Monday, August 29, 2011

Social Studies Department Grading Guidelines

The Social Studies Department and D.C. Everest in general believe that grades should reflect what students know and can do.  The academic grade should not reflect things like behavior, attendance, participation, etc.(These things should be reported separately.)
The Social Studies Department Strongly Recommends the following guidelines for grading.  Each PLC or grade level group should adopt a common grading policy based upon the following:

1.  Teachers using a 100% grading scale should strongly consider not giving Zero's for missing work!  Zero's are mathematically unfair to the student and do not reflect what students know or can do.  They make it impossible for students to have any hope of recovery.

2. Homework and other formative assessments, notebook checks, etc. should be devalued and it is strongly recommended to keep Homework valued at 10-15%.

3.  The department recommends limiting extra credit so that it does not distort the purpose of the grade.  Please make the assignments meaningful.

4. It is recommended that each PLC develop a REDO policy.

Here are two video clips on grading practices by Wormeli and Reeves.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Social Studies Department Goals


1. Authentic Literacy


  • Choose powerful readings (e.g., milestone documents & literature, provocative articles, current event articles) that will generate thinking/discussion. Increase the amount of reading done in class.
  • Teach and model how to read closely, deeply and purposefully.
  • Teach grade level social studies vocabulary upfront in each unit and also teach the academic vocabulary necessary for students to be successful.
  • Continue to use the Thinking like a Historian framework (Cause and Effect, Change and Continuity, Turning Points, Using the Past, Through Their Eyes & Differing Perspectives) and APPARTS as tools for reading


·        Increase non-fiction writing at each grade level with higher expectations for the quality of writing (e.g., five-paragraph essays, DBQs, free response essays, journals, reflections).
·        Teach and model the writing process (e.g., rough draft, editing, revising).
·        Continue to use the Thinking like a Historian framework (Cause and Effect, Change and Continuity, Turning Points, Using the Past, Through Their Eyes & Differing Perspectives) and APPARTS as tools for writing.


·        Increase the amount talking/discussion by randomly calling on students.
·        Use social studies discussion strategies (e.g., Socratic dialog, Socratic circles, national issues forums, consensus building/public deliberation, debate formats, rotating 2x2’s, 5 plus 1, book circles, etc.).
·        Continue to use the Thinking like a Historian framework (Cause and Effect, Change and Continuity, Turning Points, Using the Past, Through Their Eyes & Differing Perspectives) and APPARTS as tools for discussion.

2. Assessment
·        Use principles and practices of grading that indicate what the students have learned (e.g., homework/quizzes 15% of grade, no zeros if using 100 point scale, allowing for redoes)
·        Use formative assessment daily (assessment for learning – checking daily for understanding)
·        Use several common assessments (unit tests, semester exams – summative testing). Does the assessment match with the powersheet?

3. Professional Learning Community
·        Be a productive member of your PLC. It is critical that all members contribute equally to this process.

4. Technology

·        Use Web 2.0 technologies to make social studies more interactive and engaging for students. We want students to be communicators, collaborators, and creators using technology as a means to complete a product that is shared with a wider audience.
·        Participate in Smart Board Training (30 hours for new Smart boards, ___ hours for document cameras/clicker systems)
·        Use technology for formative assessment (e.g., Smart Board Clicker Response System, ipad, online surveys)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Students Work in the Summer

Some students at D.C. Everest spend their time collecting historical memories. Students are part of the Oral History Project which collects and publishes oral histories on a variety of topics. The student group has published twenty books since 1998 when they completed their first book on the Hmong migration for Wisconsin's Sesquicentennial. This summer students are working on a book about Wisconsin Women and Holocaust Survivors. Students do a variety of activites: collecting interviews, transcribing the interviews, editing the interviews, gathering photos from the interviewees, putting the interviews into a desktop publishing program called QuarkXpress, planning for receptions, marketing the books and keeping the website updated. Suzanne is one of the student editors. She stated, "I enjoy it. It's really interesting to hear peoples' stories and share them with other people." Ryan, another student editor stated, "We did 72 interviews this past school year, each about an average of ten pages - right now we're organizing them." In 2009 students won the prestigious Beveridge Family Teaching Award.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wisconsin Civil War Wall

