Washington Irving Middle School Oval
Washington Irving Middle School

443 Lee Avenue

Clarksburg, WV 26301


Washington Irving Hilltopper


Mr. Borders's Website

Contact Information:

o Livegrades.com

o rborders@k12.wv.us

o (304)326-7420

Classroom ROCKS


       Be Positive


       Be Ready


       Be the Best You

       Be Emphathetic


      Be Attentative

      Be Powerful


     Be Protected

     Be Preventative

Find Below:

o Bell Ringer Questions

o Notes

o Syllabus

Be the change you want to see in the world.


The secret of change is to focus all your energy on, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.


Difficult roads often lead to beautiful places.

7th Grade Social Studies

Make this year great!

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Bell Ringer 11

Wednesday 1/24 – Day 1

A. What term do historians use to describe prehistoric government?  Explain why it was that way.

B. What are the two abbreviations for dates after year 1?

Tuesday 1/30 - Day 2

C. Make a list of things a tribe must have or do to be a civilization. (Minimal five things)

D. How did ancient civilizations improve upon early agriculture to increase food yields?

Thursday 1/30 - Day 3

E. In what modern countries did the first four civilizations begin?

F. Think about the reason countries have governments – why do you think the Ancient Era governments were monarchies/theocracies instead of democracies like today?

Monday 2/5 - Day 4

G. How did individual rights and freedoms change from Prehistory to the Ancient Era?

H. How did government change from Prehistory to the Ancient Era?


Bell Ringer 10

1/10 – Wednesday #1

A. Do you think technology existed in prehistory?  Explain your answer.

B. If the prefix “pre” in prehistory means before what does the root word history mean?  Before ________?

Thursday 1/18 – Day 2         Friday 1/12 – Day 2 (1st Period)

C. Explain how carbon dating works.

D. Create a t-chart to compare primary and secondary sources.

Friday 1/19 – Day 3

E. Explain what the Earth and oceans were like during an ice age.

F. What primary sources do scientist have to back up the “Out of Africa” theory?

Monday 1/22 – Day 4

G. Explain how prehistoric people made tools and weapons.

H. What is a Neanderthal and how is it different from us?

Tuesday 1/23 – Day 5

I. What can you infer about Otzi based on the fact he had blackened lungs?

J. What can you infer about Otzi’s tattoos since they were under his clothes? 

                                                           History                                                                       3rd 9 Weeks


  • Time Periods – a period of time where the characteristics of life are consistent or similar.
    • Synonyms – era and age
  • Dates in History
    • BCE/BC – Before the Common Era, negative numbers on a timeline, the dates before year 1 CE.
    • CE/AD – Common Era, positive numbers of a timeline, the dates after year 1 CE.
  • Sources
    • Primary Source – documents or artifacts from the era.
    • Secondary Sources – documents or artifacts about the era. 
  • Carbon Dating – measuring how much carbon something has left in it after it dies.
  • World Regions
    • New World – North and South Americas
    • Old World – Africa, Europe, and Asia


  • 97% of all human existence is in the prehistoric era.
  • No dinosaurs left when humans show up.
  • Geography
    • The earliest evidence of human life comes from Africa.
    • Ice Age – the planet is colder and drier
    • People hunted and gathered to survive.
  • Technology
    • Weapons (flint points) – spears, javelins, atlatl, bow and arrows
    • Tools (stone or bone) – hammer, axes, needles, scrapers, hooks, etc.
  • Government
    • Egalitarian – few inequalities or formal leaders.  People are equal.
  • Culture
    • Neanderthal – a different human species.
    • Otzi – the iceman, preserved in a glacier.
    • Nomadic – constantly travelling.
    • Shamans (access to spirits) and animism (spirits in nature).
    • Cave Paintings – art, storytelling, education, initiation, etc.
  • Economics
    • Traditional System – people produce their own needs and wants.
  • The Agricultural Revolution
    • Definition – people learn how to farm and tame animals, which dramatically changes the lifestyle of early humans.
  • ???????Ancient Era (3500 BCE to 500 BCE)

  • The First Four Civilizations

    1. Mesopotamia – “The Fertile Crescent”

    2. Egypt – “The Gift of the Nile”

    3. Shang Dynasty – China

    4. Indus Valley – India

  • Geography
    • River Valley Civilizations – early civilizations were built around rivers because they provided water for drinking and bathing, water and silt for agriculture, and acted as highways for travel.
    • Irrigation – moving water to fields using man made canals and ditches.
    • Domestication – taming wild animals and plants.

