Archive for the ‘Social Studies’ Category

By Mya Palomino
Cougar News Blog

     Social studies teachers have made a big leap in teaching Cactus Canyon students. Seventh-grade social studies teachers now teach both seventh and eighth grade.
     Due to budget cuts, seventh grade teachers Jason Miller and Lindy Andresen now teach both grades, in one day. Mr. Miller said he enjoys the opportunity to see a more students on a daily basis.
     “Teaching both grades allows me to academically interact with a broader spectrum of the CCJH student community,” said Jason Miller.
     The schedule change for teachers can be a little bit of a struggle sometimes. Some teachers had to give up their prep-hour to teach their classes. More preparation time is also needed in order to have your materials and lesson plans ready.
     “More preparation time is required for multiple grade levels,” said Miller. “It is challenging, but in the best possible way.”
     Although teaching different grades can be hard, it’s beneficial at times. Throughout the day, both Mr. Miller and Mr. Andresen are teaching different class periods, giving them a different learning process.
     “It’s always beneficial to teach and learn about different historical periods,” said Mr. Miller.

By Chris Munro
Cougar News Blog

     Students at CCJH recently received all-new enrichment classes as part of the Study Skills mission. A couple of these classes include Kim Grant’s PE class and Lin Andresen’s current events class.
     The Study Skills hour provides in-school re-teach opportunities for students who need more time to meet objectives. A variety of enrichment classes have been offered to those who don’t need the tutoring, such as Advertising 101, keyboarding, or forensic science. This year, several classes have been added to this roster.
     “I was asked to offer a PE class,” said Coach Grant. “I like that most of the kids want to be there and usually get into the activity.”
     In Coach Grant’s class, the kids play a variety of sports, as well as have friendly tournaments without needing to dress out. In Mr. Andresen’s class, the kids learn geography and current events as well as have discussions and conversations.
     “I have learned the different kinds of culture there is around the world and how many other countries are different and similar to ours,” said Daniel Garibay Zuniga.
     Mr. Andresen also added that, while technology is an often-used medium to teach children, books and physical text are also good ways to educate children as well.
     “Technology is a very important tool, but reading is still very important and fun,” said Mr. Andresen.

By Natalie D.
Cougar News Blog

     Eighth graders at Cactus Canyon have been flying into history in a new way this semester in John Leal’s new study skills class.
     Leal’s new comic book class is a popular one with 36 students and the class is learning about the history of comic books and how they have been influenced by or influenced historical events. They are also learning about the first comic books, how comics are made, and, of course, the superheroes.
     “I expect my students to take away all the components of a comic book and be able to explain how they may influence comics,” said Mr.Leal.
     Students will continue this class until the end of the quarter with their new knowledge of comic books and favorite things from the class to share.
     “My favorite part of the class was learning about the superheroes,” said Aysaiah Aguilera.
     The students are learning about topics such as the first woman and first African-American portrayed in a comic book during times when women and African-Americans were not treated as equals to white men.
     For example, Wonder Woman was the first woman DC Comics published in 1941 when women were expected to work mostly in their homes. Marvel also featured African-American superheroes in the 1950s when Blacks were still experiencing segregation and racial injustices in the United States.
     “My favorite thing to teach has been the history of comics and how they have influenced historical events,” said Leal.
     Even though this class is only continuing till March, students say they would take this class again to learn more and bring friends along.
     “I would take this class again because I like learning about superheroes and recommend this class to a friend,” said Aguilera.

Students prepare items for shipping after selling them on eBay as part of Mrs. Anderson's project.

Students prepare items for shipping after selling them on eBay as part of Mrs. Anderson’s project.

By Haley M.
Cougar News Blog

     Seventh- and eighth-grade social studies teacher, Sheryl Anderson is back at it again with her signature eBay project.
     The eBay project is a yearlong activity that teaches students, measurement, customer service, profit and loss, and also supply and demand.
     “One day I found a beautiful globe for $15. When we looked it up on the Internet, it cost $1,000 brand new,” says Anderson. “Later, I thought this would be a good way for students to earn money for something fun.”
     Students and Anderson go to Goodwill, a store where shoppers can find used things for half of the normal price, they then buy interesting objects, bring them back to the class and they sell them online for more than what they bought it for at Goodwill.
     “They can bring stuff from their own shopping experiences, they research identical items that have sold, they weigh and measure the item for shipping,” says Anderson. “(They) keep track of profits and costs on a spreadsheet, photograph items for the listing.”
     “What I have taken out of this project so far is how to put stuff onto eBay and checking if the objects are well enough to sell on eBay,” says eighth grade student Corie Haro. “I like to work with people on this project and using the computer to put stuff up and I also like getting things accomplished”
     In addition to academic learning, the eBay project also makes students aware of real-life opportunities they may come across.
     “I want them to be aware of opportunities that may present themselves in places that they don’t expect,” says Anderson. “Also, they could have really cool stuff for a lot less money if they are ready to go on a “hunt.”
     This is not the first year Ms. Anderson has done this project. This time she has improved her skills for selling and technique since last year.
     “We started earlier in the year,” says Anderson “I brought in some stuff for the kids to use as listings right away.”

