Posted by: jprice91 | June 16, 2010

Thank you

“When a man is willing and eager, the gods join in.” Aeschylus

As I wrap up the year,and grade ridiculous amounts of your work, I wanted to extend to you my sincere thanks.  This has been a supremely enjoyable year for me.  I was talking to Ms. Cie, a Mill Pond teacher many of you had, early in the year and was sharing with her how terrific my year was going.  Ms. Cie said, “Yes.  The thing about the group that is now in 8th grade is that they not only understand how to learn, they are EXCITED to learn.”

This is precisely how I feel about you all.  Some of you have challenges, or have decided that you are not yet ready to put in the work – as I shared with you  I was a Junior in high school before I decided school was worth the effort.  That said, so many of you committed to taking the journey this year and I thank you and applaud you for your efforts.  Your reasoning and inquisitiveness was, in general, outstanding.

Please enjoy your summer, watch world cup, make good life choices, and commit to learn and grow.  Be curious, and for goodness sake, read a newspaper or at least Google News.  Please come visit my far corner of the Green wing next year when you are kicking about.  I wish you well and will see you in the hallways when you are all High Schoolers.

Warm Regards,

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | June 1, 2010

Week of June 1st thru 4th

JUNE!  Wow…

Hello students and parents,

I hope that you all had a pleasant extended weekend.  I also hope you were able to take a moment to pay tribute to those who, in the words of Lincoln “gave their last full measure of devotion.”  Lincoln was, of course, referring to those who fought and died during the Battle of Gettysburg at the turning point in the US Civil War.  Consequently, Gettysburg is the focus of our class time this week as we dive deeper into the reasons for, and legacy of, the Civil War.  We will be reading three chapters in our Textbook, War Terrible War and watching a short portion of Ken Burn’s marvelous The Civil War series from PBS.  If you have never seen this series, it helped transform my understanding of the Civil War when I was in college and I highly recommend you take a look.

In addition, students will be working o their final independent project in my class – a short research paper and illustration board are due a week from Thursday.  All students were provided an extensive list of Civil War topics to choose from, and will be given limited classroom research time over the next two weeks.  That said, computers are not available during this time, and the expectation is that students do their final writing at home.  Students also have access to resources on my Blog, including a website that allows them to create their bibliography by entering the information online.  I wish I had had that luxury in college.

Students are supposed to have  their paper topic chosen by Wednesday – please discuss this with your student.  The purpose of this paper is to answer an “Essential Question.”  For example, instead of writing a biography of Robert E. Lee, a student would pose a question about one aspect of Lee’s life, such as:  “What factors led Robert E. Lee  to fight for the Confederacy instead of the Union?”  In this way students are responsible to focus their research and, hopefully, produce original ideas.

An apology, I told students the research links would be up this weekend.  I was unable to get the upload to work on my computer so I will give it a go at school tomorrow… if this cause frustration this weekend I am sorry for the inconvenience.

We’re in the home stretch – keep at it!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | May 18, 2010

Week of May 17th – 21st

Hello Parents and Studets,

Checking in after a couple of weeks down.  Spring has sprung!  Flowers are blooming, the sun is out, and students are exhibiting “End-of-the-year-itis”.  There have not been a lot of assignments in US History as we have primarily been focused on watching and discussing ROOTS and accommodating MSP testing; however, that is about to change as we begin our final unit on the US Civil War.  Expect several assignments over the next two weeks as we dive into the Civil War/War Between the States/War of Northern Aggression (depending on your allegiances at the time).

In two weeks or so we will begin our final project – a Civil War independent research project.  Students will be given a comprehensive list of topics and allowed to persue a topic they find particularly interesting.  Be looking for a project outline inthe near future.  Because of Hammer-Head Shark feeding frenzy type competition for computer usage between final projects, MAP Testing, and classwork – home research will be encouraged for the project.

For those of you eagerly awaiting your CBA scores, I am almost done and apologize for the delay.  This is the first time I have had students complete this particular CBA and, frankly, it is a tough one to grade as there are many different elements (and 162 of them). Please bear with me as I get them finished – I am closing in on the finish line.

We are taking the final sections of the MSP this week – Math and Science.  Please make sure your student has something nourishing for breakfast and as a snack – gummy bears and Mountain Dew are not really brain food (and were commonplace last week) so try to steer your child towards fresh fruit or complex carbs.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | April 19, 2010

Week of April 19-23

Hello Students and Parents,

First some old business.  My US History classes spent Wednesday through Friday writing their Classroom Based Assessments.  Most have been turned in and many are of high quality.  Well done.  If, however, you have not finished your CBA you have only Monday to complete the writing task before you reduced credit is assessed.  The computer lab is no longer available, so you may come in to the library before school, during second lunch (first lunch with Librarian permission), or after school until 3:15.  Papers must be turned in to the RI Shared server dropin box by 3:15 tomorrow – no exceptions.  Students know how to do this.

We are privileged to have artist in residence, Dawn Young, in my classroom for the next couple of weeks to begin exploring slavery in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century.  Using a terrific novel To Be a Slave as a reference point, students will be creating monologues exploring the different elements of slavery in the US, including the economic, social, and emotional impact the slavery has had on the United States.  This promises to be a terrific opportunity for students to learn about slavery through creative expression.  I am looking forward to seeing what is created!

