Welcome to 6th grade social studies. This year we will be pursuing two different yet closely related pathways of study that will take us around the world both culturally and geographically. One element of this course is the map of the world and requires students to learn all of the countries and several cities, bodies of water and mountain ranges. We will approach each continent individually focusing on both the geography and culture of these given areas. The other aspect of the course, and by far the most important, is our pursuit of understanding regarding culture itself. I have broken the term “culture” into ten attributes or elements and as we explore each new continent, we will explore the impact and existence of one of the attributes of culture on that continent. To learn more about this, I highly recommend that you visit the Geo Website which is linked to the Team 6 webpage. Here you will find a website that I designed specifically for this class.
Below you will find the course guidelines and expectations that I shared with the class during the first week of school (I highly suggest that you read the “Struggles” part at the end):
This is going to be a fun class and you will soon learn that I’m a pretty funny and relaxed guy; however, I still have high expectations regarding your behavior in my class. Jokes are fun and keep class light but it is never OK to make them at others’ expense. Throughout the year we will be covering some cultures that will seem really alien to you but that does not mean it is OK to make jokes about them. Just because a group of people are different does not make it OK to make jokes about them or your classmates either.
I also expect you to come to class prepared each day which means that you have a pen or pencil and journal for EVERY CLASS!!! It is never OK to come to class without your journal.
Two to three times each week we will begin class with a journal question. This is often a very difficult question and initially you may struggle to answer it correctly. To be totally honest, I don’t care if you get the answer correct, but I do want to see your ideas and thought process written in your journal. The best journals are those that show effort by including all of your ideas both in class and at home at night. I will be collecting your journals at the conclusion of each unit and they will all be graded so make sure to put significant time into them.
Throughout the year we will be using two books to aid in our studies.
1. Goode’s Atlas: This atlas contains maps of the entire world and will be your best friend when preparing for map tests. The best part about this book is that it is yours to keep! Feel free to jot notes in it and use it even after you finish the 6th grade.
2. World Geography Textbook: You will also have a textbook that will offer you readings and background information about each of the different cultures that we explore. While you won’t be taking this home with you, we will be using it in class.
You can expect to have at least two graded assignments per week. Homework assignments that only require one night of work are generally worth 10 points, while multiple night assignments are worth as many as 50 points. Projects and tests will be worth up to 100 points and your journal is worth 20 points each time I read it. At the end of the term, I will add up all of your points and that will determine your grade for the term. There will be several hundred points in total by the end of the term so don’t worry if you do poorly on a homework assignment or test.
Nightly Homework: 10 pts
Multiple Night HW: 20 pts and up
Quizzes, Tests and Projects: Up to 100 pts
Journals: 20 pts
Lateness: Obviously, you should always try to avoid handing in work late, but if you hand in an assignment late you should expect to lose points. I will let you go if it only happens once in a while, but if it becomes a problem then the points will add up and it will hurt your overall standing in the class. Generally, I will deduct 2 pts for a late homework, ½ grade per day for projects, and when journals are due you must have it ready. I will grade it whether you think it is ready or not.
Areas of Study
Here is a quick snapshot of the units we will be covering throughout the course of this year:
1. Course Introduction: Maps, Latitude and Longitude, Ten Attributes of Culture
2. Geography and cultural history of the North Shore
4. Class and Caste in India
5. Africa, Apartheid, and the clash between indigenous and imperial culture
6. Art and Architecture in South America
7. Government and Law in Europe
8. Foods of the World
Everyone struggles from time to time and I’m willing to bet that each of you has moments this year when this class seems very confusing and difficult. Don’t suffer alone!!! I really like helping students when they struggle, but I can’t always tell who is having a difficult time. Seek me out and ask for help when you are having a difficult time. You would be amazed at how quickly I can resolve your problems. Nothing is worse than suffering alone so please ask for help and never hesitate to ask me questions.