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Mr. Michael Gibson, Junior High Social Studies

Hello!  My name is Michael Gibson and I am excited to be returning for my 2nd year at St. John Fisher. I am eager to work with the wonderful 7th and 8th grade students in Social Studies. We will have a great year with much success!

A bit about myself:

  • I grew up in Bolingbrook and attended St. Dominic School from K through 8th grade.
  • I attended Montini Catholic in Lombard. (4x State Champs in wrestling!)
  • I recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a BA in Teaching of History.
  • My daughter, Michaela, will be attending PreK at SJF!



Update: Nov 4-8

Posted on Nov 04, 2019

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: Ending this week will be the studies on Imperial China. Up next will be  Japan and Southwest Asia. We will have a quiz on Imperial China at the end of this week. 


Unit 1: Maggie Gallagher, Michael Carroll, Ryan Dooey, Toni Volpentesta, Sophia Crespo, & Mary Therese White

Unit 2: Mary Kate McGlynn, Cormac Lacy, Drew Blackburn, Jacob DeLlano, Ava Petrowski, & Matt Olsen

8th Grade: Our unit on Imperialism & WWI continues! We are nearing the entrance of the US into the war and will move quickly to end the war. Next Monday, Nov. 11th (Veteran's Day) will perfectly coincide with Armistice Day. 


Unit 1: Neila Ramirez, Kevin Coyle, John Greer, Sarah Barsch, Zoe Zwonitzer, & Kevin Hogan

Unit 2: Victoria Baader, Nathan Alfultis, Tom Sheerin, Annie Croker, Jack Perry, & JJ McNicholas

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Wednesday - Imperial China Review Guide
    • Thursday - Imperial China Quiz
    • Friday - Japan Map Exercise
    • Next Monday - Lesson 1 Assessment
  • 8th Grade
    • Tuesday - Trench Warfare SRQs
    • Friday - US Enters War CREE
    • Next Tuesday - Unit 3 Review Guide
    • Next Wednesday - Unit 3 Test

Update: Oct 7-11

Posted on Oct 07, 2019

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: This past week we finished up the Rise of Islam and we will now pivot to African Civilizations. There will be a comibed test on these two topics towards the end of next week. 

8th Grade: The Gilded Age & Progressive Era Museum Project is almost complete! Students will continue to have ample time to finish the project in class. The due date for the Project is Wednesday, October 9th. 

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Tuesday - African Civilizations Map Exercise
    • Friday - Mansa Musa Writing Assignment
    • Next Monday - Lesson 5 Assessment
  • 8th Grade
    • Wednesday - Museum Project, Group Works Cited Page, & Curator Profiles

Update: Sept 16-20

Posted on Sep 16, 2019

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We are cruising right along with Early Eastern Europe! This will be a brief chapter and will lay the foundation for a lot of later European history for 2nd and 3rd trimesters. We will aim to test on this 1st Unit by the end of the week.

8th Grade: The Gilded Age & Progressive Era begins our next unit! The structure of this unit will entail a brief overview of key elements and events of the time period and will culminate with a Museum Project!

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Tuesday - Lesson 2 Assessment
    • Wednesday - Lesson 3 Assessment
    • Thursday - Unit 1: Spread of Christianity & Eastern European Civs Study Guide
    • Friday - Unit 1 Test
  • 8th Grade
    • Tuesday - Rise of Big Business Reading
    • Thursday - Labor Relations Reading
    • Friday - Immigration Reading

Update: Sept 9-13

Posted on Sep 09, 2019

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: In 7th grade, we are continuing to get familiar with our new online textbook, while progressing along with our first unit; the Spread of Christianity. We will be finishing the first part of this unit this week, culminating with a quiz at the end of the week. Up next will be Early Eastern Europe!

8th Grade: We are drawing a close to our 1st unit, Reconstruction! We will look at the long-lasting effects and ramifications of Reconstruction and Jim Crow laws before testing at the end of this week. Our next unit on the horizon will be the Gilded Age & Progressive Era.

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Wednesday - Review 
    • Thursday - Spread of Christianity Quiz
  • 8th Grade
    • Wednesday - Review 
    • Thursday - Unit 1: Reconstruction Test


7th & 8th Grade Parents: NO SCHOOL FRIDAY, 9/13

8/21 | Welcome Back!

Posted on Aug 21, 2019

Welcome back Falcons!

I am eager to see everyone on Wednesday and to finally begin our new year! This week will be spent settling into the routine that will be Junior High at SJF. This week, students will be sent home with a copy of the course syllabus, as well as a parent letter. I ask that both of these be reviewed with your child, signed and returned by next Wednesday, Aug. 28th. Students will be expected to keep their syllabus all year in their Social Studies folder to refer back to.

