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The Empire of Dreams and The Story of All of Us

People should not be afraid of their government. Government should be afraid of their people.


Fourteen billion years ago, in the crucible of the Big Bang, a story began. It is the story of all of us; the story of every man, woman, and child who ever lived and walked on Earth. It is a story that connects all of us to each other and to the stars of space from whence we all came. By connecting every discipline of academic inquiry, from literature and music, science and mathematics, art, technology, theatre, religion, weaponry, warfare, and civics, history comes alive as we explore fourteen billion years of civilization in the greatest story ever told: mankind - all of us. It is a story of triumph and tragedy, with tales of valor and courage; epic tales of adventure and sacrifice and of ordinary men and women who, under uniquely extraordinary circumstances set in motion from the moment the universe began, accomplished extraordinary things that changed the world. Our story, and who we are as a people, begins by understanding that we, as Americans, are a relatively new chapter in the ongoing story of mankind. The story of western civilization is the story of how peoples and nations moved from the tyranny of absolute monarchy to the liberty of democracy and republicanism. From the moment civilization first appeared in the Nile River Valley and Mesopotamia, through the battles for democracy between Greece and Persia, and the fight for the empire and glory of Rome; every step up the ladder of science, every masterpiece of the Renaissance, and every voyage of discovery, from Columbus to the first heroic step upon the Moon, western civilization has been dedicated to one idea: you are not what you were born; you are what you have it in you to be.
Welcome to American Civics: The Story of All of Us.

About Me
I am a proud graduate of Vanderbilt University, holding a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Political Science, with minor concentrations in Astronomy, Theatre, and International Relations. In the fall of 2017, I will begin my ninth year as a teacher, my eighth year at Washington Latin, and my third year as Chair of the History Department at our school. Prior to teaching, I served as a representative to the United States Congress on behalf of the American Astronomical Society and as a consultant on the 2006 U.S. Senate Campaign of Ben Cardin of Maryland and the 2008 Presidential Campaign of President Barack Obama. Outside of school, I love running, fencing, playing baseball and dodgeball, as well as playing piano, organ, guitar, video games, and writing. I will always, and forever, cheer on my Baltimore Orioles, my Baltimore Ravens, and my Vanderbilt Commodores.
Follow the Story of All of Us, the Empire of Dreams, and the Battle for Liberty on Facebook at American Civics: The Story of All of Us on Facebook

For Parents
While we strive for excellence in all things, we also love to have a lot of hilarious fun along the way. Parents are always welcome to stop in for a visit; just let us know when you're coming and we'll make sure to put on a show. I also hope to create an interactive learning experience where learning about history is not confined to the four walls of the classroom and the fifty minutes we meet each day. As a result, the class wiki and the class Facebook page are the two most important resources you can use to remain actively involved in the class. I will endeavor to have the wiki and the class Facebook page updated by 5:00 PM on school nights.
If you have questions, please feel free to email me at Emails usually receive a response within 24 hours; emails sent after noon on Friday will be responded to on Monday. I may be an unstoppable machine, but even Mr. Staten needs a break from time to time.
American Civics: The Story of All of Us Course Syllabus 2017-2018:
American Civics Cornell Notes Template and Guide:

The 2017 Continental League StandingsThe Battle for the Angel Trophy

Weekly Standings

Yearly Standings

Yearly Points
1. Nationals

600 Points

#1. Eagles

1410 Points

2. Eagles

520 Points

#2. Nationals

1310 Points

3. Raiders

450 Points

#3. Patriots

1290 Points

4. Cavaliers

450 Points

#4. Raiders

1260 Points

5. Patriots

400 Points

#5. Cavaliers

1190 Points

Congratulations to the Champions for the Week of September 11: The Raiders!

The Live Action Interactive Video GameThe Empire of Dreams National Bank
Bank ID Number: 11249User ID: First Initial, Last Name (All Lowercase and No Hyphens or Spaces)Passwords: All Lowercase with No Hyphens or Spaces

Week of September 25, 2017

"Let my people go."
-The Gospel of American Civics, Chapter 5, Verse 22

This week we rise up out of Egypt and follow the incredible story of the first monotheistic nation in the story of all of us as they journey from an exiled people to a tribal kingdom and regional power. We will also learn about the new rising superpower: Persia. As we begin the transition out of the Age of the Lawgivers, we will move from the ancient world to the classical world as our next unit, the Age of Empires, begins.