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | April 11, 2010

Week of April 12th-16th

Hello students and parents,

Welcome back!  I hope you had a restful and/or enjoyable break.  You are just weeks from being a high school student.  While spring is a tempting time to tune out and enjoy the sunshine, I would argue that you are entering the most important weeks of your 8th grade year. Stay focused!

We will begin this final quarter with the Classroom Based assessment.  As you are aware, there are numerous resources on my blog to help you formulate your paper including the grading rubric, a graphic organizer, and example papers.  Students will have Monday and Tuesday to gather materials and create notecards, a graphic organizer, and an outline.  These are the only papers allowed on a students desk during their CBA writing on Thursday and Friday.

Parents and students must be aware that any work on the CBA outside of our US History Classroom will result in automatic zero credit.  Students will have two full class periods to write and revise their paper.  The purpose of the Checks and Balances CBA is to demonstrate the students ability to formulate ther own argument as to whether the system of Checks and Balances worked properly during an historical event in US History – it is impossible to evaluate whether the student was influenced in their writing if work is done outside their classroom.  This is non-negotiable.

Following the CBA we will move into the era of conflict over slavery and state’s rights with some of our Language Arts students presenting projects on the novel “To Be a Slave”.   This is a tragic period in our history, and continues to shape our society today.  More to follow next week.  See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | April 1, 2010

What to expect after Spring Break

Hello Students and Parents,

Spring has arrived.  Some of you are hanging out at home while others dig their toes into the sand.  Enjoy your time off and get rested.  I look forward to seeing you on your return when you will be dangerously close to being a 9th grader… that time in your life where all of your work begins to “count”.  With that in mind, remember that you have your CBA (Classroom Based Assessment) the first week back from break.  It is important that you understand your writing task, and that you are comfortable with the material.

The topic students are writing about is whether the system of Checks and Balances that exists within our three branches of government was followed during the Cherokee removal.  Students are required to state their REASONED position and then defend it using evidence from primary and secondary sources.  Most students are now familiar with the material and this should be a fairly easy assessment.  Students are allowed to bring an outline, a graphic organizer, and notes written on 3X5 cards with them on Wednesday and Thursday after break.  They will have Monday and Tuesday to gather these items for their writing.  ABSOLUTELY NO WRITING OF THEIR PAPER IS ALLOWED OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM.Students may do all of the research they want at home, but the paper must be written during class time.

On my blog  have links to all of the CBA materials.  I am in the process of walking through it with my classes.  Feel free to use any of it during your research.  I look forward to reading your work.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | March 29, 2010

Week of March 29th to April 2nd

Hello parents and students,

Whew!  Let me say what an  amazing job students did on their Cherokee removal presentations.  We had 8 wonderful parents and staff members who acted as the US Supreme Court and made the students nervous.  All of the adults were amazed at the depth of knowledge and professionalism of the groups.  You should be very proud.

This will be a pretty easy week.  Monday and Tuesday we will be watching a fantastic film that was produced last year about the Cherokee for a series called “We Shall Remain”.  In watching this, I hope students will realize that the work they have been doing is not strictly an academic exercise.  The questions of the Constitutional crises that occurred when President Jackson refused to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision on Cherokee sovereignty.

Thursday and Friday we will spend time looking at the materials that students will use to write their CBA paper on Checks and Balances and Cherokee removal upon return from Spring Break.  Then, we will move on to discuss the issue of Slavery in the United States and the rift between North and South that occurred in the mid 1800’s.

Spring is in the air…stay focused on your goals.  See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | March 22, 2010

Week of March 22nd through 26th

Hello Students and Parents,


ITS GO TIME!  Presentations on Cherokee removal are on Thursday.  We have assembled a distinguished Supreme Court and you will be making your arguments on Thursday.  Monday you will be provided a check list for your group of materials and activities to be completed by Wednesday at the end of the period.  You will be given ample time to practice and review Monday through Wednesday – take advantage of the opportunity.

Friday we will discuss Thursdays activities, and begin to prepare for the Classroom Based Assessment after break.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | March 15, 2010

Week of March 15th through 19th


Hello parents and students,

We are heading into the home stretch on our Jacksonian Era project on the Cherokee Removal.  Many groups have been heroic in tackling some very dense and difficult primary source documents.  Reading these documents, written during the time that the Cherokee Removal was occurring is an important way to view history “from the driver’s seat”, that is, you are not relying on anyone to interpret history for you – you are doing it yourself.  By this time you should have a solid idea of the important points your group is arguing either for or against Cherokee removal.

The first half of this week, you are going to attempt to anticipate your competitions arguments so you may counter them.  If you are arguing FOR Cherokee removal, you will try to find information that the other side will use to argue AGAINST Cherokee removal and show why their arguments are inferior to your own.  If you are arguing AGAINST removal you would figure out the best ways to strike down the other sides arguments (this is a somewhat easier task).

On Wednesday or Thursday of this week you should begin putting your entire power point presentation together so you are prepared to present to the court next week.  You will be finishing up and presenting next week.