D.C. Everest students have created a moving Civil War Memorial Wall which commemorates the Wisconsinites who died fighting in the Civil War. Last spring a group of 8th grade Honors students embarked on this worthy project. Students wrote a grant and presented their proposal to the D.C. Everest Area Education Foundation. They received a small grant to proceed with their project. They then contacted the archivist Russ Horton, at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in the hopes of locating a list of Wisconsin casualties in the Civil War. They were directed to a book published in 1915 entitled Wisconsin Losses in the Civil War. A parent volunteer coordinated getting the actual banners created which are hung on wooden frames. The Civil War wall has been featured the past two years at our annual Civil War Day. The Wisconsin State Geneological Society featured the wall at their annual Gene-A-Rama in LaCrosse this past spring. Additionally, the Marshfield Historic Preservation Society used it for their Marshfield Memorial Day Celebration. The moving wall can be used by any Wisconsin organization for a small fee ($75.00). Contact or

Monday, June 20, 2011

Historical Reading

The following books provide a great starting list for students in Advanced Placement United States History. These books are landmark books in U.S. history. In addition to these books, EDSITEment has an awesome list of books for college bound students.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1741) Jonathan Edwards; First Great Awakening; Edwards's sermon points to the judgment awaiting hard-hearted sinners.

Common Sense
(1776) Thomas Paine; American Revolution; Paine argued for independence and the U.S. declared independence soon thereafter.

The Federalist
(1787-88) Ratification of Constitution; Eighty-five editorials in NY newspapers argued for ratification of the Constitution.

The Last of the Mohicans
(1826) James Fenimore Cooper; Cultural nationalism in post War of 1812 period; This fictional work is based on the 1757 surrender of Fort William Henry to the French during the French and Indian War.

Democracy in America (1835, 1840) Alexis deTocqueville; Foreign traveler comments on the U.S.; Tocqueville wrote a very fine book in two volumes that analyzed U.S. and Americans in the 1830s, including the horrid treatment of Indians and blacks.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) Frederick Douglass; Slavery, antislavery reform; Douglass told of his life as a slave and argued for abolition of slavery.

Women in the Nineteenth Century (1845) Margaret Fuller; Women's rights movement;Fuller said that women must fulfill themselves as individuals, not subordinates to men. The book was influential at Seneca Falls.

Civil Disobedience
(1849) Henry David Thoreau; Thoreau spends a night in jail in protest of the Mexican War; civil disobedience; The book speaks to the duty of civil disobedience in response to an individual's self-reliance and conscience. (Self-reliance is a transcendentalist principle.)

Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) Harriet Beecher Stowe; Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 (part of Compromise of 1850); Slavery. This book inflamed both the North and the South.

A Century of Dishonor
(1881) Helen Hunt Jackson; Reform movement leading to Dawes Act of 1887. Jackson wrote of the mistreatment of the Indians since colonial times. This book was to Indians what Uncle Tom's Cabin was to slavery.

Our Country (1885) Imperialism; racism; Strong argued that the Anglo-Saxon "race" would conquer the world.

The Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783
(1890) Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan; Imperialism; naval arms race; Mahan demonstrated the importance of a strong navy for national power; his work led to the U.S. building the Great White Fleet of battleships in the 1890s and the naval arms buildup among various nations.

How the Other Half Lives (1890) Jacob Riis; Slums; reform; Riis described the horrible living conditions in the poor tenement district of New York City.

The Significance of the Frontier in American History (1893) Frederick Jackson Turner; The end of the frontier and the emergence of urban America; Turner wrote about the practical, inventive, coarse, individualistic American that was the product of the American frontier.