This Week in American Civics
Homework due on Tuesday: The Pharaohs of Egypt
Homework due on Wednesday: The History of Judaism
Homework due on Thursday: Persia
Homework due on Friday: Study for Test
Homework due on Monday: None Assigned

Monday, September 25 - "Exodus: Gods and Kings": It is considered one the most epic battles in history - the showdown between the prophet Moses and the tyrant king Ramesses the Great. While we will not presume to debate the theological merits of the showdown, we will examine this conflict from a political and military standpoint and follow the development of Israel from a tribal nation-state to a regional power, and examine the influence of Moses as a political leader and one of the most important lawgivers in human history.
Tonight's Homework:

Tuesday, September 26 - "From Exile to Kingdom": Our study of ancient Egypt draws to a close as Egypt's New Kingdom declines with the rise of new civilizations in the west and challenges to its domination emerge from Greece and Persia. Get ready for a thrilling journey out of Egypt as we follow the birth of one of the great civilizations of the world and explore the history of one of the most influential documents on the foundations of western law and order.
Tonight's Homework:

Wednesday, September 27 - "A New Power is Rising": The Kingdom of Israel does not have long to last. Despite strong leaders and kings such as Joshua, David and Solomon, after their deaths, a new power rises that comes to dominate the Middle East. Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes will lead the first true world empire to unprecedented heights, power, and riches. They will conquer Babylon and Egypt, unite the Medes, and save the Jewish people. The Persian Empire is a glorious superpower, but one that will soon find itself in an epic conflict and a desperate battle to destroy the cradle of democracy itself.
Tonight's Homework:

Thursday, September 28 - "Life in Egypt": Today, American Civics steps aside from the formal lessons to learn about life in Ancient Egypt. We'll learn how to play Senet - the game of pharaohs, write in hieroglyphs, create our own funeral masks, and explore what life was like for everyday people in the world's first civilization and empire.
Tonight's Homework:

Friday, September 29 - "The Age of the Lawgivers and the Angel of Darkness": Behold, I am become death...the destroyer of worlds and the ruin of men. The Angel of Darkness, the Lord of Death, and the Minister of Academic Mayhem returns to deliver the first exam of the year in American Civics. Back in all-black means one thing...Mr. Staten becomes the Angel of Darkness and the sixth grade has a test in American Civics!
Tonight's Homework: None Assigned

Week of September 18, 2017

Four thousand years ago, a civilization rose from the darkness of the desert to challenge the limits of human imagination. With a mastery of engineering, mathematics, astronomy, and physics that would not be rivaled until our modern era, Egypt dared to dream bigger than any civilization on Earth. This week, we journey back in time to the place where western civilization as we know it began. Follow the rise of one of the greatest empires in history as the battle for liberty moves into a new front: the Nile River Valley and the Old and New Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt. As the fight for empire begins, we will join Pharaoh Djoser, Prince Imhotep, and (the comically named) Pharaoh Sneferu in the heroic, yet tragically hilarious, quest to build a true pyramid. The glory of the Old Kingdom of Egypt rises from the sands and sets in motion the adventure of western civilization. And while the path to empire is paved in blood and tears, Ramesses II will stop at nothing to solidify his his control over a world empire. Standing in his way is the mighty Hittite Empire of Muwatalli II and his war chariots. Before he ever set himself on the path to becoming "The Great," 25-year-old Ramesses will face his own arrogance, his own mortality, and his own worst nightmare at the Battle of Kadesh. And fourteen centuries before the birth of Christ, in a world where women were property, Egypt bowed to one. We're engineering an empire that will echo across time!

