Course Syllabus

Veterans Memorial Middle School

2017-2018 School Year

8th Grade Georgia Studies Syllabus

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Mrs. Vanessa Ellis

GA Econ Teacher of the Year





School Hours

8:50 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.


2008 Old Guard Road Columbus, Georgia 31909

Planning Period

8:50 – 9:45

(1st Period)

Tutoring Hours

Tuesdays after school until 5:00 p.m.

Social Studies Fair Help Days

Thursdays, after school until 5:00 p.m.


Digital Georgia Studies Textbook:   


**Students will have access to the digital textbook in class when applicable to assignments. The digital textbook can also be accessed from a home computer or by iPad. A class set of hard copy textbooks will also be kept inside of the classroom. If you would like your child to have a textbook at home, please send me a note and he or she will receive one by the week’s end**

Course Description:

In eighth grade, students study Georgia geography, history, government, and economics. While the four strands are interwoven, ample opportunity is also provided for in-depth study of the geography of Georgia and the government of Georgia. U.S. historical events are included, as appropriate, to ensure students understand Georgia’s role in the history of the United States.


  • Understand and use the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) in assignments and daily tasks
  • Connect and relate to the following themes in 8th grade social studies: Beliefs and Ideals • Conflict and Change • Conflict Resolution • Distribution of Power • Individuals, Groups, and Institutions • Location • Movement/Migration • Production, Distribution, Consumption • Rule of Law • Technological Innovation
  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Strengthen reading comprehension and Lexile level
  • Interpret and analyze primary and secondary sources
  • Use of technology inside and outside of the classroom and integration of blended learning
  • Completion of a social studies fair project (more information will be forth coming)
  • Pass the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (GMAS)!
  • Develop an enjoyment of social studies and strive to be a lifelong learner!


  • Materials:
    • Spiral-bound, plastic covered notebook (preferably a Five Star Notebook)
    • Coloring utensils (colored pencils, colored pens), Elmer’s school glue, highlighters
    • Kleenex, hand sanitizer and school supply donations are always greatly appreciated! J



  • Grading Scale

            90-100             A

            80-89               B

            70-79               C

            69-Below        F

Student grades will be calculated in the following categories:

            Learning logs (smart starts and closings)





  • Attendance
    • In order to learn and be successful students must first be present!
    • I understand that absences occur for various reasons, as mentioned above make up work is the responsibility of the student.
    • We will be doing a lot of hands-on activities, group work, and in-class projects that require students to be in class. In some cases, the student may not be able to make up these types of assignments; therefore, written assignments may be assigned in the place of group or hands-on activities.


  • Missed Assignments
    • In the event that a student is absent, it is his/her responsibility to make up missed work. Assignments will be posted on my class website and/or my Canvas page. Each day’s activities will be placed in the make-up work station located inside the classroom. Students will have 3 days to return all make up work. Make up work that is not returned will result in the assignment of academic detention (before school, after school or during Friday increased learning time ILT).
  • Projects
    • Select 8th Grade students are required to complete a Social Studies Fair Project (more information will be handed out and discussed with students at the end of August).
    • Each nine weeks, students will complete a choice board assignment. Students will have up to nine options to choose from that range in local/ state geography, history, governments and/or economics,


  • Home Learning (Homework)
    • Students will be responsible for doing some learning at home. Homework will range from assignments on paper to electronic modules on Canvas.
    • If students do not finish interactive notebook assignments in class, the unfinished work automatically becomes homework or students will need to come after school to complete.


  • Extra Credit
    • Current Events: Students can locate (online or in newspapers) current events articles. Students are to read the article and write a summary. An example of a well done article summary will be provided and discussed with students.
    • Additional extra credit opportunities will be posted as they arise.



Behavior Management:




1.      Be Respectful

2.      Be Responsible

3.      Be Ready to Learn!


*Students are not to be on personal devices without teacher’s permission.


1.      Enter class quietly and begin working on smart start.

2.      Sharpen materials and get any needed supplies BEFORE class begins.

3.      Do not eat, drink or chew anything in class.

4.      Students cannot leave class during the first or last 10 minutes of class.

5.      Be on task and productive during work session.

6.      At the end of class, complete the closing task and put all supplies back in the appropriate places, neatly.





1.      Verbal praise

2.      Positive parent contact

3.      Earn stickers for success card

4.      Incentive passes

5.      Class celebration


1.      Verbal Warning

2.      Pride Point Deduction

3.      Teacher-Student Conference (Behavior Sheet)

4.      “Time-Out” with another teacher

5.      Parent Contact (phone call or email)

6.      Detention (before or after school)

6.      Office Referral


Additional Information:


Helpful links:

            MCSD website:



            Canvas: (also download app)

            Class Website:

            Class Instagram:

            Class Twitter:

            YouTube Channel:  

            Donor’s Choose:

            Remind text messages:

                        2nd period text the message @4g4dek to the number 81010.  

                        3rd period text the message @2ha7gh to the number 81010.

                        4th period text the message @9agg6 to the number 81010.

                        5th period text the message @2feg36 to the number 81010.

                        6th period text the message @43fg3 to the number 81010.


Helpful Hints for Success in 8th Grade:

  • Never Procrastinate!
  • Read and review notes each day (I promise it will stick) J
  • If you have a question, do not be afraid to ask!
  • Keep a POSITIVE attitude!

Course Summary:

Date Details