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August, 2018

Dear Student/ Parent/Guardian:

Welcome to 8th grade U.S. History and Current World Issues. This is going to be a fantastic year. I promise to do my best to make it an exciting year. I hope you will also do your best to make this class one of your favorite classes.

U.S. History is a required class. I am available afterschool from 2:50-3:20 most everyday. Students who do not pass each term at 60% will be referred to the Counseling Office for placement in a eschool school program.


You will be an online textbook. I will show you how to log on to Pearson for access to our textbook.

You will need to bring with you to class each day; paper, pen or pencil and a notebook to keep handouts and worksheets in.


Please check the board and the class Web page (www.soerensenhistory.com) for information on class activities and due dates. I will keep both of these as up todate as possible.

Current Events

We will discuss current events.  It is important for you to get in the habit of watching, listening or reading about news events happening around us.  You will be expected to participate in the class discussions and turn in a “News Flash” assignments sheet once a term.  Please refer to the Web site or directions from the assignment sheet to understand how points are assigned.


Assignments will be given. Don't be afraid of these. If you use your time wisely, most can be completed in class. But, sometime you will be asked to complete the work at home. Late assignments will be penalized. The most you can recieve after an assignment is late is 70%. You should take your material home at least once or twice a week for review and study time.

Tests are quizzes are a part of the assessment process. Get in the habit of studying as we discuss and reviewing the information. If you do you will be prepared. Tests/quizzes can be retaken, but the highest grade awarded on a retake is a "C".


Grading is as follows:

A = 93-100%

A- = 92-90%

B+ = 87-89%

B = 83-86%

B- = 80-82%

C+ = 77-79%

C = 73-76%

C- = 70-72%

D+ = 67-69%

D = 63 - 66%

D- = 60=62%

Below 60% is an I, Insufficient effort; intervention required.

We will study four units each semester.  Students will have in-class assignments, as well as homework assignments to complete. Each day, “Learning Targets” will be posted on the board. These common targets are the same for each of the 8th grade U.S. History classes and are to help students master the “Essential Knowledge” which have been identified as important basic information a student should master after completing the class. The “Essentials” for U.S. History are available on the school website and my class website.

First Semester

Geography-Early Exploration and Colonization-American Revolution-Constitution

Second Semester

The New Nation-Adams-Jefferson-Madison-Industry and Growth-Monroe-Jackson-Westward Expansion-the Civil War-Reconstruction

Video Policy:

There are many great historical events which have been the topic of the movie industry. Many are also very accurate in their portrayals of these events. I may use the following movies or clips of these movies to enhance our curriculum.

A More Perfect Union- Three Sovereigns for Sarah- Gettysburg- Ironclads-Uncle Tom's Cabin-Johnny Tremain-Tweleve Angry Men (black and white version)-The Alamo-Seven Alone, Far and Away (Land Rush), Dances With Wolves (Buffalo Hunt), Documentary on Massachuettes 54th (Glory).



All students will be expected to observe the standards for behavior set in the CMS planner. Tardies will be marked. Students need to come to class prepared to learn and allow others to do the same. Copying of anothers student's work is inappropriate and will not recieve credit. Only when you are directed to work together in groups or pairs is collaboration appropriate. All students are expected to do their best work;

Work Ethic/Integrity

A major emphasis of the class will be working in group discussions and problem solving.  Students will often be assigned to work in a partnership or group to accomplish various tasks.  This type of work style is to assist one another in learning; however, in these situations I expect all students to equally share in the work.  Likewise, when the assignments are not to be collaborated, the work must be the student’s own individual work. Students are not to copy work, responses or collaborate for “a one best answer response” unless directed by me.

If you have any disability that may impair your ability to successfully complete this course, please let me know and contact the main office.  Academic accommodations are granted for all students who have qualified, documented disabilities.  Services are coordinated with the students and instructor through the main office

8th grade U.S. History Essential of Understandings

Current World Issues-

We will be following the course information found at



We have so much to learn and so little time.......


Last updated on August 2018

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