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Marianne John




Update for all classes

March 22, 2017


Here we are well into third trimester!  Where has the year gone? Earlier this week we completed the the Renaissance unit, and now we are turning our attention to what happens in the Christian religious world in Western Europe during that time and later. This period of study is called the Reformation.


As of today students have either read portions of Chapter 31 on their own or we’ve gone over them together in class.  We will continue with Chapter 31 and 32 over the next week.  The world is opening up.  Columbus has sailed the ocean blue.  Gutenberg has printed Bibles on the early printing press.  The world is changing at an incredible pace.  The Protestant Reformation is a key part of this story, and sets the stage for 8th grade United States History.  We'll continue after Spring Break. 


March 8, 2017


We are well into the Renaissance unit and currently touring Florence. Today we tried to imagine how Brunelleschi was able to create the dome of the great cathedral there.  


As of today, we have completed these sections in our Renaissance unit:


Chapter 28--pages 315-319.  We have also complete the ISN sections that go with that work.


Chapter 29--pages 323-327 and page 331.  We are continuing to work on the ISN sections that go with that reading.


Due Friday this week--Study guide for Chapter 28.  It is attached here.  Students will get it in class Thursday and have a small chunk of time to work in class. 


We will continue to work  with these materials and a DBQ unit over the next few days.  The assessment is in two parts, a written portion and a multiple choice assessment.  



                   1.  March 15-16, next Wed and Thurs--we will complete the written portion.

                    2.  March 21, Tuesday following, we will take the multiple choice portion of the exam.  This gives students plenty of time to review and learn about this amazing time period.


Update for February 10, 2017


Independent Practice--Should be done by Tuesday.  We've been working on this in class all week.

  1. Notes on Knights from pages 26-27

  2. Notes on Samurai from pages 243-248

  3. DBQ Documents A, D, E

What we've been doing:

  1. We completed Phase I of the Warrior unit Monday with a group slide show.  Each student created a slide that answered the BIG question:  What makes a warrior?

  2. Our focus has now shifted to two specific warrior groups:  Knights of Medieval Europe/Samurai of Japan.

  3. We’ve spent the rest of this week gathering information on two charts, one for each warrior group.  The objective is to ultimately compare/contrast these warriors in three different categories:  Equipment, Code of Behavior, Training.  

The BIG question now is this:  Are knights/ samurai more alike or more different in each of these categories?  Wise students are using Chapter 22 of the textbook, the DBQ with five documents, and pages 26-27 of the textbook to begin gathering sufficient evidence to support their decisions.


This week we are wrapping up the Africa unit.  The assessment over parts of chapters 14 and 15 is Wednesday.  The prompt for that assessment is published at the end of this Note.


In addition, excellent review videos have been in Google Classroom since last Thursday.  Wise students would spend 10 minutes or so to review the two videos there. 


Wednesday's assessment is an in class writing assignment based on our study of Islam's influence on West Africa and ways in which West Africans held on to some of their cherished traditions and practices.  The chart we've worked on in class is the best tool for organizing any practice writing.  Wise students WILL practice writing to the prompt in advance. 


In the textbook these are the pages we covered when gathering information for the chart:

      Chapter 14--pages 158, 160-162

      Chapter 15--pages 165-167



In a well-written paragraph, discuss how the West African kingdom of Mali blended Islamic influences with traditional beliefs.  Write about three of these four categories: religion, language, education, and architecture. Provide sufficient evidence to support your topic sentence .  (10 points)




We are wrapping up our exploration of gold and salt trade in Ghana.  As usual we have relied on our textbook to introduce the subject.  Wise students have read Chapters 12-13 and completed the study guide.  In addition, we spent two days last week on Chromebook exploring a Multimedia Task Set through Google Classroom.  This lesson allowed students to view videos, listen to audio, and read other resources about this period of history.  The MMTS is still available for students preparing for this week's assessment.  


Wednesday--Multiple choice assessment

Thursday--Written response portion of test.  Students will demonstrate in writing what they have learned about the three main participants in the gold and salt trade with the Kingdom of Ghana. 


Students will turn the packet in on Thursday.


Happy New Year!


1.  We have completed the unit on the Arabian Peninsula and the founding of Islam.  Midterm grades were up to date this week for students who took that assessment before the holiday break. Students would be wise to check their grades and see me with questions.


