IMPORTANT: Early Release on 1/22

As you have no doubt learned already, Cobb County schools will dismiss two hours early tomorrow, January 22nd.  I’m sure Twitter is a-buzz.  However, please keep in mind that:

  • You will, as far as we know right now, have ALL of your classes tomorrow, even if they are shortened.  Mr. Horton has just emailed the faculty to let us know that the administration is working on an alternate bell schedule for tomorrow, so you should prepare as you normally would for ALL of your classes.
  • Barring a sudden and unexpected transportation to the planet Hoth, YOU WILL STILL HAVE A READING QUIZ TOMORROW.  Reading quizzes take half an hour; if I have you for thirty minutes, you’re taking a quiz.  Sorry.  (Or should that be #sorrynotsorry?  I get so confused by what The Youth are currently saying.)

If you had planned to stay after school to make up any work, or to attend a club or sporting event, please know that they have all been cancelled, and make your plans accordingly.

Student Learning Objective Exam!

Okay, guys.  I know there are lots of rumors floating around out there about your SLO exams, so let me see what I can do to dispel some myths about SLOs not counting and such.  I considered not posting this, but (a) the information herein is a matter of public record, and (b) if this lessens the rampant, often inaccurate, gossip, it’s probably a good thing.  Especially since we are scheduled to take the SLO tomorrow.

There have been on-going discussions within the county regarding the effectiveness, fairness, and implementation of current Student Learning Objective exams all year long, although you may not have been aware of them.  Many of these exams have been determined to be poorly constructed, and therefore the Cobb County School Board decided yesterday that student performance on SLOs should not negatively affect students’ grades.  I could (and do) wish that the decision had been made earlier, but if wishes were horses….

Now.  What does this policy change mean for you?

  • You will still be taking the SLO for AP World History tomorrow, as planned.
  • You should still STUDY for your SLO tomorrow, as planned.

But wait!  If SLOs can’t negatively affect your overall grade, why should you still care about your SLOs?

  • Because if you perform well on the SLO, the exam WILL count for 10% of your overall grade; that is a county-mandated requirement.  If the score you earn on your SLO would hurt your overall grade, it will NOT count.  Some of you could really benefit from a strong performance on this exam.
  • Because while many SLO exams are problematic, your AP World History SLO is made up primarily of AP and AP-level questions.  Your performance on this SLO should be a good indicator of your current readiness for the AP subject exam coming in May.
  • Because it should be a matter of personal pride that you ALWAYS do your best on assessments, no matter what they are.

What does this mean in terms of your SLO study packet and timelines?

  • I WILL find a way to give you credit for the work you do, although it may not be in the way I initially intended to do it.
  • Currently, I’m leaning towards creating two assignments in the Test/Quizzes category, each weighted a little less than a quiz.  Completion of the study guide and timelines could earn you a 100% on each assignment.  However, I’m still working out the math on that one, so I may alter my assessment there.

There are a lot of other questions swirling around right now, too– I’m thinking a lot today about fairness, transparency, communication,  and– above all else– what is best for you all as my students, and as my fellow adventurers in AP World History.  I don’t have all the answers at the moment; I anticipate spending much of this coming weekend thinking about what I want to do– so if you come up to me tomorrow and ask me what the plan is, I probably won’t have it all worked out yet.

But here’s one thing I know: you guys know this material far better than you think you do.  Remember that it’s just a test.  You’re much, much bigger than it is.  You can totally take it.  So take a deep breath, look over that study guide one more time, get a good night’s sleep, and come in tomorrow ready to win.

Monday: Guest Speaker for First Period!

(If you’re in second or third period, don’t whine.  We’ll be doing something else in class.)

On Monday, October 19th, first period will be meeting in the Media Center to hear a guest speaker.

Our speaker will be Slma Shelbayah, an Assignment Editor/Producer for CNN Newsource.  Here’s her bio:

Slma Shelbayah is an Assignment Editor/Producer for CNN Newsource and Writer for CNN Digital News. Based in Atlanta, she has worked across many platforms, including the CNN International Desk and the Homepage Video unit, covering both national and international news stories including the Arab Spring, Malaysia Airlines MH370 Crash, 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and most recently the disastrous earthquake in Nepal. Shelbayah holds a Master of Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University and is also an adjunct professor of Business and Mass Communication at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia. She enjoys storytelling, teaching, traveling, photography, cooking and spending the best of times with her two daughters.

Ms. Shelbayah also has a very cool website and profile located here, where you can see a sample of her work.  If you’re interested in current events, journalism, storytelling, or the study of languages, Ms. Shelbayah should be a particularly interesting speaker to hear.

Remember that, as always, guests at our school deserve your utmost respect and attention.  I’ll remind you on Monday, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take notes during her presentation so that you have things to ask her when it’s time for our Q&A session.

School Announcement: College Workshop on October 13th!

Passing on some very useful school information:

On Tuesday, October 13th there will be a presentation and discussion for students and parents titled, “I Want to Go to College, Now What?” hosted by the counseling department.  The presentation will be held in the North Cobb High School theater at 7:00 PM.  Learn how to plan your path to college at this informational session presented by college admissions officers!

Topics for discussion will be:

  • understanding your GPA
  • designing your high school plan to maximize your options
  • step by step instructions on conducting a college search
  • how college admissions counselors view your application

There will be interactive activities and opportunities for Q&A!

