Seventh Grade, MS Social Studies,
Mr. Brian Walsh

“To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love, For it is in giving that we receive. . .”
~ from The Prayer of Saint Francis


Mr. Walsh

Welcome to Social Studies!  My name is Brian Walsh and I am the seventh grade homeroom teacher at Holy Cross Catholic School. I was born and raised in Portland and have spent the majority of my life in the North Portland area. I even attended De La Salle North Catholic in its infancy years and graduated from the University of Portland twice (B.A. in Elementary Education and MEd).  This will be my 4th year as the Holy Cross Middle School Social Studies teacher, and my 9th year teaching overall. I'll also be teaching grades 4-8 Technology and 7th grade Religion.

This year, I will be on paternity leave the first month or so while my wife and I welcome our first child into the world.  In my leave, Mark Gast will be my long term substitute. Mr. Gast has an abundance of experience teaching having worked in PPS for many years and has been a Holy Cross "super sub" the past few years.  I know the kids are in great hands with him while I am gone.  In addition, we welcome Tyler Soldat as our student teacher.  Mr. Soldat is currently pursuing his Masters of Teaching from the University of Portland and will be working with our students throughout the year.

While this year may look a little different than we are used to, I am beyond excited to start school again. I know our students and staff are ready to step up to the challenge! Go Blazers!

Contact Mr. Walsh

Mr. Soldat

My name is Tyler Soldat, and I'm very excited to be helping out with Mark and Brian this year!  I have an MA in History, and in the past I've been a helper for my daughter's preschool, a lecturer for adult students through the University of Oregon, and substitute elementary teacher.  I'm currently in the Masters of Teaching program at the University of Portland.  My wife and I have lived in Washington State and Washington DC, but we gladly call Portland our home.  I love to travel, cook, and read books about exciting new places, and I hope we can visit a few very interesting ones through our Social Studies classes this year.  As well as being a Student Teacher, I'm also a student dealing with distance learning, so if you're having any challenges please let me know, and I may be able to offer some advice.  Go Seahawks!


Important Links:

Distance Learning

How will it work?

Every evening, I will send out lessons to your children via Google Classroom by 8:00 pm for the next day.  Inside Google Classroom, assignments will be organized by weeks and each one will be numbered and titled to make finding them easy.

Throughout the week, students will demonstrate their understanding of the content in a variety of ways.  In a typical week, students will have both live (synchronous) and independent (asynchronous) lessons Monday through Thursdays.  During live lessons (via Zoom), students meet via Zoom as a whole group or in small groups, depending on the lesson.  On days when we have asynchronous lessons (called “Applied Learning”), students will be given a specific task to complete that helps them apply their understanding of the content in an authentic manner.  On Thursdays, live class times are expanded to allow for more in depth group and individual projects, primary source analysis, and additional support to students who request it.  Click HERE! to see the Middle School Schedule that will be used during distance learning. If any changes are made to the schedule, parents and students will be informed in the weekly email.

Every Sunday, I will email parents and students the plan for the upcoming week. This email will include the links and times to Zoom calls, as well as assignments students will be working on for classes I teach. Please keep this email/lesson plan as it has important links that are needed for that week’s lessons.

In addition to regular live lessons, students will have the opportunity to receive additional support during regular office hours throughout the week.  The links and times will be sent out in the weekly email. If your son or daughter needs help, he or she may email me or complete the following Google Form to request support.

For more information, please check out this beginning of the year video I made. It contains a brief description of the changes as a result of Distance Learning and what to expect to begin the year. Click here!

Google Classrooms

For security purposes, I am not providing the links to Google Classroom here. I have emailed parents the link to their child's Google Classroom. If you need me to send the link again, please let me know! Students have already been invited to their Google Classroom, the invitation can be found in their Holy Cross Gmail or by going to and accepting the invitations to my classes from there.

