The stakes... are too high for government to be a spectator sport.




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    Syllabus: 7th Grade Civics

    Mrs. Virginia Parra



    Why is Civics important?

    Human beings are meaning makers who constantly search for meaning to make sense our world. Civics provides the tool that enables this amazing nation to face and overcome challenges and obstacles, and to improve the communities in which we live. Civics examines how our government works and how “we the people” work together to improve the lives of all Americans. Our founding fathers designed our government to protect our rights and to provide for our needs. The U.S. Constitution provides the framework for our government in such a way that prevents a tyranny of the minority, as well as a tyranny of the majority. Your job this year is to learn why our government serves as a model for other countries around the world, how our government functions, and the role of an educated citizenry in preserving our proud nation and its system of government It will be my privilege to serve as your guide. Let the adventure begin.


    How to keep up with assignments.

    • The greatest learning tool ever invented is the notebook. When your mind is full and weary, you can always go to your notes in the Civics section of your binder. I expect you to keep the Civics section of your binder organized by date and neat. Your notes will indicate what you are expected to know and master. Review the day’s notes each evening and focus on your notes in preparation for quizzes and tests.
    • Access my website daily through the Osceola website. My website contains tools to help students be successful: essential questions, summaries of daily topics, reading assignments, homework directions and rubrics, study guides, as well as educational links to other websites. Please form the habit of viewing my website on Monday as a heads up on the week’s schedule. If you are absent, this is a great source to keep up with your assignments


    Grading structure:

    • Homework                                                                        10%

    The majority of homework consists of reading the textbook.  Nonfiction reading requires students to think while they read.  Make sure you check your comprehension by asking why an event happened and be sure you can explain causes and effects! The goal is not to read quickly, but to understand and remember what you read.  You will notice a huge emphasis this year on close reading of complex text. The goal is to challenge you to read and reread complex text to promote increased comprehension and deeper analysis of the text. If you don’t remember what you have read, that’s a sign to reread. Persevere! Florida Standards focuses on academic progress and better preparing students for college and career!

    • Class work, Quizzes (review of notes & textbook reading) & DBQs (Document Based Questions) 35%

    Class work reviews important concepts and skills to assist students with organizing concepts so that they better understand how the concepts are related and connected. Use the Essential Questions focus on key concepts and ideas. Keeping good notes is the key to being academically successful. Students are therefore expected to make-up missing notes when absent by asking me or another student so that they can make a copy

    A quiz serves as an opportunity for the student to reinforce concepts and to determine content mastery. If you miss something on a quiz, you need to go back to the textbook or your notes to review the information. Some quizzes will be posted ahead of time but students should expect pop quizzes as well.

    • Tests/Performance Assessments & RWAs (Reading & Writing Assessments)             55%

     Tests and performance assessments are cumulative in nature. The school district requires 3 quarterly assessments in addition to the Civics FSA which represents 30% of the student’s final grade. That means that students will be expected to demonstrate mastery of content by their ability to analyze and synthesize information. In other words students should be able to explain how and why our government has remained flexible enough to meet and overcome new challenges and obstacles. Furthermore, I encourage students to explore how past events continue to impact our lives today. I want students not only to demonstrate mastery of content but to make meaningful sense of Civics and their role in shaping our future Therefore, students will be given an extend period of time, usually including a weekend, in which to investigate, create, and design a “finished” product representing their best effort. Rubrics will be available to guide the students through the process.


    • Civics Internet Resources: There are a variety of websites to help students master Civics. The three most valuable ones include: Escambia County Civics, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, and iCivics.
    • Posted Grades: District required writing assessments such as DBQs and RWAs require time to grade and provide feedback. Please expect two weeks before grades are posted. Otherwise, grades are usually posted within a week. The grade portal is another means for students and parents to monitor mastery of content and progress. It can also serve as a flag for missing work.


    Missing Work Due to AbsencesOsceola allows students 2 days for each absence to make up missed work including missed tests. Missing Tests, Quizzes, Classwork and Homework due to absences will receive a zero grade, until made up, with a footnote of “Missing.”  IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STUDENT to utilize either my website, ask a reliable student, email me to keep up with assignments and make arrangements to take missed tests or quizzes.  Preferable makeup times are after school in order to avoid further out-of-classroom time.  I expect you to take responsibility for your education and to make up all assessments and assignments. A missing assignment is recorded as a 0% grade until made up.


    Osceola takes plagiarism seriously. Plagiarism (i.e. failure to write information or ideas in your own words, copying another student’s work, allowing another student to copy your work, etc.) is cheating and dishonorable. I want to know what you think and how you respond to a question; do not pirate someone else’s words or ideas. The minimum consequences include a discipline referral and an automatic zero grade.


    As a 7th grade student I expect you know the basic rules. I want you to be successful and I expect you to take an active role in this process by taking responsibility for your education. Students are here to learn and that happens in an environment where everyone commits to creating a cooperative, caring classroom. I neither appreciate nor tolerate those who consistently disrupt the educational process and opportunity for others to learn. I don’t expect anyone to be perfect, but I expect you to take responsibility for your choices and actions. I am here to help you be successful and am willing to work with you and provide whatever assistance I can. All I ask is that if you make a mistake, make an honest effort to correct the situation.


    Classroom rules:

    • Be a positive role model (know that you can be successful and can help others be successful)
    • Be responsible (this is your education - make the most of it!)
    • Be respectful (of yourself, to others, and the property of others – no teasing or name calling!)
    • Be prepared (on time, with necessary supplies, and ready to learn)


    Note to Parents:

                I look forward to working with you and your student to experience an exceptional school year.  Please feel free to contact me with your concerns at any time during my planning period of 2:00 – 3:00 P.M. You may contact me by phone or email. (352-671-7100)

                                                                Yours truly,

                                                                Virginia Parra