School is starting! I am so excited for this upcoming year that you can’t even imagine how much I want it to be here, even though it is still a week away when I am writing this. In preparation for the new year I have begun to build my own website that will contain all my content and curriculum (History only for now). I do this partly because I have come to realize that the learning platform that our district uses is always changing, and partly because I like to organize things in a way that makes sense to me.

If you want to view my website, be warned it is not finished, you can go to (sites.google.com/view/mr-horikami). Just so you have an idea of what you can find I am copy and pasting some of the Standards and Rubrics page here for you to see what is happening and what I am expecting of students this year:

“Social Studies Standards: Over the course of the year students will be taught and assigned to do research that will further their ability to do each of these standards. It is best if you read each standard with the following words before the standard, “Students will be able to...” For example: Standard 6-12.USH1.1.1.1 Students will be able to Compare and contrast early cultures and settlements that existed in North America prior to European contact.

“SBAC Writing Rubric: The 2018-2019 school year was the first year I started using the SBAC standards as my writing rubric for assignments in my class, at the same time we see a huge jump from around 50% to over 60% proficient or above. For this reason it is now the rubric that I will continue to use to grade all Rabbit Hole Papers. Students will also be graded on their proficiency of each bullet point in the rubric. Like everything else, if they want a higher grade they are free to consult the rubric and adjust their papers to get a higher score.

“Summit Learning Program Cognitive Skills. Often called soft skills, things that are not graded but allow a person to be successful in life, the cognitive skills are important for all students to develop and learn. While some individuals do not like the Summit Learning Program, these Cognitive Skills and associated Rubric I find to be of immense value, and so I incorporate them into my assignments.

“To understand the Cognitive Skills Rubric we need to look at the outline on the first page, “For each cognitive skill, students must score a six on a 0-8 point scale to demonstrate college and career readiness.” If a six is good for graduation or end of 12th grade, then an eight should be representative of a college graduate (4 year program aka 16th grade) and a four should be good for the end of 8th grade.

“For example: Domain: Textual Analysis (Yellow), Dimension: Theme/Central Idea. End of Kindergarten (0): No evidence of identifying a theme/main idea in a text. OR Identifies a topic and details loosely related to a theme/main idea. End of 8th Grade (4): Identifies a theme/central idea in a text and provides a limited explanation of how that theme/central idea is developed through specific details. End of 12th Grade (6): Identifies multiple themes/central ideas in a text and provides an accurate analysis of their development and interaction with each other and with supporting ideas or other elements in the text (e.g., setting, plot, character).”

That ends the sample from the website, as it continues to grow I hope that it can be more a community resource for people who just want to learn more about the history of the United States then just a class website. Either way, I am excited to see your kids this year, and hopefully they will come away with some great skills and greater knowledge.

Charles Horikami is a Social Studies Teacher at BLMS, and the Legislative District 32 Chair for the Idaho State Republican Party. The views expressed are not representative of the BLSD or of the Idaho State Republican Party. He can be contacted at chorikami@gmail.com and welcomes all comments and critiques.