If you are in one of the groups that has had trouble focusing and getting down to business – this is your last opportunity!  Make the best of the work time you have and seek to excel and impress.  There is a lot of potential to “wow” with this project.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | March 8, 2010

Week of March 8th through March 12th

Hello Parents and Students,

Well.  The time is upon us.  You have been given your roles as you imagine fighting for or against Cherokee removal during the presidency of Andrew Jackson.  This week is all about collecting information that will help you support your argument – whether you agree with it or not.  You will be working in your group to read and discover information in “Primary Source” documents.  You will have access to hard copies of the works on the Webquest if you are more comfortable with a paper copy.  Feel free to print off personal copies at home as well – that way you can mark on or high-lite information as needed.

Access to the WebQuest and all other materials for our CBA are located on my blog ( on the right margin under the Classroom Based Assessment Heading.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | March 1, 2010

Week of March 1st to March 5th

Hello Students and Parents,

Good Grief!  MARCH…  This year is flying by – primarily because of the caliber of students this year.  In general, assignments are high quality and little time is spent on discipline issues… thank you.  It is this dedication to quality work that is going to be put into play this week as we begin your most challenging work for this year.

Students in 8th grade are beginning a Classroom Based Assessment, or CBA, this week called “Checks and Balances”.  In this CBA students will be examining a controversial case in US History – the forced removal of the Cherokee from the East to a reservation in Oklahoma.  This case became a battle between the Executive Branch (Andrew Jackson) and the Judicial Branch (The Supreme Court), with the Legislative Branch dividing on the issue.

I will make no secret of the difficulty of this unit – I wrote the materials we are using as part of a curriculum I developed for the state.  It is an interesting and important topic, but also involves the reading of many primary sources which are written at a pretty challenging level.  I know that most students are capable, and will offer help to those students who may struggle.

We will begin with a tutorial by Mrs. Roe on using context clues.  Since much of the work you are doing requires difficult reading – you will want to make sure you understand what you are reading.  Then, we will be jumping into an overview of the Trail of Tears.  This will be followed by group research taking a position on whether it is Constitutional to remove the Cherokee from their land and force them to relocate to “Indian Country” West of the Mississippi.  Some groups will take the side of the President, some the side of the Cherokee, and others will support the US settlers and Congress.  Finally, students will write their own position paper defending or decrying or  the Constitutionality of Indian removal.  This will meet the requirements of the State CBA for Social Studies.  In addition, all materials will be posted on this blog so that parents and students can access materials at home to spend additional time researching.  Please look under the CBA Category on the right to access materials.

This work will take us all the way to Spring Break, and perhaps a little beyond.  Then, we will begin units on Slavery and the Civil War.  Things are getting BUSY!  Let’s have a terrific week!

Posted by: jprice91 | February 8, 2010

February 8th through 12th

Hello Students and Parents,

First off, let me compliment you on the Lewis and Clark journals – the majority of them are outstanding.  I do not usually hand out the A’s in such large batches, but, as a group, you did outstanding work.

A few of you had issues with putting the journals in your own words – remember, this was a creative writing assignment using primary and secondary sources.  If you need to rewrite your journal, you will see an incomplete on your rubric and in the grade book.

We spent some time last week on the Missouri Compromise, Kansas-Nebraska Act, and some foundational information about Westward Expansion.  This week, we will begin a group presentation on one of si aspects of Westward Expansion.  In most classes, you will be able to choose your groups of three.  I will then be assigning you your category for research and study.

Monday we will begin going over project expectations and presentation guidelines.  The rest of the week is dedicated to research, information gathering, and beginning to outline your assignment.  Helpful Websites will be up on my blog by mid-week.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | January 30, 2010

Week of February 1st through 5th

Hello students and parents,

Happy new semester!  We are entering the period where everything begins to speed up.  You are finishing up the Lewis and Clark expedition on Monday and need to turn in your project at the end of the period to receive full credit.  For every day late, your project grade drops one grade, so try hard to complete it on time.  Bring your materials to class – if you finish this weekend, please bring a book or other work to complete in class so your class-mates can finish without distraction.

Tuesday we will be venturing into Westward Expansion after the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  The period of history from the end of the War of 1812 to the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 was an explosive period in American History.  Between American expansion West – filled with opportunity for some and tragedy for others,  northerners growing dissatisfaction with the “peculiar institution” of slavery, amazing new inventions like the steam engine, and a growing woman’s rights movement, the United States was an exciting place.

Over the next six weeks or so you will be exploring this period of American history.  We will begin with a general overview, leading into a focus on President Andrew Jackson’s attempts to assert his power over the Native American people in the name of expansion, eventually defying the US Supreme Court.

The issues we are exploring in this unit are complex and we will be reading from many primary sources.  This is a fascinating period in American history – so take advantage of this opportunity for growth and learning.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | January 25, 2010

Week of January 25th through 29th

Welcome to the last week of the first half of the year!

As we finish up quarter two, we are going to dive head first into the Lewis and Clark Journals.  On Monday we will be reviewing the requirements for the Lewis and Clark Journal Assignment due on Monday, February 1st.  In addition, you will be provided with a grading rubric and a check-off sheet for all of the required elements for the journals.

Parents should be aware that we spent last week watching Ken Burn’s important film on the topic “Lewis and Clark: Journey of the Corps of Discovery”.  Students are expected to have taken thorough notes during the film and should be able to show these to you.  I will have all handouts uploaded to the blog by the time Monday is over so you can see all elements of the project.  I told a few students this would be done this weekend – my computer is not cooperating, though.