Additionally, students will have homework this weekend! As an avid fan of vexillology, I feel that flags are able to tell us what is important about a place or nation by what they put on their flags. With this in mind, students will need to create their own flag. Details regarding this assignment and most assignments throughout the year will be available on Google Classroom.

Homework (7th & 8th):

  • Plant Your Flag Assignmentdue Monday, Aug. 26th
  • (7th/8th) Signed Syllabus and Parent Letter, due Wednesday, Aug. 28th

Week of 3/11

Posted on Mar 11, 2019

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We are truckin' right along with the US Constitution! We will take a quiz at the end of the week to measure how we are doing thus far with the Preamble and Legislative Branch. We should be testing later this month!

Congratulations to Unit 5 MVP's: Tom Sheerin, Annie Croker, Sam Pacino, Richard Willis, Erin O'Connor, and Vicky Baader!

8th Grade: We near closer to our end of the 6th unit! We will continue with the 1920s, including the plight of farmers, and the Scopes' Monkey Trial. We will quiz our 1920s knowledge on Friday. Up next will be the Great Depression and New Deal!

Congratulations to Unit 5 MVP's: Marty Gavin, Abby Olsen, Liam Deacy, Lily Hatton, Danny Fontaine, and Liam Brady!

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Monday - Workbook pg 19
    • Thursday - Legislative Branch Review Guide
  • 8th Grade
    • Thursday - 1920s Review Guide
    • Friday - 1920s Quiz Essential Question Response


8th Grade Parents: We will be doing a memoir study during our World War II unit! The book that I have chosen is Night by Elie Wiesel. You can find more information about the book and purchase information in the handout coming home Tuesday with your child, or on the sidebar on my blog. 

7th & 8th Grade Parents: We will be going on a field trip! Wednesday, May 8th both 7th & 8th grade will be going to the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie. More information regarding this trip will be coming shortly!

Week of 2/25

Posted on Mar 01, 2019

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: The might US Constitution unit will begin this week! Students will learn this unit using a multitude of resources, including a workbook and a very intuitive website called iCivics.

8th Grade: The IL Constitution finish line is approaching! On Thursday we will be taking the test after spending Monday-Wednesday reviewing. After completion of this unit, we will resume with the 1920s, Great Depression, and New Deal.

Both Grades: On Friday, we will be watching Kevin Hart's Guide to Black History, a family friendly anthology of key figures of African-Americans.

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Thursday - Pgs. 3-8 US Constitution Book
    • Next Monday - FanSchool Draft
  • 8th Grade
    • Monday - Illinois Constitution Practice Test 
    • Thursday - Illinois Constitution Test
    • Next Monday - FanSchool Draft

Week of 2/18

Posted on Feb 20, 2019

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We have started the Trial of Andrew Jackson, where we are deciding if he was a President of the "Common Man!" At the conclusion of this week, we will begin the US Constitution unit. Students have already been given their workbooks and are looking forward to it for certain!

8th Grade: We are continuing on with the Illinois Constitution! We are aiming to wrap this unit up and test by next Wednesday. After the Constitution we will resume with the 1920s!

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Wednesday - Trial of Andrew Jackson
  • 8th Grade
    • Next Monday - Illinois Constitution Practice Test
    • Next Wednesday - Illinois Constitution Test

Week of 2/4

Posted on Feb 05, 2019



7th Grade MVPs: 

Unit 3: Natalie Sommerfield, Lizzie Gadzik, Kate Griffin, Kylie Collins, Kevin Coyle, and Tim Malloy

Unit 4: Tessa Harris, JJ McNicholas, John Greer, Eileen O'Connor, Olivia Barry, and Emma Kairis

8th Grade MVPs: 

Unit 3: Donna Herman, Ava Spreitzer, Abby Gallagher, Marty Canavan, Beth Guinane, and Sarah Fitzgerald

Unit 4: Ella Mulchrone, Aidan Gadzik, Allison Schiestel, Hannah Clancy, Dominic Terri, and Jack Doody

GeoBee Class Champions: Ella Mulchrone, Jack Urchell, Maura Condon, Sarah Barsch, Kate Griffin, and SCHOOL CHAMPION Delia O'Keefe

Delia is awaiting results for the opportunity to represent SJF at the State competition! Good Luck Delia!!!


Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We have just completed Unit 4 and are now setting our sights on Andrew Jackson. This unit will look at his legacy as the president and will culminate with the Trial of Andrew Jackson, where we decide if he was an American hero, or villain!


8th Grade: Soon to be wrapping up Unit 4, which focused on the growing of the US into a world power and included WWI. First however, we will analyze and debate the Treaty of Versailles, and whether it truly could have been the war to end all wars! Next up is the 20s, Great Depression, and New Deal.

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Wednesday - Spoils System Reading
    • Friday - Nullification Crisis ACEs
  • 8th Grade
    • Tuesday/Wednesday - DBQ
    • Friday - Current Events Article

Week of 12/10

Posted on Dec 12, 2018

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We are moving on from the Constitution (for the meantime) and moving forward with the early years of the American nation. This week will include some interesting people and events regarding some of our "growing pains" as a young nation.

Congratulations to Unit 2 MVP's: Will Murnane, Nicky Ewers, Joe Chirillo, Mara Zablocki, Delia O'Keefe, and Michaela Madden!

8th Grade: We have just finisher our Gilded Age Museums, and are transitioning to a mini-project on the ramifications of the Gilded Age. Our next project will take the form of either a podcast, a vlog, or a newspaper. I am excited to see what these creative minds will come up with!

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Wednesday - Hamilton EdPuzzle
    • Thursday - John Adams NewsELA Article
  • 8th Grade
    • Tuesday - Gilded Age Quiz
    • Friday - Progressive Era Mini-Project 


GeoBee: The National Geographic GeoBee will be held in class on 12/20! Study up kids!

Academic Team: We will practice this Friday, 12/14, one last time before we leave for Christmas break. Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Week of 11/12

Posted on Nov 13, 2018

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We are putting the finishing touches on Unit 2! We will finish the War on Tuesday, looking at the Battle of Yorktown, but also the global impact of the American Revolution. The Unit 2 test will be on Friday.

8th Grade: We are on to Unit 3! Next up is The Gilded Age & Progressive Era. We will be doing Project Based Learning for this unit, so both topics will be primarily taught in a group environment. 

Congratulations to the Unit 2 MVP's: Teresa Bonko, Jimmy Crowley, Grace McNamara, Matt Houston, Caroline Cotter, and Peter Connolly!

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Thursday - Unit 2 Review Guide
    • Thursday - Unit 2 Test
  • 8th Grade
    • Wednesday - Immigration Free Write
    • Friday - Project Update

Once again! I look forward to seeing you at the upcoming Parent-Teacher Conferences on Nov. 19th!

Week of 11/5

Posted on Nov 05, 2018

News and Updates:

Veterans' Day Service: We will be hosting a series of events on Nov. 9th to honor the local and parish veterans. 5-8th grade students will have an opportunity to listen to a panel of veterans and ask a few questions as well. The events will culminate with a patriotic prayer service at 1:15 PM. We hope you will join us!

National Geographic "Geo Bee": New to the 7th and 8th grade will be a Geography Bee, held in partnership with National Geographic. We will hold competitions later this year to crown a School Champion, who will then have a chance to compete in the State Competition and even the National Competition held in Washington D.C.! Here are some resources for this event, if you and your student are interested.

NEW! SJF Scholastic Team: A new team for St. John Fisher! Ms. McAndrews and myself are happy to debut a new competitive, yet academic offering for Falcon students. Students will be able to challenge themselves while also experiencing the benefits of a team atmosphere. Stay tuned for more updates about competitions and practices! 

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: This week we will forge on with the current unit including topics such as Valley Forge and the Articles of Confederation. 

8th Grade: Having just about wrapped up Reconstruction, we will finish our analysis of the plans and then take one final look at the legacy left behind. 

Both Grades: The Trimester ends this week!

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Tuesday - Veterans Writing Assignment
    • Thursday - Reading
  • 8th Grade
    • Monday - In-class Writing Assignment
    • Tuesday - Veterans Writing Assignment
    • Thursday - Reading

And finally, I look forward to seeing all of you at the upcoming Parent-Teacher Conferences on Nov. 19th!

Week of 10/29

Posted on Nov 01, 2018

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We are continuing with the American Revolution! This week we will Cross the Delaware River, Attack Trenton, and then look at one of the major turning points of the war; the Battle of Saratoga.

8th Grade: We will move towards wrapping up our unit on Reconstruction this week. We have studied each of the plans that were made to help rebuild the nation after the Civil War and we will now evaluate them. 

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Tuesday - Reading
    • Friday - In-class project
  • 8th Grade
    • Tuesday - Reconstruction Plans Quiz
    • Friday - In-class Writing Assignment

Internet Safety Presentation, Halloween, High School Options Day, All-Saints Mass... What a week!

