Welcome to eighth grade social studies Room 515:

A dynamic multitext, literacy-rich, and culturally responsive learning environment.

Note: Some content can be edited by teachers, some by both teachers and students, and some only by Wikimaster Cole.

Map of the classroom

Students: I'm excited to welcome you to your social studies classroom, Room 515 at the end of the hall!
Here's what our room looks like: classroom set up cole labels.doc
What areas do you think you will be moving from and to during our classes?

Assessment in Room 515


The link to a three-tier Response to Intervention (RTI) plan I include here for University of Phoenix RDG515 coursework would of course never
be available on a site accessible to the public like this wiki. Here is an updated RTI that considers how to enter Lucas into my 8th grade classroom after
he benefitted from the RTI process during his 7th grade year: 515 rti Cole.doc

Formal assessments are recorded for you, your parents and your future teachers to use in measuring your progress.
These assessments are scored and will contribute to your report card grade.
Lesson 4 formal assessment goals: 515 assessment formal lesson 4.doc
PDF copy of the Google Doc matrix graphic organizer which will show your Lesson 4 scores: Constitutional Protections Graphic Organizer.pdf
Link to the same Google Doc: Link to "Linking" Graphic Organizer

Informal assessments help guide your work on a daily basis and usually are not recorded or shared outside of the room.
You and your classmates will often help each other with informal assessments and feedback as we work together.
Lesson 2 informal assessment goals and rubric: 515 Informal Rubric for Video Production.doc

Involving your family: Your parents or guardians care about your academic growth. If all they see is your report card grade at semester's end,
they cannot support you during the semester. Together we will keep your parents informed. I will ask you to show your parents or guardians examples
of your on-line writing and media projects. Parents will sign-off on these and in your spiral notebooks. Our district's grade books are on line.
Your parents or guardians may be unfamiliar with the kind of assessment and program we use here in Room 515. If they "just don't understand,"
maybe I can help with a phone call, email or personal conference. It is easy to find support from a translator if English is hard for your parent or gaurdian.
Remember, your teacher is your best advocate when it comes to upset parents!
Contact me: My email My phone: (707)838-1234 Drop in office hours: Tuesdays before school and Wednesdays after school.

Typical lesson plans

Lesson 1: We Declared and Won Our Independence, So What's the Problem?, a Writing to Learn (WTL) individual journal assignment.


The following Word Doc contains the WTL lesson called "We declared and won our independence, so what's the problem?"
and contains the lesson objectives, instructional strategies, materials, informal assessment method, and state and national standards addressed.
515 So What's the Problem Lesson Cole.doc

Spend five to ten minutes writing a summary of our class discussion in the journal section of your spiral notebook. The colonies listed their complaints against
the crown,declared their independence, and militarily defeated the British. What problems and abuses did the constitution of the new federal government have to
ensure would not return? How are the two document related? Which document names the problems and which attempts to prevent the problems?
Please try to use complete sentences. When you are done, swap your notebook with a neighbor and see if he can understand or improve your entry.

Prepare for the quiz on the Declaration by playing games and taking the self-scoring quizzes found here: Declaration Quiz Prep
Play this vocabulary game as well: Declaration Vocabulary Game

Lesson 2: Learn the Preamble, Just Don't Ramble!, a reading comprehension Reader Response (RR) group assignment.


The following Word Doc contains the RR lesson called "Learn the Preamble, Just don't Ramble!"
and contains the lesson objectives, instructional strategies, materials, informal assessment method, and state and national standards addressed.
515 Don't Ramble Lesson Cole.doc

Your homework reading comprehension questions are due for the interactive reading text found here: Interactive Constitution
We will review the Preamble questions using this site on the activeboard and you can use them in the group Reader Response activity.

After our homework review and discussion, complete this reading puzzle on line. It will help familiarize you with the preamble: Preamble Scramble for Lesson 2

After watching some sample projects and investigating which multimedia skills your group members ALREADY have,
complete 8-12 index cards to be used as your storyboard graphic organizer. There are some samples on the wall.
Each group member should have at least two cards. Using either of the above links, divide the Preamble into 8-12 chunks. Each group
member records her chunks onto the back of the cards. Draw and label a picture that shows what visual and audio will accompany that part
of your multimedia project.

Each card now has a portion of the preamble's words on the back. Shuffle them. Can you sequence them again from memory?
Show your teacher the properly sequenced storyboard and get approval to start filming or working with your media tools.
Here is the rubric you and your classmates will use to assess each group's project: 515 Rubric for Video Production.doc

Tools and samples:

Here is an example of a video project by a student who includes the words of the preamble, but uses
a rap to comment upon specific parts of the preamble: Sample Preamble Video
How effective are the visuals he uses to reinforce the words from the rap? How would you improve them?

