Please, follow this link to Mr. Grutsch's Neighborhood for all class information and materials.
Dear Seven Hills Parents,
Welcome to Trivium 3. This class has three basic parts Logic, Rhetoric, and Debate. Your student began exploring these ideas in 6th and 7th grades. Each grade has a primary focus for instruction. In eighth grade this will be Debate, with Rhetoric and Logic as secondary foci.
In Eighth Grade:
At first, we will explore the different types of government and the US Constitution through the lens of a scholar trying to form an opinion and ultimately communicate that viewpoint to others. This ties in well to the 8th grade Capstone Trip to Washington D.C. and helps to further prepare them for high school civics. Near the end of the trimester the students will be tested on the US Constitution including the Bill of Rights.
During the second half of the trimester students will participate in two formal debates. This is modeled off of the Classical Debate structure used by many area high schools. We approach debate like philosophers; meaning our focus is on finding the truth rather than winning an argument.
The 8th graders will finish this course with an argumentative essay. Students will learn the proper structure and requirements for writing an argumentative essay and during the last week of the trimester they will present them to their peers.
Formative Assessments (40% of trimester grade)
We will start most of our assignments in class. However, students will be required to complete all work they do not finish in class at home or study hall. There is not a lot of homework assigned in this course, so it is expected that all is completed to the best ability of the scholar.
This class is modeled off the teachings of Socrates. When using the Socratic Method the student is responsible to come to the truth or conclusion by themselves. Participation is crucial to their success. If a student is not participating or participating negatively then they will lose points.
Summative Assessments (60% of trimester grade)
Debates and Socratic Seminars
Participation and preparation for our formal debates and Socratic Seminars will be viewed as test grades. For a student to be successful in these areas they must research and organize before the activities. As well as, participate positively during the event.
Final Exam and Final Essay
Our Final exam will focus on the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. We will prepare for this throughout the trimester. Please, help your scholar practice their Bill of Rights hand gestures. The argumentative essay will be due the final week of the trimester. Students will be grade on the quality of their essay and the effectiveness of their presentation.
Hopefully, this clears up some of the confusion about our class. I urge you to communicate regularly with your student about what we are doing in our class. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. Our class web-page will be updated regularly with class activities and assignments. Students will receive a tentative class calendar, planning for a middle school classroom is not an exact science and so we may adjust this from time to time. It is the responsibility of the student to update their calendars.
Please note: An on-going assignment for Trivium is to argue like a philosopher. This means having adult conversations at a reasonable volume to persuade someone to align with your point of view.