Scott Murtaugh

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Scott Murtaugh

 Scott Murtaugh

8th Grade Social Studies: U.S. History

Syllabus for 8th Grade Social Studies

 U.S. History 2019-2020

 Mr. Murtaugh 


Eighth Grade Social Studies is a one full year course of study that will cover the history of the United States from the earliest colonial period through the early twentieth century. Instruction will align with the Colorado Core Social Studies Standards for eighth grade.

Our 5 Goals:

1. We WILL understand the “story” of the United States so we can recall and re-tell that story.

2. We WILL be more culturally literate and understand pieces of American culture.

3. We WILL be more astute about the “events of the day.”

4. We WILL challenge our thought.

5. We WILL attain a sense of our own “generational identity.” 



Percentage Grades

A+        100 - 97.5%

A          97.4 - 92.5%

A-         92.4 - 89.5%

B+        89.4 - 87.5%

B          87.4 - 82.5%

B-         82.4 - 79.5%

C+        79.4 -77.5%

C          77.4 - 72.5%

C-         72.4 - 69.5%

D+        69.4 - 67.5%

D          67.4 -62.5%

D-        62.4-59.5%

F          59.4% & below

  1. It is the teacher’s discretion to allow corrections and re-dos.
  2. It is the teacher’s discretion to set deadlines for work turned in. (Be it a week after the due date, by the end of the unit, etc.)
  3. A zero will be put in right away if no work is turned in on the due date.
  4. Tests are only taken once.
  5. Homework is at the discretion of Mr. Murtaugh

Work Habits and Citizenship:

Work habits and citizenship grades will be input at least every two weeks so, at a glance, students, parents, and teachers can discern the difference between academic performance, effort, and professionalism.

EXM (exemplary) = 95%

PRO( proficient) = 80%

PP (partially proficient) = 60%

NE (not evident) = 50%

Work Habits: Be prepared, Be productive, Be prompt (this includes on time to class and with assignments)

EXM – Always prepared for class, uses class time productively, no late and or missing assignments, on time to class.

PRO – Usually prepared for class, uses class time productively, few late and/or missing assignments, mostly in time to class.

PP - Frequently unprepared, does not use class time productively, significant late and/or missing assignments, frequently late to class.

NE – Unprepared, unproductive, excessive late and /or missing assignments or tardiness to class.


Citizenship: Be positive, Be cooperative, Be respectful

EXM - Outstanding citizenship/leadership, always polite and cooperative

PRO - Good citizenship/some leadership, usually polite and cooperative

PP – Needs improvement on citizenship, leadership, and/or cooperation

NE – Frequently disrupts class, often impolite, or uncooperative


1. Be on time for class, meaning inside the door before the bell rings. As you enter class each day, students must “hit up” the “Buffet” and pick up an atlas as well as a plicker for Daily Geography.

2. Students are expected to come to class prepared with all required supplies to read and write every day of the year. Borrowed supplies will require collateral to guarantee return.

3. Students are expected to keep track of assignments in whatever manner most effectively works for them.

4. Assignments will vary greatly and each will receive direction on how and where it is to be turned in and graded. Work will be returned in a manner timely to the nature of the assignment. Students are solely responsible to find out what they have missed in the event of an excused absence. The “Make Up Buffet” will be stocked with extra copies of assignments/readings for self-advocated makeup work.

5. Students are expected to monitor their own grade progress on PowerSchool.

6. Every effort will be made by the instructor to keep parents informed about their student’s progress. Parents are encouraged to contact Mr. Murtaugh by email at any time for concerns or clarifications.

7. Students will be expected to make sure their space is clean and orderly before they are dismissed from class. The class is dismissed by the instructor, not the bell, if, in the opinion of the instructor, the learning experience requires it.

8. Consequences for violations of classroom expectations will be decided upon by the instructor and classroom social contract that reflect natural consequences for behavior as consistently as possible.

Socratic Seminar Days: 

Occasionally the class will turn into a forum- (a gathering or assembly of people empowered to hear issues, speak ideas, give opinions, share thoughts, ask questions and make decisions on the matters at hand.)  On these days you will be given specific content that requires participation through either discussion or written reflections. Students will take notes on discussions. Finally, you will be asked to write a “reflection,” which would be your thoughts, opinions, reactions, reflections, epiphanies, ideas, and questions.

“History never looks like history when you’re living through it.”

“Life must be lived forward but can only be understood backward.”

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”

“You have got to G.R.I.T. it to get it!”

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