This Week in American Civics
Homework due on Tuesday: The Rise of Egypt
Homework due on Wednesday: HatshepsutHomework due on Thursday: Ramesses
Homework due on Monday: Engineering an Empire

Monday, September 18 - "Skyward": The quest for immortality has inspired men for thousands of years. Today, we reach for the skies and learn how the ancient Egyptians created mummies, built magnificent tombs that still influence architecture today, and get all wrapped up while reading the dark passages of the ancient Egyptian text that guided souls into eternity in The Book of the Dead. Death will come on swift wings to those who disturb our rest as we head into the heart of the Third and Fourth Dynasties of the Old Kingdom. We will meet Pharaoh Djoser and Prince Imhotep as they launch their daring attempt to construct the first stone structure ever built on Earth. Then, team up with Pharaoh Sneferu on a quest that begins in tragedy, passes through comedy, and ends in glory as mankind begins his heroic march to the skies.
Tonight's Homework:
RED: The Rise of Ancient Egypt and Knowledge CheckWHITE: The Rise of Ancient Egypt, The Pyramids and the Sphinx, and Knowledge ChecksBLUE: The Rulers of Egypt and Questions 1a, 1b, and 3bHEISMAN: The Rulers of Egypt and Writing Activity
Tuesday, September 19 - "Empire Egypt": In the Eighteenth Dynasty, the New Kingdom of Egypt launched its assault to control the known world and to expand its dominion over Earth as wide as the circuit of the sun. Led by characters as complex and diverse as the times they live in, Egypt will be ruled by an apocalyptic despot determined to bring down the order of the world, a murderous teenager with ambitions of godhood and empire, a preteen boy who is convinced his own government wants to assassinate him, and, most controversially of all, a ruler who defied history merely by being a woman. Fourteen centuries before the birth of Christ, in a world where women were viewed as nothing more than property, Egypt bowed to one as their queen. Explore the story of Hatshepsut, the first queen of a nation in the story of all of us. Then follow the expedition to uncover the greatest discovery in history and locate the lost tomb of a previously unknown queen of Egypt who may have been buried in the most famous cemetery on Earth: the Valley of the Kings. To anyone who says girls can't be leaders or can't be strong today's adventure is a thunderous answer that girls can be warriors too!
Tonight's Homework:

Wednesday, September 20 - "King of Kings: The Nineteenth Dynasty": The fame of Egypt is due to two men. A father and son combination whose names live in infamy and whose achievements echo across time. They are the greatest pharaohs of Egypt and one of them stands alone with the greatest title in history: King of Kings.
Tonight's Homework:

Thursday, September 21 - "Egypt: Engineering an Empire, Part I": Go on an exciting trip back to Ancient Egypt and follow Imhotep and Pharaoh Djoser on their incredible journey to build the first pyramid at Saqqara and their attempt to leave an indelible mark on history. Then, try not to fall dramatically as we join Sneferu in the attempt to turn the step pyramid into geometric and architectural perfection. Join Mr. Staten, the co-star of Star Trek Into Darkness Academy Award Nominee Peter Weller, and the scholars of the History Channel for part one of the visually stunning movie Egypt: Engineering an Empire.
Tonight's Homework:
Complete Questions 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9
Friday, September 22 - "Egypt: Engineering an Empire, Part II": Sneferu aims skyward as he tries to build the first true pyramid while Hatshepsut takes her place as the first female ruler of a nation in the history of mankind. During the Middle Kingdom Period, Sesostris III builds a superfort that rivals the castles of the Middle Ages with technology that would not be seen again for twenty-four hundred years. And before he ever became famous for his legendary treasure city of gold, Seti I builds a marvelous tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Then, after narrowly surviving the Battle of Kadesh, Ramesses attempts to cement his immortality by engineering building projects that will alter the face of Egypt forever. Thirty-four hundred years later, the nations of the world race to save the legacy of Ramesses and the Temple of Abu Simbel. Join Mr. Staten, Academy Award Nominee Peter Weller, and the scholars of the History Channel for the conclusion of Egypt: Engineering an Empire.Tonight's Homework: Complete Questions 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9

Week of September 11, 2017
The cradle of civilization and the birthplace of mankind is found in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia and North Africa. It is here that humanity took the first steps up the ladder of freedom from the tyranny of despotism to the glory of republicanism and democracy. Three thousand years before the birth of Christ, great civilizations reached skyward in an attempt to define the universe and the larger world around them. From the stunning beauty of the Hammurabi's Code and the cuneiform writing of Sumer, we will move on to the glory of the pharaohs of Egypt. The monuments to absolute monarchy and the desire for eternal fame still tower over the sands and echo across time.