2.  We've opened the year with a move to the continent of Africa.  Our focus is on the western section where three great kingdoms thrived in the Middle Ages.  


3.  To build a foundation for this study, we spent four days this week learning about the geography and trade of this region.  Students would be wise to review pages 134-135 that set the scene.  In class we completed most of the Geography Challenge that goes with this section.  Those who need more time can ask for a CUB pass. 


4.  We have also read chapter 12 on the growth of early societies in West Africa.  We will finish checking the ISN sections early next week as we  zoom in on the importance of trade in the Kingdom of Ghana.


5.  As a study tool, I've attached the PowerPoint we've been using in class to review this section.  


6.  Our next assessment will be over chapters 12-13 once we complete Chapter 13.  Specific dates will be published later. 


December 15, 2016


This week we are wrapping up our four chapter study of the Arabian Peninsula and introduction to Islam.  


Friday students will take the assessment for Chapters 9-10 and turn in their packets.  We will also see a slideshow of the Masterpieces from the Illuminated Manuscripts students completed at the end of first trimester.  That’s a great way to finish off the week before winter break.


A huge thank you to students and families for the thoughtful holiday gifts and treats.  Best of the season to all of you!  See you next year!  2017







Friday, December 2, 2016
Update for All Classes--Arabia and the Introduction of Islam


  1. As of today we have completed Chapters 7-8.  We have also gone over the study guide for Chapter 7.

  2. Due Monday--Chapter 8 study guide.  Student had 10-15 minutes to work o in class Friday.  They have had this study guide since Wednesday.

  3. Due Tuesday--Chapter 7-8 assessment.  This portion of the test is multiple choice.  Students have already completed the written part that covered the Arabian Peninsula.  Both sections will be combined into one final score.

  4. In Google Classroom, there are links to two QUIZLETS that will help students review key terms in Chapters 7-8.

  5. Friday we stapled the Packet for this unit.  Here are the contents:

  • Study guide 7-8

  • Graphic organizer on geographic zones in Arabian Peninsula

  • ISN pages 50-53.  Have a summary for sections 8.3-8.6.

6.  Next week we will continue the unit on Arabia and Islam with Chapter 9.


November 7, 2016


This week we will be wrapping up the Byzantine Empire.  The Byzantine Assessment is Thursday.  Students will write one-two paragraphs that answer the BIG QUESTION we've been focusing on.


For two weeks we have studied the eastern portion of the Roman Empire that survived the 476 C.E. event that historians call "The Fall of Rome."  From the very start of the unit the students have known that their evaluation boils down to answering this BIG QUESTION:




Just as there are many roads that lead to Rome, there are several valid approaches to this question.  Diligent students have been gathering evidence from the textbook, DBQ packet, video clips in class and in Google Classroom, and the Engineering an Empire DVD we've viewed in class. The GRAPES notes are a key tool students can use to draft their response.


In addition, students have access to a Byzantine Slide show in Google Classroom.  Wise students will spend time viewing this slide show and deciding which slides will support their topic for Thursday's assessment. 


In class this week, students will have some time to draft practice responses.  We will also review the use of sources and how to cite them.  


It is important that students make key decisions BEFORE the assessment:


1.  Choose the topic and focus for response (Example:  the Byzantine Empires amazing defenses)

2.  Uncovering and learning details and evidence that strongly supports this choice.


Wise students will PRACTICE PRACTICE drafting this response to ensure success on Thursday's assessment. 


We are wrapping our our study of the Middle Ages.  All classes have completed Chapter 4 on the growth of medieval towns.  Now in Chapter 5 we are turning our attention to the decline of feudalism.  We have discussed the Black Death's impact on feudal society.  King John and the Magna Carta is another topic we will continue to discuss.  We will also learn about other political, economic and social factors that contribute to the decline of the feudal system.   


The Chapter 4-5 Assessment is Thursday.  Various other deadlines are listed in the assignment section of this page.   The study guide is attached in several locations also.


Many more study aids, including a Quizlet and several videos are available in Google Classroom.  Today I sent three separate messages with links to various study aids. 


A culminating activity for the unit will be the creation of an Illuminated Manuscript.  Students will write an original acrostic poem based on a medieval job/role.  Next Friday will be a workday for that project and students will complete it at home. 



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