Students will have computer access on Tuesday, Wednesday, and a few minutes on Friday.  Thursday will be spent on illustrations and solidifying rough drafts.  The amount of time and effort needed to do a quality job will require time outside of the classroom.  Please know that while the primary source documents including the actual journals of the expedition members are the inspiration for this project, ALL STUDENTS NEED TO CREATE JOURNALS THAT ARE IN THEIR OWN WORDS.  This can be a challenge for students.  Many will say “I can’t write it better than they did!”  I am not looking for students to write as eloquently as Merriwether Lewis (though some do); instead, the purpose is for students to write journal entries that demonstrate  their knowledge of the expedition and it’s impact on geography, science, expansionism, and relationships between American settlers and Tribes in the West.

This project is fun and a lot of hard work!  See you in class.

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | January 11, 2010

Week of January 11th – 15th

Hello Students and Parents,

Whew!  We are finally through the Constitution Unit.  It was evident from the post tests that students learned a lot.  In order to meet standard students needed to achieve 32 points on the test and many easily surpassed that mark.  Students who still need to meet standard were given an opportunity to retest on Friday.  Unfortunately, only six students came in to re-test.  There is one more opportunity to retest on Tuesday.  Students may come in before school or at lunch to retest on Tuesday only.

Monday we begin our journey into Westward Expansion with the journey of Lewis and Clark.  Westward Expansion is a defining element of US History and includes both wonderful and tragic events in American History.  We can be proud of the perseverance and drive of Lewis and Clark and the brave families who followed them out West.  We can also reflect on the later US policies that supported the removal, subjugation and destruction of the Indian people.  In the words of British author Charles Dickens “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

We will begin by learning about Jefferson’s presidency and his Louisiana purchase.  Jefferson sent Lewis out to see what he had just purchased for the United States.  We will learn about what Lewis Clark and their men (and one woman, a baby and a Newfoundland dog) found on their journey West.  Wednesday, we will be watching Ken Burns wonderful documentary on the Lewis and Clark expedition.  You are expected to take extensive notes during the film to be used later in creating their own expedition journal.  More on that later.  The film will take several days to watch and we will begin the project early next week.

Finally, let me acknowledge that this is Black History Month.  This year it is made especially poignant by the election of our first African American president Barack Obama.    Take time to look at the display in our entrance display case when you have a moment.

See you in class,

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | January 4, 2010

Week of January 4th through 8th

Welcome back 8th Graders!  I hope that your Winter break was a restful one, and that you were able to spend quality time with friends and family.  I am confident that you will return refreshed and ready to get on with the second half of your 8th Grade year.

You may recall that we were unable to wade through all of our work on the Constitution prior to the break.  I think that the trade-off was well worth it, though, as our discussions about the Supreme Court decisions were both interesting and enlightening.  The trade-off is that we will spend the first half of this week in review for the Constitution Unit Post Test this Wednesday.  I will be providing a study guide in class on Monday and will post it on the blog once we have reviewed it together.  You are also welcome to use all of your notebook notes and your pre-test to study both in and out of class.   Remember that all students need to reach the 70% bench mark to avoid re-testing before school or at lunch.

As we wrap up our focus on the Constitution, we move forward to talk about the United State’s movement West.  At the end of this week we will touch on the War of 1812, sometimes called the Revolutionary War: Part Two.  Following that, we will head into Westward Expansion beginning with Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition.  We will follow Lewis and Clark from Saint Louis to the Pacific, noting their incredible cataloging of previously unrecorded plants and  animals; additionally, the relationships established with Indian tribes the expedition encountered.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | December 8, 2009

December 7th through 11th

Hello Students and Parents,

Two weeks until the holiday break and we are pushing full steam ahead.  We have a notebook check this Wednesday and the Constitution packets we worked on for the entirety of last week will be graded and entered as well – hopefully by Thursday.  The Quiz last Friday did not go as well as I had hoped, but we will spend some time next week in review of the material.  Expect the post test to be given next Thursday, though with all of the disruptions it is conceivable that that will be pushed to the week we return.

This week students are tackling the Bill of Rights through the creation of short skits.  Each student group will receive on of the first eight amendments (the 9th and 10th deal with the powers of the states) and will create a short skit that explains the main idea(s) contained in the amendment.  This should be both valuable and entertaining.

At the end of the week we will look at the four primary factors considered by the Supreme Court when examining cases – time, space and manner; public good and safety, age of consent and responsibility, and exceptional standards.  This will lead us to next week’s round table discussion of several precedent setting court cases.  It is really interesting stuff, and really valuable as we explore the framers dedication to protecting individual rights.

Remember, mid-quarter progress reports go out Friday.  Some of you have lower than normal grades due to a poor quiz score, but those should rebound with the entry of assignments mid-week – hopefully you turned your work in.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | November 30, 2009

Week of November 30th – December 4th

Greetings Students and Parents,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and first ever Native American Heritage Day!  I am stuffed, personally.

I would like, first, to pay my respects to the four fallen Lakewood Police officers who were shot at a Lakewood coffee shop this Sunday.  One of the important byproducts of an education is that it keeps individuals off the streets and out of prison.  It is my hope that we can someday eradicate such senseless acts of violence against those who protect our communities.

