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Ms. Colberg’s Survival Guide to 8th Grade Social Studies

Welcome to your last year of middle school! During our time together we will study the history of our nation from Native Americans and early colonization of North America, all the way to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Why do we study American history? History is a window into the past, and understanding the past is the key to understanding the present. It helps us to appreciate multiple perspectives and interpretations. Analyzing history strengthens our critical thinking skills. It trains us to gather evidence, and to find patterns and trends. It gives us an understanding of other people and cultures. You can apply information from the past to analyze and solve problems in the present. This year we have over 300 years of American history to examine and only 175 days in which to do so. We have a great deal to do, but not much time to do it in. To ensure everyone is successful this year we will implement the following procedures:

1.  Required Materials for Social Studies Class

Each day you must bring to class (regardless of whatever else is going on at school) the following items:

  • Chromebook
  • Social Studies folder
  • Paper
  • Writing tools (pencils and/or blue or black pen)

2.  Your Social Studies Folder

Each day you must bring to class your Social Studies folder. Your folder is a valuable tool as we learn, study, and review. Keep your folder neat and organized. KEEP ALL HANDOUTS, HOMEWORK, NOTES, ETC. UNTIL AFTER AN ASSESSMENT HAS BEEN GIVEN or A PROJECT HAS BEEN COMPLETED.  These things will help you review / study. 

3. Homework

Assignments/project may require study, research, or practice outside of class instructional time. Assigned homework must be completed. Some assignments will be due the next day, and some will need to be completed over an extended period of time. One make-up day is permitted for each day of excused absence. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the teacher for make-up work upon returning to school.

4.  Grades

Your grade will be based on points assigned for the following:

  • Projects - Students engage in multi-week project-based learning, culminating in performance tasks that are scored on Cognitive Skills. These account for 70% of a student's grade.
  • Focus Areas - Students direct their own learning through playlists of content, and take on-demand assessments to demonstrate their competency. These account for 30% of a student's grade. (Power Focus Areas = 21% and Additional Focus Areas = 9%)

5.  When you are Absent

When you are absent it is your responsibility to make up any missed work. Check the “Missing Work Folders” the day you get back. You have one day for each day of absence to make up your work. 

6.  Seating Assignments

Seats are assigned by Ms. Colberg. Seating assignments will change MULTIPLE TIMES throughout the school year. This way everyone has an opportunity to sit in all the different areas of the class. Likewise, during cooperative learning activities, Ms. Colberg may assign students to work together. If you have a special request, e.g. I work better in the front of the classroom because there are fewer distractions, please let me know and I will do my best to accommodate those situations.

7.  Bell-Ringer Activities

As you enter the room each day you should do the following:

  • Sharpen your pencil and prepare your materials
  • Do the Bell-Ringer activity that will be projected on the dry-erase board.


8.  Student Responsibilities

The following are your responsibilities in class:

  • Be on time for class…if you’re not in your seat when the class begins, you’re late and you will be marked tardy.
  • Participate in class, ask questions, and volunteer to answer questions. Being actively involved during class makes the time go quickly!
  • Work the entire class period…don’t pack up your stuff early. Ms. Colberg will dismiss you at the end of the class time.
  • Don’t put your head down…if you do, you will most likely miss valuable information. If you’re not feeling well, please let Ms. Colberg know immediately.
  • NO eating or drinking in the classroom…it’s against the school rules—enough said. (*gum is allowed)
  • Cheating…please don’t even think about it…you’ll get a zero and your parent/guardian(s) will be called.
  • Treat everyone and everything with respect.
  • Take responsibility for your actions and do the right thing. It’s okay to make mistakes…but be willing to own them.


Once again, welcome to your last year of middle school.  Have an open mind, be willing to take chances, participate in all of our activities, stay on top of completing your work…do all of these things and I guarantee you WILL be successful!