By Zoey Lopez
Cougar News Blog

     Mrs. Anderson, a Cactus Canyon Junior High social studies teacher, wanted to try something different and unordinary with all of her eighth grade classes. She decided to put her students into groups and have them make textbooks. The textbooks must be about World War II.
     There is going to be 35 important objectives based on their curriculum. Each group is able to organize the book as they want. All textbooks must have a table of contents, index, and a cover page. The goal is to make the textbook as accurate possible.
     “I hope students will be able to learn about the important events and people of WWII,” said social studies teacher Sheryl Anderson.
     The activity is going to teach students how destructive the war was, and how Americans in particular worked together in the military and on the home front.
“WWII was a turning point in the social structure of the U.S. and international boundaries,” says Anderson, “It is a fascinating time to look back on and see how it changed the world.”
     Mrs. Anderson was able to research all of the Arizona State Standards for WWII and made the standards required topics in the textbooks. She then asked her classes to decide what a good text book would have in it. Her class told her pictures with captions, questions, fun facts, glossary, index, page numbers, color, table of contents, chapters, and a cover page. Anderson says her classes have been working extra hard just to get these little things done on time.
     “At CCJH we use a lot of new technology and new methods, but I am not always sure of what students know to be the best method for them,” said Sheryl Anderson
     After the students are done with the textbooks Mrs. Anderson will make a copy for each person in the group. Students will be able to use their textbooks to study for the test.
     All books will be judged by a team of administrators. The best book from each class will get cinnamon rolls.
     “Students have been working non-stop to earn the cinnamon rolls,” said Anderson.
The judges are going to vote for the best book out of Mrs. Anderson’s eighth-grade classes. The group with the most votes will win something bigger than cinnamon rolls.

By Logan Duncan
Cougar News Blog

Sheryl Anderson’s seventh and eighth grade social studies is doing an eBay project in hopes of teaching eighth graders about economics.
Mrs. Anderson hopes that her students will learn about profit and loss plus how sometimes the scarcity of items can affect the price. Some groups will be more competitive than others in trying to bring in more money than others so they are also learning about competitiveness in the business world.
“I will learn about stocks and selling items and how rarity will affect the price and how to advertise,” said eighth grader Emily Bliss. “All of the eighth graders will be involved in the project so they can have these skills and perfect them in high school.”
They will also learn economics and their final decision making skills. This will give them knowledge on whether decisions will be good or bad choices. Students will also be learning about stocks and how to set up good advertising campaign for selling items so that a customer will want to purchase whatever that is being sold. By learning economics they will get a clear understanding of how buying and selling things affects the economy.
“I hope they will get a clear understanding of profit and loss,” said Mrs. Anderson.
They will be selling items that they get from places like Goodwill and garage sales and then put them on eBay. That will be the job for the students so they do a lot of the work instead of the teachers. Once they sell their items they will get their money back and it will go into the group account. At the end of the semester they will all vote on how to use the money.
They also have to research how the item will be worth. Plus they will need to know how much it will cost to ship it and the weight and requirements for the package.
“This will affect the school because the students are doing the work instead of the teachers so they will get a good work ethic,” said Bliss.
Students will continue to buy and sell items until the end of the semester. Mrs. Anderson hopes it will affect her classes in a positive way.
“I know some people who are doing this as a hobby and they are making some pretty nice coin, so I thought I could make a learning experience out of it,” said Anderson.

By Nicholas Kelley
Cougar News Blog

While most students are just learning about history from books, Cambria Coughlin brought in a World War II German banner and other relics to show to her class for social studies.
The banner is a bright red and the ends have swastikas like most Nazi banners.
“It’s kind of cool, because we are learning about World War II things in class,” Coughlin said. “It’s learning about history in real life, and the cool thing is about the banner is I get to (learn) about my grandfather’s past, too, with World War II,” said Coughlin.
Social Studies teacher Sheryl Anderson was also excited about seeing the relics be brought in by Coughlin. Anderson thought it was quite interesting and beneficial to the students.
“I think that seeing primary source information makes history more real for kids; actually for everyone,” said Anderson. “These particular artifacts belonged to a student’s family, so that makes it even more personal.”
Many students inside Coughlin’s class were also pretty excited upon seeing the banner and other relics.
“It was pretty dang cool to actually see some of the things she bought,” said eighth grader Peni Latuselu.
Coughlin’s grandfather, John Daniel Coughlin was a engineer gunner for the United States Army Air Force during World War II.
“He helped bomb Germany, Italy, and other Axis targets,” said Cambria. “He was originally assigned 50 missions but was shot down on his 24th.”
After being shot down on his 24th mission, John was then captured by German and Hungarian troops with the rest of his bomber crew. He was put into the Stalas Luft IV Prisoner of War camp.
John was later liberated by allied troops towards the end of the war. While leaving Germany, he picked up a lot of WWII relics and brought it home with him including the banner.
“It’s amazing, I love learning about history and knowing that somebody in my family was part of it,” Cambria said.

