts From the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam War: 30 years later | Center for American Progress


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Assignment June 5 – Closing up shop

For your final assignments, young historians …

1) Complete the Cold War online quiz ALONE – open note, open web, open brain!

2) Complete and evaluate your online notebooks – copy and paste the evaluation into a new page and assess your work!

3) Bring Taft peach Jolly Ranchers

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Assignment June 4 – War! What is it good for?

You have already heard that America’s involvement in Vietnam was the most controversial issue of the 1960s and 70s, and the war created the most vocal and varied opposition of any war in our country’s history. What were the reasons for this opposition? Why did some many Americans oppose the American involvement in Vietnam?

That’s your task this evening …

To begin, read the following overviews of the anti-war movement – Fighting the War at Home and Culture of Protest (usmstudent, historyrules) OR check out the Anti-War Movement from OR  Vietnam War Protests from the History Channel.

Next, you will get a specific topic, and your task is to post a note, an image, a video clip, or all of the above of the bulletin board for your period. Take a look at the various resources and jot down some notes, links, and images on a Protest page on your online notebook. Then, go to your class bulletin board and describe your reason for opposing the war in a creative method. Check out the bulletin board for examples. State an opinion, describe a meeting, organize a protest, post some song lyrics, quote an excerpt from a speech, do more than one thing, do something! When you are done, embed your class board on your page.  You will share your reason for protesting the war in class tomorrow!

Bulletin Boards - AntiWar1_2014 /  AntiWar2_2014 /  AntiWar3_2014 / AntiWar4_2014 / AntiWar6_2014

  1. Someone who doubts the what happened in the Gulf of TonkinGulf of Tonkin Resolution, A Somber Lesson
  2. A member of Congress at the Fulbright Hearings / Fulbright Hearings
  3. A member of Students for a Democratic Society
  4. Someone who just read about the Pentagon Papers / Pentagon Papers
  5. A citizen shocked about the Credibility Gap / Credibility Gap
  6. A citizen who viewed a report about My Lai / My Lai
  7. Someone opposing the Draft / Draft
  8. A member of the Milwaukee 14
  9. Someone evading the draft
  10. conscientious objector
  11. Muhammad Ali
  12. A supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr and his opposition to Vietnam / MLK Beyond Vietnam
  13. An African American opposing the war
  14. An American opposed to the incursion into Cambodia / Cambodia incursion
  15. A citizen reaciting to the The Living Room War / The Living Room War
  16. A member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War
  17. Someone who just saw a report on The Tet Offensive
  18. A college professor leading on of the Teach-Ins
  19. A participant in the May Day Protests
  20. A participant in the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam
  21. Someone reacting to news from Kent State
  22. Someone reacting to news from Jackson State
  23. Someone hearing about the Sterling Hall Bombing / Sterling Hall Bombing
  24. Someone opposed to the use of Agent Orange / Agent Orange
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In class June 4 – Get hyper about 1968

1968 – What an amazing year.  I know I could teach an entire week, quarter, even semester on this incredible turning point in American history.  In class today, we are going to examine the year and take some hypernotes – open notes along with hyperlinks, images, embedded videos, and anything else we can find to make some sense out of the year.  Open up a new page in your notebook, and let’s get hyper!

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