Week of 10/22

Posted on Oct 22, 2018

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: This week, 7th grade will begin to look at some of the important documents that come out during the early war period. We will use these documents to better understand why the colonists are fighting for their independence, and whether it was for a good reason.

8th Grade: Continuing on with Reconstruction in 8th grade, we will take a close look at 3 separate plans at Reconstruction. We will then compare and evaluate each of the plans in our own opinion.

Additionally, I want to recognize our Unit 1 MVPs! Congratulations to Julianna Black, Jack Walsh, Colleen Malloy, Grace Lyons, Caitlin McDonagh and Danny Cahill.  Great job and keep up the exceptional work! I can tell that 8th grade is full of great MVP caliber students!

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Tuesday - SRQ #5
    • Wednesday - Common Sense reading
    • Friday - Discussion Board
  • 8th Grade
    • Thursday - Reconstruction Plans Quiz

??We have another event-packed week!

Week of 10/15

Posted on Oct 17, 2018

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We are continuing on with the American Revolution. This week we will investigate who fired the first shot of the War. Also, we will look at the events taking place around Boston during the war. 

8th Grade: We are now pivoting into Reconstruction in 8th grade. To begin the week we will debate the character of Abraham Lincoln and we will then move on to the specific plans of Reconstruction

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Tuesday - Discussion Post
    • Wednesday - Follow-up Post 
  • 8th Grade
    • Monday - Discussion Post
    • Wednesday - Discussion Post

Picture Day - Tuesday

High School Options Day is Wednesday!

Prayer Partner Mass is Friday!

What a week!

Week of 10/9

Posted on Oct 11, 2018

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We are continuing on with the American Revolution. This week we will investigate some of the reasons the war started and how the Colonies joined together to fight for their independence. 

I would like to congratulate our Unit 1 MVP's as well. These are students who displayed great effort and participation in the classroom and did it consistently for the entire unit.

Congratulations to: Susie Girzadas, Liam Callaghan, Norah Burke, Sean McGuire, Mia Volpentesta, and Nathan Alfultis!

8th Grade: We will finally draw a close on our unit on the Civil War. We will finish up the war and also introduce the impact that the Civil War made onto the rest of the world. We will review and test on the unit this week.

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Friday - 7.2 Geo Map
  • 8th Grade
    • Thursday - Unit Review 
    • Friday - Unit 1 Test

Let's go Falcons at Pack the House and Football!

Week of 10/1

Posted on Oct 01, 2018

Welcome to October!

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We are beginning are next unit on the American Revolution. This week we will take a deep look at the events that lead to the Revolution and we will answer the question, "were the American Colonists justified in their decision to go to war for their independence?" We will also set goals for the unit and take time to brainstorm how to accomplish them.

8th Grade: We will continue our big unit on the Civil War. Some of the topics that carry over from last week include the Battle of Shiloh, Gettysburg, and the Emancipation Proclamation. We have been having great class discussions and are doing a lot of high school level work! Great job 8th grade!

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Tuesday - SRQ #3
    • Thursday - SRQ #4
    • Friday - In-class writing assignment
  • 8th Grade
    • Tuesday - Emancipation CommonLit 
    • Thursday - Annotated Antietam article
    • Friday - Annotated Gettysburg article

Keep up the great work junior high!

*A reminder, progress reports come out Oct. 3rd! Lot's of good work to show for!

Week of 9/24

Posted on Sep 24, 2018

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: We will be finishing up our first unit this week covering the Early American settlements. Up next on our horizon will be the American Revolution! We will be testing on Wednesday, Sept. 26th after reviewing on Monday and Tuesday.

8th Grade: We will finally begin to transition from the run-up to the Civil War to the actual outbreak of war this week. Some of the topics will include Battles of Shiloh, Antietam, and the Gettysburg Address. You will begin to see an uptick in work for your 8th graders, as more reading will be expected to be done at home in preparation for high level discussions in the classroom!

Homework: Keep in mind, this is subject to change.

  • 7th Grade:
    • Tuesday - Unit Review Guide
    • Wednesday - Unit Test
    • Friday - Vocabulary 
  • 8th Grade
    • Monday - Was the Civil War avoidable? Post
    • Thursday - Civil War Strategies Comparison
    • Next Monday - Key Figures of the War 
    • Tuesday - Thursday - Annotated articles

I am very excited for this week! Lot's of good work to build off from last week.

Week of 9/17

Posted on Sep 17, 2018

This week (9/17-9/21) in Global Studies!

