U.S. Presidents and Our Fifty States

From: $72.00 / month for 8 months

Grades: 5th–8th

Live class: No live class. Optional classes available for sharing projects.

Course dates:August 24th–December 21st

Cost: $499 (semester only options for this course are available for $275)

Instructor: Beverly Graybill

Instructor email: Mrs.BevGraybill@gmail.com

Note: This course is a full year option. Students can also register for just U.S. Presidents or Our Fifty States.

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Course Description

See Reviews of Instructor Bev Graybill

This class covers the U.S. Presidents in the Fall and Our Fifty States in the Spring.

U.S. Presidents

This course is a project-based, 16-week social studies class for middle school students. Using Professor Wise’s Expedition Guide to the U.S. Presidents, an out-of-print curriculum written by Debra Bell, students become Discovery Corps Scouts. Scouts earn points through completing weekly assignments and projects about the Presidents. Scouts that earn a minimum of 1000 points will receive a certificate of completion, and scouts that go above and beyond will earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal, all based on points earned. This is considered a history course, but through completing various projects, students will use numerous English skills, improving their reading and writing along the way. Families may choose to follow the suggested schedule, completing the course by the end of 2020, or go at a slower pace and continue into the spring semester.

Students will:

  • Read short biographies about each President in our text, completing comprehension questions.
  • Learn new vocabulary words, as each passage will include 4-6 vocabulary words.
  • Complete a time-line visual project with basic facts about all 45 U.S. Presidents.
  • Prepare a “Presidents and States” map (showing which states were added during which Presidency). Additional points can be earned for also creating a Presidential Landmark map showing Presidential birthplaces, libraries, or historic sites associated with each President.
  • Read nonfiction books (biographies) or watch documentaries about specific Presidents, completing a book or media report for each. (At least one must be completed for the certificate, but additional reports will earn students even more points.)
  • Write at least one short research paper (1-2 pages, the length depends on the grade of the student) about a topic related to the Presidency. Additional papers will earn even more points toward the top rewards.
  • Prepare and present at least one oral presentation about a topic related to the Presidency. (Additional presentations will earn even more points toward the top rewards.)
  • Prepare and share one creative project about a topic related to the Presidency, such as a scrapbook, poster, game, or script for a skit. (Additional presentations will earn even more points toward the top rewards.)
  • Optional: Being that it is an election year, students will be encouraged to follow the Presidential election and can earn additional points for work related to this.
  • Students can also earn points by completing “field work” in which they visit a historical site related to a President and prepare a fieldwork report. This can earn additional rewards, or also substitute for the paper, speech, or project with parental permission.
  • Optional: Reviews for vocab and Presidential facts are provided for each section, with an option to take a vocab quiz or Presidents test.

*Note: Students can substitute any project with parental permission for one of equal point value.

Course Structure

Each module begins with a short recorded video introducing the Presidents in that module. A typical lesson consists of reading a passage about a President in the text, answering comprehension questions related to it (either as a worksheet the parent prints or directly on Canvas) and also preparing an entry for that President on the Timeline Project. Additional time will be spent on the various projects, but can be done to suit the student’s schedule. Optional section reviews and tests in vocab and history are also provided. Occasional live class times occur so that students can share projects, but these are optional; other times can be arranged as needed.

Who should apply?

This class is open to all fifth through eighth graders who want to learn American history though the lives of the Presidents.

Technology Requirements:

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Headset and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
  • Microsoft Word and Power Point is extremely helpful. If using a different word processing program, the document should be saved or exported as a pdf in order to submit it on Canvas.

Evaluation and Feedback

The majority of work in the class is based on effort, as students earn points for completing work rather than percentage grades. Feedback is given on all projects so that students can learn from their mistakes, but usually full credit is earned for projects. Optional tests and quizzes are the only assignments that earn percentage grades. A student that completes “stellar work” in both quality and quantity may earn a “gold star of distinction” in addition to their medal.

Communication

Parents are welcome to contact me with questions before registering at my email, but it is not necessary before enrolling a student. Once I know a student has registered, the family will receive a welcome packet with additional information about the course. I regularly will stay in contact with parents and students through Canvas with updates on how the student is progressing through the modules. Also, I will contact parents if there is a concern that a student is not keeping up with the work.

View Course Syllabus

Our Fifty States

This course is a project-based, 16-week social studies class for middle school students. Using Professor Wise’s Expedition Guide to Our Fifty States, an out-of-print curriculum written by Debra Bell, students become Discovery Corps Scouts. Scouts earn points through completing weekly assignments and projects about all 50 states. Scouts that earn a minimum of 1000 points will receive a certificate of completion, and scouts that go above and beyond will earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal, all based on points earned. This is considered a social studies course, but through completing various projects, students will use numerous English skills, improving their reading and writing along the way. Families may choose to follow the suggested schedule, completing the course during the Spring 2021 semester, or go at a slower pace, starting the course early during the Fall 2020 semester.

