Five Ways to Survive 8th Grade History

This week’s student post is by Jazelle.

     Ever wonder what it’s like as an 8th grade history student in California? Well, it’s not always the easiest class you’ll ever take, but there are a few precautions one can take to ensure success in this class. To survive an eighth grade U.S. history class like Mrs. Groves’, one must always take good notes, pay rapt attention, be able to address a topic question, make arguments based on evidence, and finally, study well and hard.  First of all, take good notes. Make sure to always highlight key terms and phrases for future studying references. Good notes allow you to contain a lot of information in a more summarized and simple way.  Do this by abbreviating and using understandable symbols, and always write a good, thorough summary at the end that addresses any questions in the notes.  Second, pay rapt attention to lectures, videos, etc.  In a class like 8th grade history, it’s not always about taking notes.  Sometimes we don’t take notes.  Videos and lectures help elaborate on the topics learned in class. If you pay good attention to these videos and lectures, it can help you to truly understand the material.  Third, be able to address a topic question.  A good way to learn about topics in a new way, is through document analysis.


In this class, students examine documents and use them to address a question on the overall topic, such as “What were the causes of the Civil War?” Fourth, a stellar eighth grade history student has a keen ability to make arguments based on evidence. As I said before, we use documents to answer a topic question. Being able to pull evidence from these documents to help argue towards your case is a very strong asset. Evidence from documents, along with explanation, is a good way to prove a point.  


Fifth, and finally, you must be able to study well and hard. All of these in class and homework assignments are very key in studying for the tests, which are worth majority of the grade. Having well-written notes and things of that sort are great assets that will allow you to perfect the material learned in class in order to prepare for competencies. As you can see, there are many key things one must do in order to be a successful eighth grade history student, but as long as the work is put in, the results will follow.

Would you ever consider stepping into the shoes of an 8th grade U.S. history student in California for a day?

Where’d We Get Our School Name?

We are Toby Johnson Middle School.  In our district, many schools are named after educators who dedicated their lives to ensuring that future generations develop skills for success and become positive and productive members of our global society.  We’d like to introduce you to our school’s namesake, Toby Johnson.  This student post is by Isis.


Toby Johnson

Mr. Tobias Johnson, familiarly known as Toby, was born June 5th, 1917.  Toby Johnson was one-year-old when his father died in 1918. He and his mother moved to Courtland to live with his grandparents.  His grandparents were farmers.  After his grandmother’s death, Toby, his mother, and grandfather moved to Sacramento, which isn’t far from Elk Grove.  Johnson graduated from high school in 1934.  He went to the University of Berkeley and worked for the Ford Motor Company. Mr. Johnson also served in the Marine Corps. He also worked for a variety of school boards and spent 16 years as a Sacramento County Supervisor.  Toby Johnson was a teacher, a principal, a [personnel] director, a superintendent, and an overall great person. He and his wife, Sue, always came to our school’s special events such as promotion, and award ceremonies.  Unfortunately, he died last year on November 17, 2014 due to health issues.  We will miss him.  However, in Mr. Johnson’s words, “You always have to keep an open mind about what will happen if you don’t take action”.  Toby Johnson understood the importance of education to us and pursued his dreams to help us achieve ours.  He will be remembered fondly, and we are proud that our school is named after him.