This session is targeted to freshmen and sophomore students and their parents, but all are welcome.

(If you are looking for the homework assignment for October 9th, please look at the entry just below this one. 🙂 )

Homework: The Question of Mongol Awesomeness

Don’t forget, you have an in-class essay tomorrow.  You will NOT be allowed to use any notes or textbooks on this essay.  However, it would not be a bad idea to re-read the Southernization article and really think about the role of the Mongols during your homework tonight.

Deep breath, guys.  It’s just an essay.  You’re bigger than it is.  You can totally take it.

Quick announcement regarding applications for GHP in Social Studies– I need everyone’s completed application by TOMORROW at the end of the day.  

Also, tomorrow’s picture day.  Brush your hair, smile pretty, and get yourself in the yearbook.

Now!  Regarding your homework for tonight.

Today in class you should have read and analyzed documents regarding the political, economic, social, cultural, and religious history of the Mongols from a variety of sources.  If you would like to read those documents again or download a copy for your personal reference, you can find them here: Mongol Documents.  You also watched the Crash Course video on the Mongols as well (which I will embed below, thusly:)

Using these resources, please post a thoughtful, reasoned comment to this entry addressing the following prompt:

All things being equal, were the Mongols a beneficial or harmful force for Eurasia during the post-Classical period?  Why do you think so?  Consider the role the Mongols played in trade, cultural diffusion, warfare, and disease in your responses.

Be sure to use SPECIFIC EVIDENCE from the documents, your textbooks, and the video to support your argument.

Normal commenting rules apply– one thoughtful comment will earn you a maximum of 95%, while one comment PLUS a thoughtful response to another student’s comment will earn you a maximum of 100%.

Happy Mongol-ing!

Announcements and Essay Practice

Breaking news for first period!  Mr. Revard has just announced that, as the largest provider of cans/non-perishables in the main building, we WILL be getting a Chic-fil-A breakfast on Friday morning!  Excellent work, guys.

Shanah Tovah to those of you celebrating, and to everyone else, happy Monday!  You’ve got four more school days to make it through before Fall Break.  Hang in there, guys– you can do this.

You don’t have any formal homework this evening, but don’t forget that your Unit Three reading should be complete by Friday (when you have a reading quiz), and your Unit Three vocabulary assignment is due at the same time.  (If you’ve lost your original handout, please check the Unit Three Materials page and download another copy.)  So while you don’t need to do any extra work this evening, you DO need to make sure that you’re keeping up with your reading and vocabulary.

Just a few school announcements:

  • If you’ve expressed interest in applying for the Governor’s Honors Program in Social Studies, you will need to turn your COMPLETED application in to me (Ms. Galloway) by 3:40 on Wednesday afternoon (9/16).  We will be contacting students regarding their interview times over the next few days.  We can only nominate five students as a department, so make sure your application is stellar.
  • Don’t forget: Picture Day is during first period on Wednesday (9/16).  Yes, that’s the same day as your in-class essay.  It’ll be fine.  You’re still going to write.  You’ll just look fancy doing it.

Additionally, I know some of you were interested in doing some additional practice work on comparative essays in advance of your in-class essay on Wednesday.  To that end, here are a couple of additional essay prompts you could use to work on your own dehydrated essays if you feel like yours wasn’t particularly strong today:

Analyze the similarities and differences in the political and economic systems of TWO of the following Chinese dynasties in the Post-Classical period:

  • Tang Dynasty
  • Song Dynasty
  • Yuan Dynasty


Compare and contrast the role of syncretism and cultural borrowing in the practice of TWO of the following belief systems in Asia during the Post-Classical period:

  • Buddhism
  • Islam
  • Confucianism

Remember to make sure that your direct comparisons are clear, and don’t forget to explain WHY and HOW things happen.

Information on Governor’s Honors Program (GHP)

If you’re looking for the homework assignment for tonight (8/24), please scroll down one entry.

The Governor’s Honors Program is a competitive academic program held every year at Valdosta State University for students who show passion and excellence in various academic, artistic, and technical fields.  For a further description of the program, students should check the North Cobb website for a basic overview of FAQs and application procedures.

Students can apply to GHP in the following areas of study:


  • Agricultural Science
  • Communicative Arts
  • Languages (French, German, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish)
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • Social Studies

Fine Arts

  • Dance
  • Music (Brass– euphonium/baritone, French horn, trombone, trumpet, tuba; Jazz– electric bass, guitar, percussion, piano, saxophone, trombone, and trumpet; Percussion;Piano; Strings– cello, upright bass, viola, violin; Voice– alto, baritone/bass, soprano, tenor; Woodwind– bassoon, clarinet, flute, oboe, and saxophone)
  • Theater
  • Visual Arts


  • Engineering and Design
  • Technology

There will be an informational meeting in the ID lab in the Freshmen Academy (room 2101) on September 3rd at 7:45 AM or 3:30 PM.  Interested students should try to attend the meeting– otherwise, students should speak with Ms. Biddy in room 2106 in order to pick up the relevant information.

If you have further questions regarding the application process or regarding the program of GHP itself, please feel free to ask me– I went myself (back in the dark ages), and I love helping students get to experience the same awesome program.