  • Government

    • Monarchy (kings) and Theocracy (religion) are the main government types.
    • Dynasty – a family passes down the right to rule to their children.
    • Slaves – for most of history anyone could end up as a slave.
    • Cities – capitals has populations around 40,000 and average towns were 1,000 – 3,000.
    • City-states – a city rules the land around.  (Each city is its own country.)
    • Hammurabi’s Code – the first written laws from Mesopotamia.  Followed the philosophy of an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

Dear Parents and Guardians:

My name is Garrett McCurdy, and I will be working with Mr. Borders in your child’s social studies classroom for the next eight weeks. I am originally from Pocahontas County, and am currently in my final semester at Fairmont State University, where I will graduate in May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies Education. At Fairmont State, I am a member of the Honors Program, where I have served as a peer mentor to new students for the past three years, and also of Phi Alpha Theta – a national honors society of history.

I had the pleasure of completing a previous field experience at Washington Irving, and I am excited to return for student teaching. During the time I will be spending in your child’s classroom, we will be covering highlights from the ancient and classical periods of history (3500 B.C. – 500 A.D.), with emphasis placed on geography, economics, government, and culture.

With the help of the students, I will also be completing an action research project on the interpretation and creation of timelines to assist students in their understanding of chronology, one of the most important concepts of historical study. This project will be a helpful learning experience for me, and I hope the students find the process useful and enjoyable.

For the next couple of weeks, I will be working closely with Mr. Borders to learn as much as possible about the school, classroom, and students to ensure my involvement will be beneficial to your child and his/her classmates. Please feel free to contact me online via Live Grades, or call the school to set an appointment during our planning period, which is between 1:30-2:10pm.

I look forward to this great opportunity to work with the students and staff of Washington Irving Middle School, and to learn and grow as a teacher.


Mr. Garrett McCurdy

Social Studies Syllabus 2017-18

What is social studies?

          Definition – the study of how people live and organize themselves in society.  The different parts of social studies that we will cover this year are geography, history, economics, culture, and government.

Course Goals:

Students should…

1. be able to identify, describe, and apply knowledge of the different parts of social studies.

2. be able to use maps, charts, graphs, etc. to answer questions or overcome obstacles.

3. be able to describe the major changes in human history from early man to modern day. 

4. be able to write and support a thesis statement.

5. develop leadership and organizational skills to take accountability for and improve their own performance. 

Classroom ROCKS:

  1. Respect: classmates, teachers, staff, etc.  Be positive and helpful.
  2. Organization: Have all your materials when you walk into the classroom. Go to the bathroom between classes.  Be in your seat ready to work when the bell rings.  
  3. Considerate/Care:  Do your best. Ask questions, participate in class, and pay attention.  Help those around you.
  4. Knowledge:  Listen and learn.  Share what you know. 

5. Safety: Stay in your seat with all four legs on the floor.  Know the drill procedures.


All grades will be done on a point system.  Most regular activities such as classwork or homework are worth 10 to 30 points.  Quizzes are worth 50 points and tests are worth 100 points.  Late work will receive a 10% penalty for each day it is late.  Student grades can be found online at www.LiveGrades.com.


          Students are NOT required to go out and buy any of the following, but here is a short list of recommended materials: 

  • For bell ringers and class notes students should have a notebook dedicated to this class only.
  • A folder is also recommended for handouts, study guides, and other lose papers.

Contact Information:  School Phone: (304) 624-3271 or LiveGrades.com


  • Google - find answer to anything and everything.
  • youtube - instructional videos on any topic.
  • iCivics.org - information and games about government.