This week we will be examining the articles of the Constitution.  We will be exploring the duties and powers of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches, followed by the powers of the states.  We are working in table groups.  If you are absent for any day this week, you will need to come in before school or at lunch to get the information you missed.

Pretty straight forward stuff – see you in class.

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | November 23, 2009

Week of November 22nd through 24th

Happy Thanksgiving week.  I hope you all are preparing for time with friends and family.  Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday, and I wish you and your families a restful and fun-filled extended weekend.  Please be aware that as of June, 2009, we also have another holiday of significance during this week.  The Friday following Thanksgiving has been designated Native American Heritage Day and was designated a national holiday by the US Congress.  THis day was created to recognize the extensive contributions of our Native population to the United States.  In celebration, we have an assembly this week featuring the Nisqually Canoe Singers.  This is a tremendous opportunity for you to see an example of traditional Nisqually song and dance and learn a bit about the culture and history of our local tribe.

In class this week, we will be focusing our attention on the United States’ first attempt at a constitution – the Articles of Confederation (And Perpetual Union – if you with to be exact).  The Articles of Confederation were somewhat of a disaster as they tried to make everyone happy; thus, no-one was.  We will watch a short film followed by work out of the We the People text and class discussion.

See you in class!

Posted by: jprice91 | November 9, 2009

November 9th through 13th

Hello Students and Parents!

Sorry my blog was offline for a while.  Between H1N1’n it and playing catch up, I got a little behind.  Hopefully this marks the last lapse for a while.

First, please take time to honor our Veterans this week as we pay tribute to all those who have served, and continue to serve, in our armed forces.  Wednesday is not just a day off of school, it is an opportunity for you to thank a Veteran for their service to our nation.

Monday, you will be carrying your navigation portfolio around with you to your classes.  For my class I will be asking you to include your Pre-Colonial or 13 Colonies pre and post tests in your portfolio.  If you have removed them from your portfolio folder, please make sure you bring them to class so you can place them in your portfolio. On Monday we will also review your glossary and end of lesson questions for the “We The People” text.

On Tuesday we will be looking at the question “what is Republican government?”  We will be looking at how the Roman Cincinatus from 440 B.C.E.  influenced our own government structure.  We will be continuing with that lesson for the remainder of the week in cooperative groups.

Finally, first quarter grades will be submitted on Monday.  Please be aware that most students who show poor test scores in skyward did not take advantage of numerous opportunities to retake the tests.  I opened my classroom in the mornings and at lunch three times last week for re-tests.  While I had many students take advantage of this opportunity, many students chose not to.  This week we start out fresh – please encourage your child to seek success in the classroom – I believe all students can have a positive experience with a little hard work.

Have a great week!

Posted by: jprice91 | October 26, 2009

October 26th – 30th

Happy Halloween Week!

I am very happy to be back among the living after a serious bout of the flu.  My experience is just another example of why we all need to make sure to wash our hands regularly and, if you feel sick or have a fever, please stay home.  Hopefully there will be a decline in the number of us who end up at home instead of school for an extended period.

This week, then, we will spend time playing catch up on a lot of the work I was able to assign to you, but unable to talk to you about – primarily in relation to the Revolutionary War and how Boston was the hotbed of anti-British sentiments in the Colonies.  I will be stamping your assignments for the three chapters you did while I was home and we will discuss them on Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday, I will be giving you a spreadsheet with all of the required work you are to have recorded in your student journal to this point.  You will be checking to make sure that all work is complete, and applying a point value based on completion.  This spreadsheet will be turned in and the points applied to the 20% Notebook grade for the quarter.  Please make sure your notebook has all completed assignments in it and is available to you on Wednesday.

Thursday and Friday we will be wrapping up the Revolutionary War and discussing the Battle of Yorktown and the cooperation of French forces in securing victory for the young American nation.  The was a stunning victory that showed both our own citizens and  other nations the character of the American citizens.

See you in class (Finally!)

Posted by: jprice91 | October 19, 2009

October 19th Through 23rd

Hello Students and Parents,

This week is all about the American Revolution.  We will begin by discussing the reasons for the revolution, including the beginning of Democratic principals put forth in the Magna Charta.  Once we have covered that to satisfaction we will move forward to cover the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party and the Shot Heard ‘Round the World – All important events signaling a move away from being Colonists in favor of becoming “Americans.”

This will lead us into next week when we finish our coverage of the American Revolution and move towards our work on the Founding Documents, otherwise known as the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States.

See you in class,

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | October 11, 2009

October 12th through 16th

Brrrr! Happy Mid-October,

First, a reminder to parents and students that there will be a 13 Colonies Post Test on Monday.  Parents, we spent all day Friday and a portion of Thursday reviewing the material – your student should be prepared.  Students, I tried to upload the answers to the Pre-Test onto my blog from home and, once again, am experiencing technical issues.  However, if you followed directions in class, you still have your notebooks and your copy of the pre-test with the revised answers written down.  Enlist a sister, brother, mom, dad, or your eighth cousin twice removed to review the information with you.  Also, use a blank 13 Colonies map to test yourself on your expertise in locating the original 13 (14 if you count Mass. twice) colonies.