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: This week we will be delving into the regions of American Colonies to discover similarities and differences. We will be doing so in a variety of ways, each looking to uncover information regarding all facets of society in these colonies.

8th Grade: This week the 8th grade will be finishing up the Dred Scott court case DBQ. We have already evaluated the documents, all that is left to do is organize and write! The remainder of the week will be spent finishing up the causes of the Civil War.


  • 7th Grade:
    • Wednesday - SRQ #1: Colonial Life
    • Next Tuesday - Unit Review Guide
    • Next Wednesday - Unit Test
  • 8th Grade
    • Tuesday - In-class Writing Assignment
    • Friday - Causes of the Civil War WS
    • Friday - Quiz on Causes of the Civil War

Looking forward to getting more great work done in the classroom!

Week of 9/10

Posted on Sep 13, 2018

This week (9/10-9/13) in Global Studies!

Curriculum Notes:

Both Grades: This we will be devoting two days to learning about 9/11. This year we will focus on the events that unfolded on Sept. 11th and how the world responded to this tragedy. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to share what you, the parents, remember from 9/11. It is important to remember that all of our stories are a part of personal history that the students can learn from!

7th Grade: On Wednesday, we will be examining the relationship built between Native Americans and the early English settlers. We will finish out our short week with an inquiry based lesson on the question, "what do you think happened to the Roanoke colony?"

8th Grade: In 8th Grade, we will be spending both days working on a Document Based Question, or DBQ. This is a high school level exercise that all students will see in the next level of their education. Usually done individually, our first exposure to this will be in a class-wide setting. The topic we are investigating is the Dred Scott v. Sandford Supreme Court case.


  • 7th Grade:
    • Monday - Parent Account of 9/11
    • Wednesday - Geography Map
  • 8th Grade
    • Monday- Parent Account of 9/11
    • Next Monday - Review Notes for DBQ Essay

Fisherfest is right around the corner!

Week of 9/4

Posted on Sep 06, 2018

This week (9/4-9/7) in Global Studies!

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: On Tuesday, 7th Grade will begin to look at the early settlements in America.  Finishing out the week, we will be doing a very interesting lesson on Pocahontas, asking "Did Pocahontas save John Smith?" This lesson will be a great exposure to primary and secondary sources!

8th Grade: In class, we will continue to provide context for the war.  This week will go focus on some of the most critical causes of the Civil War. Lessons will be heavily dependent on working with primary sources!


  • 7th Grade:
    • Friday - Supplemental Assignment
    • Next Monday - Parent Account of 9/11
  • 8th Grade
    • Friday - SRQ #2
    • Next Monday- Parent Account of 9/11

Great things to look forward to in 106!

Week of 8/27

Posted on Aug 28, 2018

This week (8/27-8/31) in Global Studies!

Curriculum Notes:

7th Grade: Beginning Monday, 7th Grade will begin the first unit on Early Native Americans before the arrival of European Explorers.  We will be doing a Jigsaw activity that will culminate with group presentations on Tuesday and Wednesday. We will then finish the week out with a Gallery Walk on the Early Explorers.

8th Grade: Before getting into the Civil War, we will begin the unit with some background information to provide context for the war.  This week will go through the many causes of the Civil War and will include a lot of work with primary and secondary sources!


  • 7th Grade:
    • Jigsaw work and presentations will be done entirely in class
    • Friday - Early Explorer WS
    • Next Tuesday - Quiz on Jigsaw content
  • 8th Grade
    • Thursday - Read and Respond for pgs 390-400 
    • Next Tuesday - Geography Map

Lots of good things happening in 106!


Posted on Aug 16, 2018

This week (8/21-8/24) in Global Studies!

Curriculum Notes:

Both 7th & 8th Graders will begin the year with a refresher on US and World Geography. Additionally, the students will be measured on how well they can differentiate primary from secondary sources in history. We will also spend some time in class to get to know one another, as well as go over some of my expectations for the year.

7th Grade: Friday will see us begin our first unit on Early America before European settlers. Students will need to bring markers and/or colored pencils to class on Friday!

8th Grade: On Friday, we will do an activity to see how much we may already know about the Civil War. 8th Grade students will also need to bring their markers and/or colored pencils!

Homework: (Both Grade levels)

  • DUE FRIDAY - Success Story, instructions can be found on Google Classroom.
  • DUE WEDNESDAY 8/29 - Parent Signature in Assignment book confirming that the Class Syllabus and Parent Letter have been reviewed. These documents can also be found on Google Classroom.

Let's make this a great first week!