This Week in American Civics
Homework due on Tuesday: Study for Your Continents QuizHomework due on Wednesday: Mesopotamia
Homework due on Thursday: Justice in Mesopotamia
Homework due on Friday: Debate Reflection
Homework due on Monday: None Assigned

Monday, September 11 - "Patriot Day": Sixteen years ago, the skies over America went dark above the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania. Today, American Civics pauses to give honor to one of the most defining moments in the most recent pages in the story of all of us. Join us for our special lesson commemorating three thousand patriots who gave their lives upon the altar of freedom.
Tonight's Homework: Study for Your Continents Quiz
Tuesday, September 12 - "Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent": Travel into the heart of ancient Mesopotamia and Sumer to learn about life in the Fertile Crescent and why civilizations first sprang up between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The birthplace of civilization for all mankind marks the first steps up the ladder of excellence as we explore the beginnings of law and government where it all began.Tonight's Homework: The First Civilizations Map and Worksheet
Wednesday, September 13 - "Hammurabi and the Code": It is the original law code that has survived from ancient times. The Code of Hammurabi is so important to the development of civilization, law, and government that it is still cited as an influence to this day. There's a reason Hammurabi's portrait hangs in the United States House of Representatives, and everyone can cite some aspect of the code. Its most famous passage might be "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," but life in Mesopotamia is hard. It's even rougher if you're one of the jokers who decides to fight the law. The law wins. The law always wins.Tonight's Homework: Answer the three questions with each reading
Thursday, September 14 - "Justice in Mesopotamia": You think you have it bad? Join Mr. Staten for the first Socratic Seminar and Parliamentary Debate of the year where we explore Hammurabi's Code and the life of students in Ancient Mesopotamia. It's going to be one violent day.Tonight's Homework: Ancient Mesopotamia Map and Worksheet
Friday, September 15 - "The River of Life": The Nile River is the longest river on Earth, and it is the only one that flows north. Explore life in the Nile River Valley and how civilization developed in Egypt. The gods of Egypt smile upon us as we go into the heart of the civilized western world. From Osiris and Isis to the lords Horus, Anubis, Thoth, the princess Ma'at and the dark traitor Set, the role and influence of Egypt continues to impress us thousands of years later. The first, true, unified nation of the west begins its march to glory and rises from the life giving floods of its sacred river.Tonight's Homework: The Crown of Horus Extra Credit

Week of September 4, 2017
Space: the original frontier. These are the continuing adventures of American Civics. Our never-ending mission calls us to continue telling the story of humankind; to inform and entertain; to learn and ultimate to teach others; to bravely tell the story of all us to all generations.
Fourteen billion years ago, forged in the crucible of the Big Bang, a story began. It is the story of all of us; the story of every man, woman, and child who ever lived and walked on Earth. It is a story that connects all of us to each other and to the stars of space from whence we all came. By connecting every discipline of academic inquiry: from literature and music, science and mathematics, art, technology, theatre, religion, weaponry, warfare, and civics, history comes alive like never before as we explore fourteen billion years of history and civilization in the greatest story ever told: mankind – all of us. It is a story that begins by understanding that we have a connection to each other and to the stars of space. It begins with the realization, as the late Dr. Carl Sagan explained, that we, all of us, are made of stars.

This Week in American CivicsHomework due on Wednesday: The SummaryHomework due on Thursday: The Cosmic CalendarHomework due on Friday: Mapquest ActivitiesHomework due on Monday: Keys to History
Monday, September 4 - "Labor Day": Anyone else amused by the fact that we celebrate hard work by taking the day off?