Students will:

  • Read short passages about each state in our text, completing comprehension questions.
  • Learn new vocabulary words, as each passage will include 4-6 vocabulary words.
  • Complete a visual project with basic facts about all 50 states, divided into regions.
  • Prepare a “States and Capitals” map. Additional points can be earned for also creating a State Landmark map showing the three largest cities (by population) of each state, major rivers and bodies of water, major mountain ranges, and top U.S. landmarks, including national parks and historic places of interest.
  • Read nonfiction books or watch documentaries about specific states, completing a book or media report for each. (At least one must be completed for the certificate, but additional reports will earn students even more points.)
  • Write at least one short research paper (1-2 pages, the length depends on the grade of the student) on a specific state or from the list of general topics. Additional papers will earn even more points toward the top rewards.
  • Prepare and present at least one oral presentation on a specific state or from the list of general topics. (Additional presentations will earn even more points toward the top rewards.)
  • Prepare and share one creative project, such as a scrapbook, poster, game, or script for a skit on a specific state or from the list of general topics. (Additional presentations will earn even more points toward the top rewards.)
  • Optional: prepare a “My State Notebook” or slide presentation (such as Power Point) with information about the state where the student lives; this notebook/slide presentation would be shared in class.
  • Students can also earn points by completing “field work” in which they visit a historical site such as a state museum, state historical site, or state natural resource or geographical site and then write a field work report. This can earn additional rewards, or also substitute for the paper, speech, and project with parental permission.
  • Optional: Reviews for vocab and the states are provided for each section, with an option to take a vocab quiz or regional states test. Note: Students can substitute any project with parental permission for one of equal point value.

Course Structure

Each module begins with a short recorded video introducing the U.S. states in that module. A typical lesson consists of reading a passage about a state in the text, answering comprehension questions related to it (either as a worksheet the parent prints or directly on Canvas) and also preparing an entry for that state on the State Visual Project. Additional time will be spent on the various projects, but can be done to suit the student’s schedule. Optional section reviews and tests in vocab and social studies are also provided. Occasional live class times occur so that students can share projects, but these are optional; other times can be arranged as needed.

Who should apply?

This class is open to all fifth through eighth graders who want to study history and geography through learning about our fifty states.

Technology Requirements:

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • headset and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures

Evaluation and Feedback

The majority of work in the class is based on effort, as students earn points for completing work rather than percentage grades. Feedback is given on all projects so that students can learn from their mistakes, but usually full credit is earned for projects. Optional tests and quizzes are the only assignments that earn percentage grades. A student that completes “stellar work” in both quality and quantity may earn a “gold star of distinction” in addition to their medal.

Communication

Parents are welcome to contact me with questions before registering at my email, but it is not necessary before enrolling a student. Once I know a student has registered, the family will receive a welcome packet with additional information about the course. I regularly will stay in contact with parents and students through Canvas with updates on how the student is progressing through the modules. Also, I will contact parents if there is a concern that a student is not keeping up with the work.

View Course Syllabus

 

Required Texts

Course Materials: 

Our Country’s Presidents by Ann Bausman.  National Geographic. 2017.  ISBN 978-1-4263-2685-1   Be sure to get this edition, as it is republished every four years to include the latest President.

United States Encyclopedia: America’s People, Places, and Events by National Geographic Kids. 2015.  ISBN 978-1-4263-2092-7

(Don’t let the word “encyclopedia” in the title scare anyone off!  This is a full-color, fully illustrated, engaging work written specifically for students.)

5 reviews for U.S. Presidents and Our Fifty States

  1. Susan Habacivch

    It exceeded our expectations in the excitement our son had towards this class. Mrs. Graybill has always brought a great curriculum with both my kids they have learned so much. It truly takes something special to keep them engaged and eager for her class. All expectations exceeded!

  2. Nicole M. (verified owner)

    Mrs. Graybill is an excellent teacher! She is flexible, caring, and challenges students to do their best. My son took both the U.S. Presidents and 50 States course this year and has learned a tremendous amount about our country, organization, and pushing himself in new ways. These courses are well structured, challenging, and offer students the opportunity to present the knowledge they have gained in a variety of ways. It isn’t just a history class! My son said, “Her classes are awesome! She keeps you hoppin’ and had high expectations, but I am proud of the work I’ve done.”

  3. Susan Habacivch

    This is an awesome, fun course for middle schoolers. Both my children took this course and the Fifty States course at a local coop and loved it! They enjoyed learning about the presidents and how the US grew under them as well as the variety of reading and projects available to earn points. They each received a badge at the end and really enjoyed the goal of obtaining it! I highly recommend both the course and the teacher as each of my four children took a course with Mrs Graybill and learned a lot in her classes.

  4. K.S.

    I can’t tell you how much this class has grown Joshua! It has definitely challenged him in so many ways! He has grown not only in knowledge but improved in reading, spelling, learned to do a book report, research paper and power point! You are an awesome teacher and I really appreciate you!

  5. S. S.

    The U. S. Presidents and 50 States course was a great way to get my child interested in learning more about our country. The projects were interesting and provided a number of ways to earn points that made the work a fun challenge. While my daughter took this class at a home school co-op, she used the same material that will be used for this AIM Academy course. My daughter also had Mrs. Graybill for an English class and just loved her. She is an encouraging and thoughtful teacher who inspires the best in her students.

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Instructor Bio

Bev Graybill

I attended Millersville University, earning a B.S. in Special Education, a M.S. in Elementary Education, and a Reading Certificate. After teaching for several years in both public and private schools, I left the world of teaching to start my own family, discovering the amazing world of home schooling! I serve as a home school evaluator in Pennsylvania and have spent more than 20 years teaching at several home school co-ops and successfully graduating all four of my children. Currently, I also teach 4th-5th graders in a small private school. I love teaching middle school students that writing, literature, and even grammar can be fun!

Classes:

English Foundations 1
English Foundations 2
American History Through Literature
U.S. Presidents and Fifty States

Email: Mrs.BevGraybill@gmail.com

All classes taught by Bev Graybill