Seventh grade social studies will be fun and exciting. As a member of this class, active participation in the learning process is expected and required. The curriculum encompasses many areas of World History, U.S. History as well as current events. You will find yourself wrestling with topics found in the "real world" and searching for answers to your own questions about the world around you. You will use state-of-the-art technology, discussions, and problem based learning to explore the past. You will also read, read and read. A quote sticks in my mind: "A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations." Richard DeNeut. You will be in control of your success.
I expect and encourage you to speak your mind! Engage in debates, talk about tough issues and THINK. Social Studies is a discussion-driven class. We learn by organizing our thoughts, discussing, collaborating, and drawing conclusions. Social Studies is not black-and-white; there is no single answer to the majority of the ideas we will discuss. Don't be afraid to share what you think or to agree/disagree with your classmates. The best part about having a mind, is being allowed to change it!
Throughout the course of the school year students will have several unique opportunities to engage in what we are learning through technology. We will Skype, use google docs, with students from Dublin (Ohio) Middle School, and possibly other local schools. In fact, with parent permission, you will create a website/blog and have a blog buddy from Dublin who will read your work and provide you with feedback. We will also use a variety of other free technology to making learning interesting and relevant to your (the students') lives.
Mike Pennington, a student teacher from a few years back and personal friend, teaches at Chardon Middle School. You will hear Mr. Pennington's name often and see him almost daily (in some periods, via skype) because the two of us collaborate and reflect about what we do as teachers. We will also be allowing our student to work and learn together. You will notice that we use the same blog on this website. Feel free to read what he has to say. Mike and I have presented at, local, state, national and international educational conferences, talked to major universities concerning technology in education and have hosted several technology workshops for schools in the greater-Cleveland area. We run a website, where we reflect upon how we teach and share tools for classroom use with others around the world.
As a parent, it is important for you to get to know a little bit about me. I have twenty-one years of teaching experience in New York (East Syracuse-Minoa) and Ohio (two in Newark, and the rest in Beachwood). I earned honors degrees from the University of Dayton in political science and secondary education and a Master's from LeMoyne College in Syracuse. I created and implemented an "at risk program" in social studies as well as taught gifted seminar courses. I am a graduate professor at the University of Akron in the school of education. These experiences have helped me create a class that offers choices to meet the learning styles of all students. I focus on skills, not student memory to recall facts. My number one priority as an educator is for students to enjoy learning about history and instilling in them a desire for more knowledge. I want to produce leaders, not blind followers. My hope is that students will leave my class not only able to answer the questions, but also willing to question the answers.
On the home front, I am married to Stephanie, a third grade teacher in the Kent school system. We have three young children: Hanna (14), Zach (12) and Cassidy (9), a cat (smoky) and dog (Woody). We are huge Ohio State fans and love to spend time together. You can see a few photos at our flickr page.
This blog will content large amounts of information for parents (that is why you are getting this letter online--a little parent surfing on the net).
This blog was designed to be used in class as a tool to learn from as well as a resource while at home. Visit it often and keep in touch. Email is a very fast and efficient way to communicate and will make every attempt to get back to you within 24 hours. However, I can always be reached by phone (831-0355 Ext. 246) or meet with you in person anytime. Feel free to come in and sit in on a class, bring in old artifacts, or share your knowledge with us.
If you have any questions, please firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking forward to a great year!
D. Garth Holman