Tuesday through Friday we will dive in for a very brief swim in the Revolutionary War and the primary reasons why our colony of heretofore content and happy Englishmen (and women) decided to separate from England and establish “a more perfect Union.”  On Wednesday we will watch a nifty little movie I picked up from Mount Vernon (G. Washington’s home) on my last visit.  It gives a great summary of the events that brought General Washington to power as our first elected president.   We will explore the concept of “taxation without representation” and lay the groundwork for our unit on the founding documents which begins the following week.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | October 5, 2009

October 5th through 9th

Students and Parents,

This week is going to involve the tying up of some loose ends.  On Monday and Tuesday we will finally finish the Language Arts pilot and will be able to continue to a normal US History schedule after that.  Monday and Tuesday, we will be doing light work on the 13 Colonies t accommodate the Language Arts pilot test.  Wednesday we will finish up the Colonies poster presentations to their peers, who are taking notes to use in Post Test study.  Thursday students will do peer evaluations for themselves and their group members followed by review of all portions of the 13 Colonies Pre-Test.  The Post-test will, most likely occur on Friday, but may be moved to Monday depending on how much review time we need to revisit the material.

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | September 27, 2009

September 28th to October 2nd

Hello parents and students,

This week is all about flexibility and teamwork.

Flexibility because my morning classes were to have the majority of students taking the pilot MSP test.  Unfortunately, the booklets have not shown up yet, so we may be delayed until the end of the week for administering the test.  Classes will need to be prepared to test later on in the week.

Teamwork will need to happen for the completion of a 13 Colonies poster that teams of students will be completing on Monday and Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday.   A project outline is available on the student assignments page of my blog:  Students have been working hard and I look forward to their finished projects.  These posters will be presented late this week or early next week depending on the testing schedule.

Finally, many students retook the Pre-Colonial test last week and many made great improvements.   A majority of students have now reached the required 80% passage requirement and several are within a point or two. Unfortunately, many students either did not show up to re-test as scheduled, or showed little progress in learning the required material.  If your student still shows an incomplete grade for their Pre-Colonial post-test, they have not yet met the 80% requirement.

There will be one final re-test next week.  I will Email when that day and time has been firmed up, but expect the re-test to occur on Thursday.

Have a great week!

Posted by: jprice91 | September 20, 2009

September 20th through 24th

Hello students!

First, thanks for your participation in International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  I had a lot of fun, and hope you did too.

This week we will begin exploring the original 13 colonies.  We will begin, as we do with every unit, with a pre-test to see what you know already.  Then, we will determine which of our 50 states made up the original 13 colonies.  Once we have established that you know WHERE the colonies were located and what they were called, we will be exploring which colonies made up the New England, Middle, and Southern colonies.  If you have been paying attention in my class, some of these colonies should already be familiar to you.  This unit will last about two weeks, after which we will begin exploring the motivations behind, and the creation of, our founding documents.

If you need to retake our first test on the Pre-Colonial period, please make sure you sign up for a slot on Wednesday through Friday.  It is important that you reach or exceed the 80% passage criteria.  This unit should be a lot of fun, and also helpful in giving you some study tools for when you have to study challenging material.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | September 13, 2009

September 14th through September 18th

Our first full week of classes will see the beginning of a regular classroom routine as well.

  • Please make sure you pick up your history notebook every day, and make sure you write down the weeks schedule in your planner on Monday.
  • This week we will be focusing on our nation in Pre-Colonial times.  We will spend some time looking at the indigenous population (Native Americans), the history of exploration to our continent, and the establishment of the first colonies.
  • On Friday, we will relax a bit and celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day by looking at the most famous pirate to terrorize the 13 Colonies – Blackbeard!

Monday – Write down the week off of white board.  Introduction to Pre-Tests – “Pre-Colonial Pre-Assessment.”  Instructions on note taking.

Tuesday and Wednesday (Mr. Price at the dentist) – Power point on the first peoples of North American and the first explorers and settlers in what is now the United States.  Partner study for Pre-Colonial Post Test.

Thursday – Pre-Colonial Post Test.  Correct as a group.

Friday – Y’arrr!  It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  Talk and Dress like pirates to show your school spirit.  The dread pirate Black Beard and the 13 Colonies will be discussed.

Posted by: jprice91 | September 6, 2009

Welcome to Eighth Grade US History!

Hello Students and Parents,

Welcome to Mr. Price’s 8th Grade US History blog!  You are reading this post, which means that you have successfully found my blog on-line.  Please place this site in your “favorites” so you can access it easily.

This blog is a great tool for students and parents to see what is going on in class each week.  Take some time to explore the blog and you will find that there are places to access assignments, study materials, Washington State standards for 8th grade Social Studies (US History), and much more.  Our first week is a little nuts with all of the beginning of school activities we have to complete.  FOr this reason I will not be completing a weekly schedule until the second week of school.  We will be starting with the 13 colonies and moving on from there.

You are welcome to write comments on this blog; however, please adhere to the following rules:

  • Comments should be about classwork or curriculum
  • Use correct grammar
  • DO NOT use your last name or a nickname.  This is a public domain and using your full name is unwise.

The best time to look at this blog is on Sunday evenings.  I will post the weeks activities on Sunday and this allows you to be a step ahead when you show up for class on Monday.