By Colin Penge
Cougar News Blog

Students in eighth-grade social studies were assigned to a project about the battles in Europe and the Pacific during February, so they could learn about the important events of World War II.
Children in Mrs. Cave’s eighth-grade social studies class got to create a project with facts about the European and Pacific theaters, including the Battle of Britain and the Invasion of Peleliu. The students need to learn about World War II because of how much it changed the course of history.
Mrs. Cave said, “The goal of the project was to familiarize students with major battles and invasions from World War II.”
The students did lessons during class that helped them learn about all the major and small skirmishes that went on during World War II. Students also worked on projects and assignments about some of the most famous engagements.
“I enjoyed myself,” said Nick Mason. “I got to learn about some pretty interesting stuff like Pearl Harbor and the bomb that dropped on Hiroshima.”
The team of social studies teachers worked together to create a project that all three of their classes could use and work on. They broke down the conflicts and took out the important battles, such as the Battle of the Bulge.
“The social team created the project from using an outline of the European and Pacific theater then broke it down into specific battles for each student to research,” said Mrs. Cave.
The social studies team plans to have more projects that fit this style of assignment, and World War II will continue to be one of their main topics. They said they also plan to start doing this layout more with future eighth-grade students.
“I think it would be pretty cool to learn some more history about World War II,” Noah Cabral.

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By Megan Lay
Cougar News Blog

Some Cactus Canyon language arts and social studies teachers helped each other out during the second quarter by incorporating each other’s standards into lessons.
Rhonda Story, Team Cougar’s language arts teacher had her students use English concepts on social studies text on subject like the Civil War and King George.
This new way of learning is a result of Common Core standards, which advanced and require more descriptive answers from students.
“We try to challenge students to back up their answers with evidence from something they read. The Lizzie Borden story is a good example,” said Sheryl Anderson, Team Cougar’s social studies teacher.
“A lot of Common Core is pushing students to think more outside the typical box, making them stretch and think of or come up with the ‘why,’” said Story.
Many students think this is a hard way of learning, but teachers and students have already seen positive results.
“This has improved my grades a little bit,” said eighth grader Ashley Alamos.
“Kids think that it is harder, but it is really just a different way of answering questions,” Anderson said. “Once everyone ‘gets it’ I think we will see a big jump in test scores.”

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By Thayne Jackson
Staff writer

On Thursday, March 22, students at Cactus Canyon Junior High got the rare privilege of meeting with a Holocaust survivor. Fountain Hills resident Magda Herzberger, who survived three German death camps, including Auschwitz, spoke to students for about an hour about her experience.
This meeting was put together by seventh- and eighth-grade social studies teacher, Sheryl Anderson. For the past few weeks, eighth-grade students have been studying the events of World War II. The tragedies of the Holocaust were a major focus of the unit.
“When I was 18 years old, not much older than you, I was thrown into an environment where love and care was dead and hatred ruled,” said Mrs. Herzberger. “In the three death camps I was at, I was threatened with death on a daily basis. What kept me going was love in my lord and not letting hatred ever enter my heart.”
While in the camps, Herzberger witnessed unspeakable horrors. For example, she was forced to work until she collapsed and was on the verge of giving up life.
“While in the camps I thought optimistically. I kept thinking to myself ‘Ok, maybe tomorrow I will be free’ I wasn’t. ‘Maybe next week.’ I wasn’t. ‘Maybe in a few months.’ I still wasn’t. For a year and a half I had to tolerate constant torture and the deaths of loved ones,” said Herzberger. “I want to tell students, do not give up on dreams that seem impossible. Do not be afraid to reach for the stars and think the most positive thoughts that you can.”
After being liberated from the German death camps, Herzberger vowed to keep alive the memories of the nearly 6 million Jewish people that died during the Holocaust. This is why she started writing and public speaking.
“When I was young, my uncle would always tell me that if I want to succeed, I have to endure the pain and trials that come with (being successful),” she said.
While listening to Mrs. Herzberger talk, students were mesmerized by the stories being told. Numerous experiences were shared with the students, making them an “eye witness” of these accounts.
“It was an amazing experience,” said eighth grader Taylor Simmons. “I really enjoyed my time listening to Magda talk. I never thought that anything as horrible as the Holocaust could happen, or let alone that anyone could survive it. I am really appreciative that my school was able to do this for us students.”
Herzberger said she wanted students to understand the horrors of the Holocaust, but still leave having had a positive experience.
“I want students to take away from this, not a tear, but a smile,” she said. “A smile because of the knowledge they have gained and the moment that they have just experienced.”