Class Announcements:

We are beginning our Articles to Constitution unit this week which will examine America's First Constitution, The Articles of Confederation and its greatest achievement: the Northwest Ordinance which set up a process for admitting new states and banned slavery north and west of the Ohio River. We'll also re-enact the Constitutional Convention to draft our own constitution- and see how it compares to our current constitution. For this- students will portray actual delegates at the Convention and represent the same competing interests. Practice presenting, debating, and using parliamentary procedure to run meetings is practice for the Mock Congress simulation will will begin at the end of February. We'll then explore the development of America's first political parties during the ratification debates and compare the Bill of Rights- the first 10 Amendments added to the Constitution in 1791 with the grievances listed in the Declaration of Indepednence.
A Big Picture overview of the unit is posted below.

Slavery, Liberty, and War for Independence summatives will be returned once they are graded.

The extra-credit discussion now open is: President Obama's Farewell address that will run through January 19th.

A new extra-credit discussion about President Trump's Inaugural Address will begin this weekend after he takes his oath of office on Friday, January 20th, and becomes America's 45th president.

Articles to Constitution Big Picture-
During the War for Independence, the 13 States wrote and began operating under their own constitutions. To govern the country, the Continental Congress wrote and had ratified the first constitution of the United States know as the Articles of Confederation. This plan for a loose union of Strong States under a Weak National Government enabled us to win the war, but failed us when peace came.

The Articles provided for a one house Legislature with no executive branch to enforce laws or judicial branch to interpret them or mediate disputes among the states. The Congress had no power to tax or regulate trade, and its members were appointed by the State Legislatures and served extremely short 1 year terms. Each state had one vote, 9/13 states were required to approve all laws, and 13/13 states were required to approve any changes to the constitution. Following the war, the States returned to old habits of going their own way in all things, and threats and provocations from Britain, Spain, and Native American tribes on the frontier proved impossible to deal with given the power limiting Articles of Confederation.

The one greatest success of the Articles was in passing the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 which provided for the admission of new states from the West, the survey and sale of western lands, and the governance of the the territory which included a bill of rights and the prohibition of slavery. Aurora, Ohio got its start in the process when it was founded by settlers from Connecticut in 1799.

A convention to revise the Articles was called for Annapolis in 1786 but didn't draw enough representation to do the work. The crisis of Shays Rebellion in Massachusetts in 1787 led to renewed calls for a Constitutional Convention again intended to revise the articles. This 2nd Convention did convene through the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia and, in secret wrote a new Constitution rather than revising the old. Many delegates were the same as who had served in the Continental Congress that wrote the Declaration of Independence or in the Continental Army that combined to lead us to independence. George Washington is elected president of the Convention.

The Convention quickly agreed to set aside the Articles of Confederation and to write a new Constitution from scratch. As this was not their purpose, they agreed to keep their proceedings secret as they worked through the summer on the project. The biggest debates came between delegates from small states and large states- along with northern states and southern states. The Great Compromise solved this issue of representation in the Congress by creating one house with representation based on population and one in which each state had equal representation. The 3/5 Compromise made that ratio the way of calculating the number of slaves to be counted toward a State's population for representation and taxation contributions. The Preamble announced that the Constitution was a social contract deriving its power from "We the People" and specifying 6 purposes for government. 3 branches were established: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial that were balanced out with different checks upon each other to prevent the government from becoming overpowering. Likewise- as a Federation, state governments retained numerous powers along with the means of influencing the national government.

