• Course Syllabus

    Van Wyck Junior High School 

    Social Studies

    Social Studies 8 Regulars/Honors

    Fall of 2021- 2022


    Instructor Information

    Instructor: Joseph Testa

    Room Location: 205

    E-mail: joseph.testa@wcsdny.org 

    Extra Help Time: By request. 

    Course Identification

    Course Number: D267

    Course Name: Grade 8 United States and New York State History  (+ Honors) 

    Course Location: 205

    Prerequisites: Prerequisite: 1. Completion of Grade 7 Honors Social Studies with a final average of at least 85%, and the recommendation of the Grade 7 teachers. A student who was not in Grade 7 Honors may apply for Grade 8 Honors. Criteria include a grade 7 average of at least 90% in both Social Studies and ELA. Students are evaluated by their grade 7 teachers in areas such as attendance, attitude, participation, reading, writing, ability to analyze and solve problems, etc. 

    Note: Honors classes generally incorporate more reading, writing and discussion and at a higher level; use more challenging instructional materials; and take more challenging tests throughout the year and a different final exam. 


    Course Description/Overview

    Areas of Study Include: 

    • Reunion and Reconstruction after the Civil War 
    • The U.S. becomes an Industrial Society 
    • The expansion of the U.S. as an Independent Nation in an Increasingly Interdependent World; World War I 
    • The U.S. Between the Wars 
    • The U.S. Assumes Worldwide Responsibilities; World War II 
    • The Changing Nature of the American People from World War II to the Present; Prosperity, Optimism, the Cold War 

    Course Website(s)


    Required Course Text

    • Davidson and Stoff, America History of Our Nation Prentice Hall

    Course Fees/Supplies

    • Supplies to be shared with ELA 
    • Loose-leaf binder with loose leaf and five dividers
    • spiral notebook if you prefer
    • Colored pens for annotating, sharpened pencils
    • Post-its (flags, 2 inch and 3x3)
    • Marble composition book
    • Highlighters
    • Earbuds for use in a Chromebook
    • 2 boxes of tissues

    Course Learning Objectives

    In Grades 7 and 8, students will examine the United States and New York State through a historical lens. The two-year sequence is arranged chronologically, beginning with the settlement of North America by Native Americans∗ and ending with an examination of the United States in the 21st century. Although the courses emphasize the skill of chronological reasoning and causation, the courses also integrate the skills and content from geography, politics, economy, and culture into the study of history.


    As outlined by the New York State Social Studies Framework, Grade 8 Social Studies is arranged chronologically, beginning with Reconstruction and ending at the present, and incorporates geography as well as economic, social and political trends. The course content is divided into nine Key Ideas; the first seven trace the human experience in the United States from Reconstruction to the end of World War II.  The last three Key Ideas examine different themes in United States and New York State history from the post-War period up to the present day, which provides the opportunity to explore contemporary issues.

    Grade 8: Social Studies Practices 

    1. Gathering, Interpreting and Using Evidence 
    2. Chronological Reasoning 
    3. Comparison and Contextualization 
    4. Geographic Reasoning 
    5. Economic and Economic Systems 
    6. Civic Participation 


    Student outcomes for the social studies curriculum can be found at: 


    Grading Policy

    Grades will be based on the following: 

    1. All tests, essays, projects = 40%
    2. Homework = 10%
    3. Quizzes, Class work = 50%


    The following is a list of possible videos which may be shown during the year. Your signature is granting permission for viewing, thank you.

    1. Various collections of History Channel and A&E documentaries
    2. The Century, America’s Time (ABC NEWS)
    3. Newsies
    4. All Quiet on the Western Front 
    5. The Lost Battalion
    6. Cinderella Man
    7. Swing Kids
    8. Hidden in Silence
    9. Escape from Sobibor
    10. Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
    11. Forrest Gump
    12. America, Story of Us
    13. The President’s Collection - History Channel

    Course Policies:

    Classroom Rules:   

        1.  Show respect for yourself, for others, and for the facilities and equipment.
        2.  Act in a responsible manner in everything you do.
        3.  Practice safety in regards to yourself and towards others.

    Students are expected to:

        1.  be a positive influence on others.
        2.  follow classroom rules.
        3.  come prepared to class daily.
        4.  complete assignments by their due dates.
        5.  work to the best of your ability.
        6.  actively participate in cooperative groups and classroom discussions.

    Wappingers Central School District is committed to advancing the mental health and well-being of its students.  If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and/or in need of support, services are available.  For help or to find additional resources, contact the School Counseling Office at (845) 227-1700 or visit the School Counseling website.

    Academic Integrity Rules

    As outline in the Wappinger Central School District Code of Conduct:




    A healthy learning environment can exist only if a commitment is made by all to live in the most ethical way possible. Those who refuse to make this commitment hurt not only themselves but also those in the entire school community. 


    • Cheating


     The District recognizes all policies and procedures required by NYSED for instances of cheating on all New York State Assessments. For class assigned work or local assessments a grade of zero may be given to any student who gives or receives information, including electronically, on any form of a test, quiz, homework, assignment or lab. Any person falsifying a grade or a test or related material, with the goal of increasing that grade shall take the penalty of cheating. A student may appeal the grade to the Principal and/or Building Administrator. In addition to the range of possible disciplines listed in the Disciplinary Measures table of this code of conduct, penalties for cheating will be at the discretion of the Building Administrator and the Classroom Teacher. 


    • Plagiarism 


    Plagiarism is defined as the act of stealing and passing off as one’s own the ideas or words of another, or using a created production without giving credit to the source. This includes ideas or words from any printed text and/or the Internet. Students must use proper citations and references when using another’s work or ideas. Any student who plagiarizes may receive a zero on the plagiarized work and may have a conference with the teacher to explain the circumstances. In addition to the range of possible disciplines listed in the Disciplinary Measures table of this code of conduct, penalties for plagiarism will be at the discretion of the Building Administrator and the Classroom Teacher. 


    • Falsification and forgery


    Falsification refers to the act of changing, adding to or deleting information from an absence note, early dismissal note, late arrival note, hall pass, parking permit, etc. Falsification also refers to deliberately providing false/inaccurate information. Forgery refers to the act of writing one of the above and passing it off as written by the appropriate adult. In addition to the range of possible disciplines listed in the Disciplinary Measures table of this code of conduct, penalties for falsification and forgery will be at the discretion of the Building Administrator and the Classroom Teacher. 


    • Intentional False Allegations 


    Any intentional false allegation is a serious offense and a breach of the Code of Conduct. In the event that it has been determined by administration that an intentionally false allegation has been made, the matter will be subject to disciplinary action. Disciplinary measures for honor code violations may include contact of parent by administrator, detention, in-house restriction, external suspension, or alternative to suspension


    Student’s Signature: _____________________________________________

    Parent Signature: _______________________________________________

    Date: __________

    Parent Comments: ______________________________________________________