The Shame of the Cities (1902) Lincoln Steffens; Muckrakers; Progressive reform; Steffens described corruption in major cities and cried out for reform (book appeared earlier in serial form in McClure's)

The Souls of Black Folks (1903) W.E.B. DuBois; Blacks in America; He argues for advanced education for blacks while despairing of the plight of blacks since Reconstruction.

The History of the Standard Oil Company (1904) Ida Tarbell; Monopolistic trusts; muckrakers; antitrust laws; Muckraker Ida Tarbell exposed the Standard Oil Co. and Rockefeller as rapacious and exploitative (book appeared earlier in serial form in McClure's)

The Jungle (1906) Upton Sinclair; Muckrakers; corporate abuses; Sinclair exposed Chicago meat-packing industry. This led to Meat Inspection Act of 1906

The Promise of American Life (1909) Ernest Hemingway; TR's New Nationalism; Croly (and TR) preached that big government should regulate big business and big unions. [Contrast this with Wilson's New Freedom which suggested that big business should be broken up to promote competition among small businesses.]

Main Street
(1920) Sinclair Lewis; Provincialism and intolerance; Small-town American values are skewered as a bright young woman is frustrated as she tries to change things for the better.

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy 1955 This book discusses eight senators who showed acted of courage.

On the Road (1957) Jack Kerouac; Counter-culture in the 1950s; "beatniks"; the "beat generation" Kerouac writes about three years of restless cross-country trips involving various stories of people living on the fringes of society

The Affluent Society (1958) John Kenneth Galbraith; Consumerism and prosperity in the 1950s; Galbraith criticized society where increasing private affluence exists alongside increasing poverty. He urged greater governmental expenditures on education and health care.

Silent Spring (1962) Rachel Carson; Environmental protection reform; She wrote of about the harmful effects of the pesticide DDT and began the environmental protection movement. DDT was banned.

Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (1963) Betty Friedan; Women's Rights; feminist movement; The book explained the frustration of educated American housewives trapped in roles that deny self-fulfillment. The book started the second feminist

Letter from a Birmingham Jail
(1963) Martin Luther King; Civil Rights movement; King argued in favor of civil disobedience to challenge racial injustice.

Thanks to jaredshmared and his list on Quizlet

Saturday, January 8, 2011

D.C. Everest Social Studies infuses DBQ writing 6-12

Document-based writing, which is a staple of the College Board Advanced Placement assessments, have been implemented in high school AP classes at D.C. Everest over the past two decades. Over the past two years, DBQ writing has been practiced in the junior high at 8th grade U.S. History and 9th grade American Institutions. Recently the process of writing essays with primary sources has been extended to the Middle School as well. The D.C. Everest Social Studies Department 6-12 held a one day workshop on DBQ writing for its staff 6-12 and invited Phil Roden to speak about the DBQ Project. DBQ writing is a fabulous way to improve writing skills while promoting thinking in the social studies classroom! as well as Peter Pappas' blog are two outstanding sites to learn about DBQs.

Students Make History in Weston, WI.

The Oral History Project students at D.C. Everest have been recognized by the Portal Wisconsin blog. According to their website, is a Web site created by the Wisconsin Cultural Coalition to support the state’s culture, arts, humanities and history. Our culture and arts blog, begun in February 2009, offers site visitors a new place to discover Wisconsin’s rich resources in the arts and humanities. Recently the D. C. Oral History Project published Zaj Lus: A Hmong Children's Story Collection as well as a Collection or veteran interviews on the Iraq War titled The Iraq War and Occupation: A Struggle for Democracy. The Club is currently working on a new collection of oral interviews on Wisconsin Women: Celebrating Their Contributions. The D.C. Everest Oral History Project was the 2009 recipient of the American Historical Association's Albert Beveridge K-12 Teaching Award!