Initially a Bill of Rights was not included because most states already had their own- but this was the main cause of opposition to the Constitution during the ratification process that followed. Because the Constitution provided for a way to amend (change or add) to itself through the combined action of Congress and the States, those in support of it. the Federalists, were able to promise the addition of a Bill of Rights to secure its ratification. Still, differing opinions about the Constitution led to the formation of America's first political parties, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

Immediately following Ratification in 1788, elections were held to create the new government. Washington was unanimously elected President, and the Congress passed 10 amendments - known as the Bill of Rights, that were approved by the states in 1791. The first 10 Amendments specifically protect individual rights and establish due process rights for anyone accused of a crime. These can be directly matched up with the grievances that were listed against England in the Declaration of Independence so that they might never again happen to the American people under an American government. The Bill of Rights also acknowledge that any powers not specifically given to the national government by the Constitution are reserved by the states- and/ or the people.

Congratulations to the Top 8th Grade Geo Bee Finishers!

1. Daniel Hirsch- 25 points
2. Cameron Mullin- 21 points
3. Catherine John- 20 points
4. Katie Rosengarten- 18 points
5. Michael Stoycos- 17 points
6. Ian Payne- 17 points
7. Emma Krondorfer- 16 points
8. Lukas Evans- 16 points
9. Joseph Liang- 15 points

Top 10 finishers in the school in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade will participate in the school championship after Winter Break.

Welcome to 8th Grade Social Studies!

This course wiki-space has been built to be your gateway to all things Social Studies in support of what we do in class and beyond. During our opening unit you'll join the site and be given a guided tour before being sent off on your own explorations. You should visit this site regularly as part of your academic routine and we hope you will help us build this site further through your participation in discussions and by suggesting websites, videos, documents and more to add to our collection of online resources. This site will also be connected to your Google Classroom for Social Studies

Students will be assigned articles to read and videos to view in their online textbook: the ABC-CLIO online American History encyclopedia that is linked to the Menu. These resources offer outlines of key ideas, and all of the articles may be read to the students by clicking on the audio button. Our resources link also connects to pages packed with online resources to enrich and expand all of our units of study. To review- the American Nation text site provides practice chapter tests, and the Class Zone Activities site provides many interactive review activities. Both of these will be again demonstrated to students in class.

We hope to again have access to the online version of the Plain Dealer. Students will be provided log in user names and passwords in class. We hope this will help students keep up with the news and better contribute to the extra credit wiki-discussions.

Every link in the menu leads to amazing Social Studies resources that will be worked with in this course.


Junior Scholastic

Check out the Junior Scholastic link in the menu to the right. This links to the online version of the student newsmagazine. Harmon has a subscription and the log in is provided on the page for students. This will be a great resource for Mock Congress as back issues are all searchable for issues... and current issues will be regularly featured in our extra credit discussions that will run both through this wikispace and through Google Classroom.

Online Plain Dealer

The iPD link to the right gives access to an online version of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. When it is reactivated with our new subscription, we will provide log in information to students. This resource will be used to bring current events into our classrooms. Meanwhile, students are invited to use the every day access- including Sundays to read the news about other topics... Sports, Entertainment, Travel, Autos, etc... Enjoy this gift from the Plain Dealer Newspapers in Education program.


Check Assignments in the menu to get to day by day HW assignments and class activity plans. This Wiki will always have more detailed information than the HW Hotline

More information about using this wiki follows below...

Getting Started
  • Check the Navigation Menu to the Right to access the different features of our Course Site
  • Once you have created a Wikispaces account, or sign in to wikispaces through this site you must request to join this site.
  • Once your request to join this site is approved, you will be able to participate in discussions... and eventually interact with your teachers and peers through a number of activities and projects that will be run through or linked to this site.
  • As a member of this site you will be able to edit any page. But please, edit and add only to those pages that are created for you or that you are given permission to create. This site is meant to be a great, friendly place for all 270 Harmon 8th graders to interact with their teachers and their peers. All changes are recorded and identified by author. Please help us keep this site friendly and working by reporting any postings that you find objectionable or any links or features that appear broken.

We're looking forward to a great year! Mr. Paul Frankmann and Mrs. Nancy Tyrrell

Need Help?

  • Click on the help link above in the top right hand corner to learn more about how to use this wiki.