I am looking forward to a marvelous year with you – I have heard outstanding things about this year’s crop of 8th graders!

See you in class,

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | February 1, 2009

Week of February 2nd through 6th

Hello all!

It is finally upon us!  The classroom based assessment happens this Thursday for Blue classes and Friday for Black classes.  This is a major assignment and you need to make sure you are prepared.  Parents, all of the materials that students need for this assignment have either been posted on my blog, or given to students in the classroom.

Monday and Tuesday we will once again look at anchor papers from students accross the state who have completed this assignment over the past few years.  This should help you get a very clear idea of what an excellent, satisfactory, and poor paper look like in the context of this assignment.  I will also be marking you off for having your bibliography and outline done.  Remember, your outline must be just that, an OUTLINE – not in paragraph format.

Wednesday I will give you a check list of everything you need to bring with you on Thursday or Friday to assist you in writing your paper – obviously this includes your outline, research, bibliography, etc.  Do a quality job and take pride in your work!

Once you are done with this assignment we will move to the Lewis and Clark expedition next week – I am sure you will be looking forward to that as I am.  Our focus will begin to shift from Civics to a more traditional historical perspective as we begin to talk about the United State’s expansion West and the ramifications of that for both our nation and the Indian nations we encountered.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | January 26, 2009

Welcome to the Second Half of the Year!

Happy end of January and new beginning for the new semester.  Before we move on, some of you have a lille old business to take care of.  Monday morning is the third and final chance to take the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  Grades go in at 8:00 Tuesday morning so there will be no other opportunity.  If you do not reach the 80% standard, the highest grade received on the test will be entered.

This week you should be done with most of your data collection. 

  • You have chosen an issue. 
  • You have taken a position in support or opposition of your topic – showing how your opinion balances the needs of both the individual and society (the common good).
  • You have shown how your issue relates to the Constitution and, in some cases, the Declaration of Independence.

Now we are going to look at how to formulate your arguments.  In addition, we will be working on your bibliography.  Early in the week we will be looking at writing examples, and exploring what elements make them quality or poor papers and why.  Once we have looked at examples you will begin writing your own outlines for your introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and conclusion.

See you in class!

Posted by: jprice91 | January 18, 2009

Week of January 20th through 23rd

Hello everyone,

What an amazingly meaningful and busy week we have ahead of us.  We start with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.  Enjoy your day off and reflect on MLK’s impact on the possibility of Tuesdays historic events.  Tuesday we celebrate the inauguration of America’s  first African-American president.  Regardless of political affiliation we can all be proud of this moment in American History.  Friday is the official end of the Semester and the half-way point of the school year.

On Tuesday we will have the TV on in class and be watching inauguration activities.  Along with that students will get back their first attempt at the Constitution and Declaration of Independence Test.  I expected the success rate to be lower than usual due to all of the distractions of snow days, flooding, science fair work, and winter break.  While there were a number of you who received perfect or near perfect scores, many students did quite poorly on this general knowledge test.  You must have a score of at least 33/42 to meet standard.

For the many of you who need to retest to meet standard, there will be a retest in class on Wednesday.  I have posted a copy of the test you took on this blog on the student “assignment” page.  Please use it as a study guide.  There is also a ton of information on the web ( is a good resource), in your notebooks (many of the test questions are definitions), and on this blog site in a number of locations.  Success on tests depends on studying – make sure you spend some time and effort finding those answers you missed.

Tuesday you also need to bring your completed graphic organizer to class for credit.  If you do not need to retake the test you are welcome to use Tuesday and Wendesday to do more research on your CBA Topic.  Thursday your Website analysis page is due in class.  Friday is the last day of the Semester.  It will also be the day for the final test re-take if you do not meet standard on the second test.

Finally – I am in desperate need of two dependable TA’s for next semester – if you are organized, responsible, and a hard worker I would love to have your help.  TA duties generally include filing, organization of classroom materials, copying, etc.

Posted by: jprice91 | January 12, 2009

Week of January 12-16

One week until MLK Jr. Day and the inauguration of our first African-American President.  What a cool time to be a history teacher if I do say so myself.

This week is research and information recording for your constitutional issues CBA.  Mrs. Roe will be in class to help you learn the bibliography program we are using, as well as discussing the pitfalls of plagiarism.  Remember:  when you use information in your paper that you took from someone or somewhere else, you MUST tell the reader where you found your information.

The first graphic organizer in your packet I handed out Friday is due on either Thursday or Friday, depending on your class schedule.  It is worth 10 points to you so please make sure you complete it – easy, easy points people!  The CBA requirements are found on the pages on top and to the right of this post – please make sure you consistently look at these pages as you formulate your arguments – there are many tools to help you complete this project successfully if you choose to use them.

The weeks schedule is a little screwy with the MAP tests this week in Science – please check out the schedule on the schedule page.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | January 5, 2009

Week of January 5th through 9th


Good Gravy that was a weird vacation!  Anyway, we are back in the saddle and getting prepared to ride towards the sunset of this semester (hows that for alliteration?)

We will begin the week with a game of Jeopardy to get the remembering juices flowing in the part of the brain that has to take our Post Test for the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  That test will be on Wednesday.  Following Wednesday we will FINALLY get to the Classroom Based Assessment called Constitutional Issues.  All of the materials are available on this Blog on two pages that are easily recognizable because they both say CBA in their title.  We will be going through them on Thursday and Friday, but feel free to look through them before hand. 

With the robbing of 3 days of work before break, we probably will bleed in to the first week of next semester with this project.  This means that, most likely, the grade for your final draft will be in next semesters grade book.  All of the groundwork you do to prepare for your final paper will be on this semestersgrade book, however.

See you in class!

– Mr. Price

Posted by: jprice91 | December 16, 2008

For the Week of December 15th through 19th

Sorry – I am behind a day once again.

We are finally coming to the end of the Constitution Unit and that can mean only one thing…Unit Post Test!  Hooray!  But seriously, we will be reviewing and revisiting information on the Constitution and Declaration of Independence from the last nine weeks.  The test is not that hard, but will require that your revisit concepts we have not touched on in some time.  As some of you have noticed, going through the information on this Blog can be a significant resource for you.

The test will, most likely, be on Wednesday; however, if weather does not stop us from an extra day of review, we may be able to push it to Thursday.  PLAN ON WEDNESDAY.

Following winter break, we will be jumping immediately into work on your classroom based assessment.  Once again, there will be a specific page on this for accessing CBA websites and information.  We will be working extensively off of this page during our CBA research and writing.

This is the last blog for three weeks.  Have a WONDERFUL winter break!

Posted by: jprice91 | December 6, 2008

Week of December 8th through 12th

Happy 10 days until winter break!  Last week we examined some of the ways those in the judiciary (lawyers/judges) get to the question “have civil rights been violated?”  As we progress through this week, we are going to keep focused on Supreme Court cases dealing with the First, Fourth, and Fifth amendments.  We have already looked at cases dealing with freedom of religion, speech, and petition.  Expect to continue your analysis throughout this week.

Next week we will, if all goes as planned, review your Constitution pre-test from several weeks ago in preparation to take the test later on in the week.  This test is to see if you have a basic understanding of the origins, purpose, and structure of the Constitution.  Remember, you need to meet an 80% threshold on all post test in order to meet standard.

Following winter break, we will jump feet first into the Constitutional Issues CBA.  The link is already posted on the right side of this Blog, so take a look.  I am currently working on a new Blog page that will deal exclusively with instructions and links for the CBA.  We will be spending approximately two weeks on in-class research, and one week composing a final draft of your work.  This is the most substantial project you will do this semester, so take it seriously. 

Remember, RMS is  doing a fundraiser for the UCBO this week.  All proceeds go to needy families in our community.  It is important that we all do what we can to help those less fortunate.  Please bring in any amount you can afford to your homeroom to donate – it will make you feel good. 

See you in class!

Posted by: jprice91 | December 2, 2008


Hi Everyone,

I am terribly late with this post and I apologize.  We are working on the Bill of Rights for the next two weeks.  Monday and Tuesday of this week we are tackling the purpose of the First 10 Amendments (8 if you are a purist) known as the “Bill of Rights.”  These rights will be discussed as a class on Wednesday, followed by close examination of several Supreme Court cases that have established precedent – particularly the 1st, 4th, and 5thAmendments.  This is always a popular part of the curriculum and allows for discussion and in-depth thinking around the rights we often take for granted.

This discussion will bleed into next week, and will be followed the final week before Winter Break by study for and taking of the Post Test on the Constitution.  Be prepared for your student to need study time to meet the required 80% standard.

Posted by: jprice91 | April 28, 2014

Good stuff going on!

Hello parents and students,
Sorry for missing last weeks Email home.  National Board Writing and a bad router at my house are making things a little dicey.  I am currently broadcasting from my chair at Starbucks.
We had some terrific discussions about social movements and how they connect to the rights students, and citizens in general, enjoy in the US today.  Students looked at the Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the Declaration of Independence, outlining the unequal conditions of women in the 19th century.  Students then worked in small groups to decide whether the issues outlined have been resolved in the US today.  Some classes had discussions that were deep, engaging, and showed students ability to connect past and present and use evidence to support their claims.  They are showing they are ready for high school.
We have begun examining the differences between the agricultural South and the Industrial North.  Mr. Foes is leading discussion and students are exploring the economic, social, transportation, and geographical differences in the two regions as we prepare to tackle the difficult topic of slavery.
Beginning next week we will be reading the textbook, examining primary source documents, and watching portions of the miniseries ROOTS.  This is a highly engaging and deeply unsettling unit for students and they may want to debrief with you.  We will be sending home a permission slip to watch the ROOTS segments as it uses historically accurate terminology including the use of the “N Word” in a few clips, along with portrayals of psychological and violence towards slaves and free blacks.  I encourage you to allow your child to watch and discuss, but we will have an alternative assignment if your child does not have permission to watch.
Mr. Foes will be sending an introduction letter home this week as he takes over teaching full time for the next few weeks when we are not MSP testing.  He has a nice rapport with students and is doing a good job as he prepares to enter the teaching profession.
As always, please let me know if you have questions or concerns.  Also, please check your child’s planner to make sure they are keeping up on assignments.  
See you in class,
– JP
Posted by: jprice91 | March 22, 2010

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