Welcome to Mrs. Zisk's 6th & 7th grade Social Studies Classes!
"I do not see the world as it is, I see it as I am." ~Anaïs Nin
Meet the Teacher!
Mrs. Cathy Zisk
- 14th year at OTS
- Rutgers Graduate
- Outdoor Enthusiast
- Track and XC Coach
- Interests: photography, WWII history, cooking, traveling
- Favorites: pizza, tacos, skiing, running, Harry Potter
This year, many assignments will be done completely digitally. RealTime Parent Portal will have all grades and assignments posted with due dates. This is the easiest way to check your student’s progress in class.
We will be using Google Classroom and PearDeck for most of the students’ assignment completion and feedback. Google Classroom allows parent emails to be added- this way, you can receive updates and summaries about assignments. Be on the lookout for an email from Google Classroom (sometimes it ends up in the spam folder). Please email me if you are not receiving updates and I can manually add you on the roster.
For questions, concerns, or other information, the best method of communication for both parents and students is through email.
- Understanding historical and current events from multiple perspectives
- Collaborating with classmates to accomplish a common goal and problem-solve
- Using creativity to explore and communicate ideas in different ways
- Locate, verify, and evaluate reliable sources of information (context, perspective)
- Drawing conclusions from primary and secondary sources
- Utilizing all of the above in order to develop critical thinking skills and habit
1-2 per marking period
Projects will be larger, longer-term assignments that are more heavily weighted. Projects may be done individually or with a group and will focus on significant historical themes, questions, or topics. Projects may include research papers, critical response papers, group presentations, etc. Rubrics will be given for each project.
2-4 per week
Each week, students will work within Google Classroom and other applications to complete learning objectives centered around a specific topic and/or skill. The point values for these assignments will be smaller and based on the following rubric.
Quality of Work
Response/output is well thought out, answers question or prompt thoroughly; follows directions
Response/output answers question or prompt in a general way; includes some detail; somewhat follows directions
Response/output does not answer the question or prompt; or lacks clear explanation or details; missing items from directions
Demonstrates minimal effort or not completed on time; does not follow directions
1-2 per marking period
Students will write a journal response via Google docs and use it to critically respond to topics, questions, and global events today that connect to our studies. Journals provide students with a space for reflection about their learning and connection to the content. Journals will be graded on the following rubric.
What “big ideas” are you writing about?
You are showing that you are thinking deep about big ideas! Example: “We usually think of fancy dinners, togas, and impressive buildings when we hear ‘Ancient Rome,’ but everyday Romans experienced the empire in a very different way.”
You are getting there! Try to take your thinking deeper- compare, contrast, or debate in your writing what you think about a topic.
You are doing more repeating information than thinking. Try to investigate or take apart the information we have learned. Make sure to address the question or topic asked.
What connections or examples are you including?
You are using at least two or more relevant examples or connections from history, class discussions, modern-day, or your life. Great job!
Example: “Geography and climate affect my life a lot. For example, because we have four seasons in NJ, I can ski in the winter and surf in the summer!”
Keep working to try to include two or more specific examples or connections. Think about what we talked about in class, or your life, or something you heard about on the news, etc.
Make sure to include connections and examples from your own life, what we talked about in class, or anywhere else!
Is your response understandable and organized?
Your response is well organized! You have a main topic sentence, clear supporting sentences, and well-constructed thoughts!
Your response needs a little work organizing. Make sure to read your writing our loud and start with your main topic sentence and then get into your supporting details.
Let’s go back to the organizer and use this to help your writing! Your response needs work being clear and organized.
Did you check your spelling and grammar?
I can tell you read your writing out loud and used spell check to review your writing! (3 pts)
Make sure to read your writing out loud and use spell check to review your work!
2-3 times per marking period
As part of a growing global society, students will need to foster creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. Students will routinely work with their peers in discussions, research, projects, presentations, and historical inquiry. Students will reflect on their work ethic and participation using the rubric below, and the teachers will provide feedback.
Actively participates in all individual and group discussions and activities.
Usually participates in individual and group discussions and activities.
Sometimes participates in individual and group discussions and activities.
Rarely participates in individual and group discussions and activities.
Consistently on time to class and present for group work. Completes all assigned tasks and does not depend on others to do the work.
Usually on time for class and present for group work. Completes most tasks and is a productive member of the group.
Sometimes late for class and frequently turns in work late. Does not complete most assigned tasks.
Usually late for class and misses group work. Seldom completes assigned work. Depends on others to do all the work.
Respectfully listens, interacts, and discusses ideas with the entire group. Always shares ideas.
Respectfully listens and contributes to the group/class discussions. Contributes ideas and asks questions.
Has some difficulty listening respectfully. Tends to dominate the discussion or not contribute.
Has great difficulty listening in a group/class setting. Argues with group members and is unwilling to compromise.
Creativity & Critical Thinking
Often asks questions and offers original ideas. Rethinks historical/current issues and offers unique perspectives. “Thinks outside the box.”
Sometimes asks questions and offers original ideas. Sometimes questions history and events.
Often does not provide unique ideas or ask questions. Often takes history “as is.”
Makes little to no effort to create unique products or ideas. Does not ask questions.
*Late work: Generally, late work will be penalized and impact a student’s grade. I will provide reasonable, flexible accommodations on an individual basis.
*Extra credit: None, as all assignments throughout each marking period provide ample opportunity for accumulation of points. “Growth over grades.”
Resources for Students and Parents
Student/Parent Tutorials How to Use: Google Suite and other applications
If your child is experiencing difficulties at home or just needs some support or understanding at school, please just email me with the subject title “Handle with Care.” There is no explanation needed. I will be extra sure to treat your child with extra time, patience, or help during the day.
I would love to talk with you to learn more about your child. I am curious about his/her interests, strengths, difficulties, feelings towards school, and how he/she learns best. Throughout the school year I will be available to discuss any concerns or valuable information you may want to share with me.
The fastest and most efficient way to reach me is through email- firstname.lastname@example.org
Please visit the rest of my website for information on curriculum, grading, useful links, and other information. Due dates and homework will be posted on Parent Portal. I'm looking forward to a wonderful year!