Tuesday, September 5 - "In the Beginning...": In the beginning there was nothing. Then the Big Bang happened. So begins the story of our universe. Follow the story of the universe from the formation of the first stars and galaxies. From the birth of our star the sun and our planet, Earth, to the rise of the solar system and our moon, explore the beginning of the planets and how we all got here.Tonight's Homework: Summarize Your Notes from Today's Lesson (5-7 Sentences)
Wednesday, September 6 - "Life: The Story of All of Us": Three billion years ago, life appeared on Earth. All of human history has happened only in the last four million years of cosmic existence. The story of life is the story of who we are and where we came from. From the glory of the dinosaurs, who went extinct sixty-five million years ago to humans who appeared about four million years ago, please note that humans did not ride dinosaurs into glorious battle. Explore what life was like in an era when the continents of Earth moved into their current positions, when India crashed into Asia, when North and South America pulled away from Pangaea to form a new world, and an age where a third of the planet was covered under a sheet of ice a mile thick and we began our heroic march to tame our small world called Earth.Tonight's Homework: Summarize Your Notes from Today's Lesson (5-7 Sentences)
Thursday, September 7 - "Timeline": The sixth grade takes today to learn how to read maps, play with timelines, and gets started with its interactive notebooks as we prepare to undertake the greatest adventure of all time: history itself.Tonight's Homework: Complete In-class Activities
Friday, September 8 - "Inventors": On an unforgiving planet, most species will fail. But one species will discover a set of keys that unlock a pathway to the future. Fifty thousand years ago, mankind begins its long march to freedom and mastery of the planet in the heart of Africa. Join Mr. Staten, Academy Award nominee Josh Brolin, and the scholars of the History Channel for episode one, Inventors, of the epic twelve part miniseries: Mankind: The Story of All of Us.Tonight's Homework: Keys to History, Tape the Cosmic Timeline into Your Notebook, and Study for Your Continents Quiz

Week of August 28, 2017
Fourteen billion years ago, a story began. It is a story of triumph and tragedy, with tales of valor and courage; epic tales of adventure and sacrifice, and ultimately men and women who, under the right circumstances, accomplished extraordinary things that changed the world. The story of our nation and our people does not begin with our Constitution, nor does it even begin on the battlefields of the American Revolution. Our story begins by understanding that we, as Americans, are a relatively new chapter in an interconnected story that links all of us to each other and to the stars. I invite you to come with me on a journey through time, our world, and our universe as the sixth grade explores the story of who we are and where we came from. Drawing influences from literature, art, music, science, mathematics, technology, religion, weapons, and war, history and civics comes alive like never before as we explore 5000 years of western civilization and join an adventure fourteen billion years in the making. Our journey through time and space will take us first to the stars from whence we all began and then on to our small blue world called Earth. The battle for freedom will take us on a journey from tyranny to liberty, but the story of all of us begins by looking up...into the darkest depths of space.
Welcome to American Civics: The Story of All of Us.

