I can evaluate the government’s impact on my life.

Yeah, yeah, this is a history class … but it’s also a civics class, because you can’t learn about America’s story without looking at the role of the government.  Why do we need a government? It’s a simple question, isn’t it?  That’s the key query as we start the school year by checking out the growth of our system of rule in the good old US of A.  How do you begin?


Think about your life for (almost) 24 hours – from wake up to wake up, or from dinner to dinner, or from loving history to loving history (that’s all the time, right?) List every way the government has an effect on your average everyday life.  Be creative, use detailed bullet points on your handout, spend 5-10 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 below … but you can’t repeat anyone else’s post!

Section 1 – How does the government affect me?
Section 2 – How does the government affect me?
Section 5 – How does the government affect me?
Section 6 – How does the government affect me?
Section 7 – How does the government affect me?

NEXT, check out some more theoretical explanations about government by checking out the following reading from iCivics about two famous philosopher-dudes, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. As you do, come up with a definition of the SOCIAL CONTRACT – in your head, on paper, on your laptop, on the back of your hand … your choice!

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Your chapter in America’s Story – A POP UP MUSUEM!


TARGET – I can clearly represent and present represent my American story in oral and written form. 

I was first exposed to the concept of the pop-up museum at the NCSS conference in Boston in 2014. As I sat in a great presentation by Melissa Nies and Michelle DelCarlo, it became quickly apparent that this was something that would be a great opener for our examination of America’s story – I even tweeted the idea that day in November and got it to Doc right away!

The concept of a pop-up museum  is exactly what it sounds like – A collection of artifacts that are brought impromptu to a location, leading to a museum that “pops up” where there was not one before. On Tuesday, our Pop Up Museum  will be devoted to the idea of the America’s story. We would like you to bring in some sort of artifact or a mini exhibit that represents your American story, your family’s American story, or part of the American story that is important to you.  You can have a picture, an object, a document, or a combination of all of them! You should also have a written (typed) interpretation of your artifact, no bigger than one side of a page. Your goal in your pop up exhibit is to represent and explain something that helps tell your American story, and/or your vision of America’s story.  

You will be presenting your artifact tomorrow in a gallery walk, and collectively we will see and discuss an incredible array of personal connection to America’s story!

There is no need for a huge elaborate display – the artifact(s) and a printed summary is fine. Want to see a couple of examples? Check out Doc’s personal item and Taft’s historical artifacts.

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Here it is … the year you have been waiting for all of your middle school life – 8TH GRADE!  There are always some nuts and bolts stuff that you have to do in every course to get prepared, and we won’t spend any time in class doing this kind of stuff – so you can do it now!

Here’s the basic list …

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The End in Vietnam

In class on Friday and Monday, we will close the Vietnam War and dive into some of Bill McCloud’s book “What Should We Tell Or Children About Vietnam?”.

As you read your excerpts, use the signposts for reading and annotate each response.  For each, please provide a summary on the collaborative board available here. Make sure you identify each author.

After examining McCloud’s work and summarizing some of the responses he received, craft a written statement explaining what YOU feel you learned after examining America’s involvement in Vietnam.  Don’t recite the facts – develop larger ideas about this incredibly important part of America’s story. You can search for additional inspiration, as long as you cite any sources.  All submissions must be completed by Tuesday at 8:15 AM – no late submissions will be accepted.

Some of your summaries ….


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LEARNING EXPERIENCE – WAR – What is it good for? May 30/June 1

TARGET – I can explain and evaluate the various reasons why people opposed the war in Vietnam.

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 so many Americans oppose the American involvement in Vietnam? That’s your task for Wednesday / Thursday. 

To begin, read and watch Vietnam War Protests from the History Channel

You will receive a SPECIFIC protest topic that you will share with your fellow protesters in class.  Take a look at the resource(s) and jot down some of the reasons that the topic became controversial during the Vietnam conflict. Make a post on your class bulletin board describing WHY you are opposed to American involvement in Vietnam.

Section 1 / Section 2 / Section 3 / Section 4 / Section 5

Then, create something that you would use to help spread your views at an anti-war rally during the conflict.  You can make a protest sign, a leaflet or pamphlet to hand out, a protest button, a T-shirt – you name it!

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


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The American GI in Vietnam – In Country

Throughout the year, we spent some time learning about and reflecting on the life, challenges, impact, and sacrifices of the men and women who served the United States in our various military conflict. While we do not have a great deal of time to spend on the soldiers in the Vietnam War, it is important to examine their experience to understand the conflict, their sacrifice, and the honor they deserve … especially with  our trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in April, our March to the Memorials, and Memorial Day on Monday. If you have the chance (and desire) please spend some time this weekend examining some of the resources below. And, don’t forget at least one of the readings from Doc – they are all great!

Sources …

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The Cold War keeps getting hotter … for Friday May 26

How did the Cold War change American foreign policy?

How did the Cold War change American life at home?

These essential questions should be on the forefront of your mind as you examine the Cold War era. You learned to story of the Korean War in class, which set the stage for continued conflict in the Cold War.   Want a laugh or two?  Check out the videos that helped people prepare for a nuclear attack with Bert the Turtle  of how to tell if someone was communist.

Use the links provided below (or ones that you find) to fill in the gaps between the mid 1950s and the onset of our final topic of the year –  the Vietnam War. After you are done consulting the resources below, you should be able to discuss how each of the events led to greater tension between the two sides of the developing Cold War. You can take notes if you want – any way you want – if you want!


You all know that the United States was involved in a major military conflict in Vietnam during the Cold War … but why? What was America’s “path to war”? Check out the video below and a few of the links if you have a chance. As you read and watch, make sure that you can summarize the basic ideas and events that led to American involvement in Vietnam.

Focus on the following terms – France, Ho Chi Minh, communism, Ngo Dinh Diem, military advisors, Gulf of Tonkin, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Rolling Thunder

The Causes of the Vietnam War

Check out :
This cool animation
The Vietnam War from the History Channel
Timeline of the Vietnam War
Vietnam Online Timeline

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More Lessons from the CRM

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.40.39 PMWe have seen many of the seminal moments of push for African American civil rights, and hopefully you are all understanding not only what happened during the movement but also how we can learn from the movement today. However, the movement expanded to other groups and races, and we will focus on these groups or the rest of class.

Check out Learning from the Civil Rights Movement Part 3

Section 1 / Section 2 / Section 3 / Section 4 /Section 5

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Continuing the Civil Rights Movement

The stories of the Civil Rights movement are plentiful. While we only have the opportunity to look at a few, we are definitely pulling out some great lessons from the push for equality after WWII.  Keep working on Learning from the CRM by moving on to the second section of events.  Try to get as far as you can!

What lessons have we learned so far?  Take a look:



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