Here is an example of a video project by students using music and dance to help memorize the preamble: Preamble with Student Dance
What elements did these girls add which makes their video more informative? Using Graphics in Your Video Sample
These students use a popular song to share the preamble well. What makes their song effective in meeting the goals found in
the rubric? Preamble Student Song

Here is a link on editing a video on a PC: Editing with Windows Site
Editing a video on a Mac: Movie Editing on a Mac

Here is the link to Blabberize if you want to use that product to create a presentation that helps memorize the preamble: Blabberize link
Here is a sample student project using Blabberize: Example of Preamble with Blabberize

Here is a link for help using Screencast, Screenr Video, Jing and Quicktime: Screenr, Screencast, Jing, Quicktime Help
Here is a fine example of the preamble created with stop action animation. This is time consuming and you should not choose this format
without consultation with your teacher! Preamble Stop Action

Here is a link to Kerpoof animation, better than Animoto: Kerpoof Animation Site

Lesson 3: A Framer's Table of Contents, a WTL graphic organizer/ summarizing assignment for partners.


The following Word Doc contains the WTL lesson called "A Framer's Table of Contents"
and contains the lesson objectives, instructional strategies, materials, informal assessment method, and state and national standards addressed.
515 Framer's Table of Contents Cole.doc

After we have taken a group tour of the Constitution in the back of your books in class, work with your partners to complete a
graphic organizer that will act as a "table of contents" for you to use later in lesson 4: Constitution Graphic Organizer word.doc
Use the textbooks' glossary of terms as necessary, talk out loud with partners to discuss ways to understand and summarize
sections of the document, and ask for some help from me when your group is stuck!

If we are working with the netbooks or copmuters, try out this nifty site: Interactive Constitution Site

When you are done, play this game about the branches of government: Branches of Government Lesson 3 Game

Lesson 4: Linking the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, a small group reading comprehension, vocabulary

and pre-writing assignment.

The following Word Doc contains the reading comprehension lesson called "Linking the Delcaration to the Constitution with a Graphic Organizer"
and contains the lesson objectives, instructional strategies, materials, formal assessment method, and state and national standards addressed.
515 Linking Declaration Constitution Lesson Cole.doc

Use this link to open the Google Spreadsheet graphic organizer. Rename it, with your own name included, in your own Google Doc files.
Research the internet using your netbooks and choose a trustworthy source for transcripts of the Declaration of Independence and
the US Constitution. Keep both open in separate tabs as you complete the matrix for the abuses(s) you have been assigned.
When done, save your Doc and share it with the instructor for assessment. Link to "Linking" Graphic Organizer

Support for lesson 4: This interactive site could really help, check it out: Lesson 4 Support Interactive Constitution

If you need a break or if part of your group is busy with something else, play this game and record your score in your journal:
Do I Have the Right? Game Or, you can ALL pass level one, but who can pass level two? Bill of Rights Challenge Game


While you are in Room 515, you will varyingly employ the following information technology tools: netbooks, laptops, digital cameras, microphones,
iPods, iPads, smartboards, dlp projectors, PCs, scanners, printers and even your cellphones if they have cameras. Of course, you will not
be using any of these if you and your parent/ guardian do not sign and return our Acceptable Use Policy.


Students can add written documents, images, audio and video links in this section of the wiki.
Remember that your name will be attached to any information you share in this area!
Please be an accountable digital citizen. Provide a brief annotation of the material you add.


Only teachers can add to this resource list.

Picture Books

The Declaration of Independence by Sam Fink. Sneak a peek:

Take a look inside this book
"Mr Fink has taken the document apart, dividing it into short, more easily understood phrases.
Each two-page spread features one beautifully, hand lettered phrase, accompanied by a clever and engaging illustration of its meaning."
If you find our reading assignments hard, this is the book for you.

The Cartoon History of the Modern World Part 1: From Columbus to the U.S. Constitution by
by Larry Gonick, 978-0060760045.
If you like graphic novels, take a look at this one! Big font, big picture!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Take a sneak peak inside this classic horror story: Take a look inside this book

Bone Rattler: A Mystery of Colonial America by Eliot Pattison (Jan 1, 2009)

Take a sneak peak inside this more recent horror story, if you dare: Take a look inside this book

Nonfiction trade books
The Signers: The 56 Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence by Dennis Brindell Fradin and Michael McCurdy (Jan 1, 2003)
Here are biographies of these important Americans geared for stronger readers.
Take a look inside this book

Give Me Liberty: The Story of the Declaration of Independence by Russel Freedman
This is a very approachable read that will give you additional background for our unit's lessons.

A Poem
Here is a poem by JG Whittier which shows not all white Americans ignored the issue of racial hypocrisy in the Declaration and Constitution:
Copy of Our Countrymen in Chains

Environmental Print
Recruitment Poster for Continental Soldiers to Serve in the American Revolution
Link to poster thumnail

Timelines for this unit: Declaration Timeline

Interactive websites:
Here is a wiki umbrella site for history students: A History Student Wiki Filled with Links
Here is a great interactive site to help you read the Constitution: Interactive Constitution

Some materials to share with teachers and parents

Parents: this link provides a helpful 20 minute lecture you can view with your children to help study for the first semester final:
First Semester Final Overview
Here are two sites which help think about and develop social studies fluency:
History Fluency: Historicalthinker
History Fluency: Thinking Matters

Reference page of sources guiding instructional practice in Room 515:Reference Page.doc