This Week in American Civics
Homework due on Wednesday: Homework due on Thursday: None AssignedHomework due on Friday: The Empire National BankHomework due on Monday: Setting Up the Notebook
Monday, August 28 - "The Battle for the Angel Trophy": It is the championship that has come to be elevated above all others at our school. Now being contested for the eighth time, today's lesson answers that immortal question: 'what team will I be on in sixth grade?' The quest for the American Civics Continental League Championship and its Angel Trophy have become legendary. Today, we will welcome back into action the defending champion Patriots as they seek to becoming the first team to ever win back to back championships and win their second overall title. Joining them are the Eagles, who are always a threat to win the title; The Cavaliers, champions from two years ago who seek to recapture their former glory and win their third championship; The Nationals, hated rivals of the Eagles, who also seek their third title; and the Raiders who look to climb the mountain once again. The rivalries have become historic; many will never forget the battles between the Nationals and the Eagles in the early years, while the Patriots and the Raiders have emerged as one of the most heated. The race gets under way as the 2017 Continental League and the battle for the Angel Trophy begins. Whoever wins this year will make history and can lay claim to the ultimate title: dynasty.Tonight's Homework:
Tuesday, August 29 - "American Civics and the Interactive Notebook": As the Patriots, the Eagles, the Cavaliers, the Nationals, and the Raiders begin the fight for the Angel Trophy, Mr. Staten will introduce you to the interactive notebook. One of the things that makes American Civics unique is that there is no definitive textbook for the class. Instead, students will build their own through an interactive notebook. Keep this notebook handy: it may count as a fourth quarter test grade (and should be a free A on quizzes throughout the year)! And you'll be able to use it through the rest of your academic career in the study of history. Mr. Staten will show you the interactive notebook he built, and the science behind it...then he dares you to do better!Tonight's Homework: Decorate Your Interactive Notebook
Wednesday, August 30 - "The Best and the Brightest": Our exploration of professionalism and how to be a good student continues as the sixth grade learns from middle and high school students across the country and around the world what it takes to be successful in academic life. With the help of our friends from Teen Ink, a literary magazine written by teenagers for teenagers, we will look at study skills, classroom habits, and lifehacks that will help every student achieve their full potential as scholars. We'll also talk about what it means to be a good student beyond the purely academic form and how to set ourselves up for success in every endeavor.Tonight's Homework: None Assigned
Thursday, August 31 - "Call to Power": American Civics and the sixth grade goes on the run to number one as Mr. Staten turns his class into the first live action interactive video game in the history of social studies education. Experience the thrill of capitalism, commercialism, power-ups, and more as the sixth grade battles for control of the Civics Universe in the greatest game ever played: history class itself!Tonight's Homework: Set Up Your Account and Change Your Password by Emailing Mr. Staten Your Choice
Friday, September 1 - "All There Is": The cosmos is all there is; all there ever was; and all there ever will be. Come with me on an incredible journey as we learn about our place in the universe. From our Cosmic Address to the Cosmic Calendar, join Mr. Staten, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Carl Sagan as humankind begins its heroic march by first looking up at the night sky and dreaming 'how did we get here?' Join us as we stand up in the Milky Way and watch episode one of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.Tonight's Homework: Set Up Your Interactive Notebook for Chapter One

Week of August 23, 2017
Every journey begins with a first step. Every story has beginning.
American Civics begins its eighth year with the greatest story of all time: history itself. It's an adventure fourteen billion years in the making as new friends like Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Akhenaten, Queen Mary, and Tycho Brahe join old friends Queen Hatshepsut, Pharaoh Sneferu, Queen Theodora, John Adams, and more in the greatest adventure ever-the story of all of us. During our opening week, we will learn how to build our own textbook with an interactive notebook, how to not bust into a classroom like a madman, and how to lay the foundation for an Empire of Dreams. From rhythm and cadence to why one should never trust an orange man, we will lay the foundation for the biggest adventure in the universe. The battle for freedom will take us from tyranny to liberty. Which side will you choose?

This Week in American Civics
Homework due on Thursday: Review Course Syllabus
Homework due on Friday: The Autobiography of Me
Homework due on Monday: "What do I Want to Learn?" Journal

Wednesday, August 23 - "Vocare ad Regnum": Come with me on an adventure through space and time and close to fourteen billion years of history. On our first day, we explore the syllabus and lay the foundation for a year of excellence and adventure. It is an honor and a privilege to share this journey with you. American Civics is called the best class in the world and today, you will join the eighth cohort to undertake the greatest story ever told: The Story of All of Us.
Tonight's Homework: Review Course Syllabus

Thursday, August 24 - "American Civics": American Civics is the most unique educational experience offered at our school. Today, learn why this class is different from all others as Mr. Staten teaches how to be a successful student in class. Learn why one should never practice the "Gambler's Ruin" strategy for grades and finish off your back to school shopping today as we explore how to succeed in American Civics without really trying...very much...
Tonight's Homework:

Friday, August 25 - "Empire of Dreams": An Empire of Dreams; a place where anything is possible and every student has the opportunity to achieve their potential. Today's lesson, however, is not what it seems. Students will learn the secret to being successful, not only in class, but in multiple aspects of their present and future lives. Today, scholars will learn that they are not, in fact, one of the Avengers. Rather, they will learn that the secret to ultimate success is showing up every day ready to bring their best. Let's rock and roll.
Tonight's Homework: