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Summer, 2004

 

Dear Eighth Grade Student,

 

As seventh grade recedes into the corner of your mind, you may have forgotten all the idiosyncrasies of Mr. Johnson.  Well, wait until you get a load of the bald guy who will be teaching you eighth grade world studies!   In addition to talking with his hands, this nut encourages students to scream and has a truly bizarre laugh.

 

        As exciting or scary as this all sounds, it is still summer vacation.  Even crazy bald teachers enjoy this time to sleep beyond the crack of dawn, spend time with family and relax.  I hope you have been having fun swimming, traveling, hanging out with friends and reading.

 

        To truly enjoy your reading, I suggest that you curl up with Jack Finney's Time and Again.  If you have not started this novel because it is "school work," please consider that this engaging story will be a chore only if you wait until the last minute.  Moreover, this novel will whet your appetite for the ultimate learning experience - our trip to New York!

 

        Starting with New York, world studies will bridge the past to the present by exploring how America has changed.  How have immigrants shaped the land?  How did slaveholding colonies transform into a free, united country? How is our so seemingly different society rooted in the past?  Most importantly, will the questions ever end?  Do not count on it.  As we search for answers, even more mysteries will arise.  However, our questioning will sharpen the focus as we study how the United States started & grew, tore itself apart via Civil War & tried to put itself back together again.

 

        Cool stuff to ponder, but there is a little catch called homework.  Doh!  Furthermore, you have to complete your first assignment before school starts.  Doh!  As a silver lining, this will be fun because you get to choose the questions.  Here are your instructions:

 

As you read Time and Again, a piece of historical fiction, consider how much you are learning about history.  While in 1882, Si experiences many things that are different than today.   Some of these are historical events; others are just the way people lived then.  How accurate are these experiences or, rather, which are accurate and which are fictitious?  You will complete three pieces of this puzzle for the second day of school. (Do not try doing all this the night before because I will not accept sloppy work or sleeping in class.):

 

1.  Pick four 19th Century events or ways of life described in Time and Again; however, you may not choose any that are revealed on the footnote page.  Write the excerpt from the book down and cite the page and paragraph.

 

2.Research whether each of these events did occur or if that was a way of life at the time.  Explain your research in one paragraph under each excerpt.  Cite your sources!  You do not need a formal IDRIP style works cited. Simply provide enough information for me to find the sources if I need to check on their reliability.  Subsequently, I will hold you accountable for utilizing reputable sources.  For instance, if some random person created a website with rumors or opinions about New York City, it is not reliable. (I recommend an encyclopedia, especially one that focuses upon New York, and governmental or educational internet sites related to the city of New York.)

 

3.Write a concluding paragraph about how reliable Time and Again is as an historical source about late 19th Century New York.

 

This assignment will be worth 30 points.

 

        If you have any questions, concerns or cute jokes, feel free to contact me via e-mail: Brad_Goldberg@fc.mcps.k12.md.us. Otherwise, I look forward to meeting you at the end of August.

 

                                                                                             Sincerely,

                                                                                             Brad Goldberg

                                                                                 Bald eighth grade world studies teacher