Google Classroom will be the Learning Management System (LMS) that your child will use for Distance Learning. All information will be included on this platform, including assignments, Zoom links, and grades.  Throughout the year, we will be using other platforms such as Google Apps for Education (Docs, Slides, Sites, Sheets, etc.), EdPuzzle, and the online curriculum websites.  All links and resources needed for these platforms will be included as materials in Google Classroom.

Unfamiliar with Google Apps? Click HERE to access tutorial videos and helpful instructions on how to maneuver the Google Apps that we will be using this year.

7th Grade Social Studies:


During the First Trimester, the 7th grade will start the year reviewing the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.  As we progress through the year, we will explore world history up through the Renaissance. Some of the units we will cover include:

  • The Byzantine Empire
  • Rise of Islam
  • Medieval Europe
  • African Kingdoms

Online Curriculum Website

Username/Password: Students will click on the link given to them on Google Classroom and sign in using their Holy Cross Google credentials.

7th Grade Religion:

This year, we will continue our use of Alive in Christ as our textbook for Religion, which is also available online.  During the First Trimester, the 7th Grade will dive into the organization of the Bible and in particular, the New Testament. Students will examine the Gospels and learn how they each uniquely teach us about the life and works of Jesus. In addition, we will also explore the intricacies of the Mass and the Eucharist.

Throughout the year, we will be going through our Second Steps Program, which teaches students about empathy, positive communication skills, social and emotional health, and the risks of drug and alcohol use.

Online Textbook:

Password: !!aicschool!!2020g7

8th Grade Social Studies:Constitution

To begin the year, the 8th grade will look at the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation as precursors for the Age of Exploration and the establishment of the British colonies in America.  Throughout this study, we will be looking closely at a variety of primary and secondary sources and analyzing them, along with our textbook, History Alive, in order to identify trends and critically think about our nation's history.

Online Curriculum Website:

Username/Password: Students will sign in using their Holy Cross Google login credentials.

Technology (Grades 4th - 8th)

With the continuation of Distance Learning to begin the year, the month of September will be devoted to teaching and reviewing best practices while using Google Apps for Education.  In collaboration with homeroom teachers, students will be taught (or review) how to use platforms specific to their grade level, including Google Classroom, Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Forms.

Throughout the year, students will be introduced to new tools they can utilize in their content area classes to improve their presentations and reports.  In these classes, students will learn to demonstrate mastery of skills through project based learning.  From time to time, additional resources and websites may be necessary to complete online research for a project. Those links will be provided below.

Throughout all lessons, students will be challenged to identify how they can be outstanding citizens in an increasingly digital world. This will include discussions and activities centered around digital safety, cyberbullying, and digital literacy.

Additional Resources (AKA - What do I do if I finish early?):


  1. Branches of Power Game: 
  2. Court Quest Game: 
  3. Bill of Rights Game: 
  4. Executive Branch Game: 
  5. Constitution Review Game:

Maps Practice:

  1. African Countries:
  2. African Countries (Type the Answers):
  3. African Geography:
  4. ALL Countries:
  5. Some European Countries:

Typing: While we will occasionally practice typing in Technology classes, more of our time is learning how to apply technology in a safe, effective manner.  As such, I recommend all students practice typing each week at least 30 minutes per week. A few websites we have used in classes include:

  1. (Students may use their school Gmail to sign in, Grades 4 - 8)
  2. Keyboarding without Tears (Grades 4-5)

Coding: Coding is quickly becoming an essential skill for students in the 21st century.  Luckily, students have a variety of ways to learn and practice coding skills, even in early grade levels.  Some websites to practice include:

  1. (All grades, students may use their school Gmail to sign in)
  2. Scratch Coding (Requires an account, but grades 4-8 can all enjoy it)
  3. Code Avengers (A bit more complex, Grades 6 - 8)
  4. Code Academy (Grades 6+)

How to...(Tutorial videos coming soon)

... use Google Classroom? This 6 minute tutorial video will address the following questions/topics:

    • How to get to Google Classroom (0:13)
    • How to view your work (0:26)
    • How to see your grade (0:40)
    • How to see what assignments have been assigned/graded/are missing (0:45)
    • How to access the "To-Do" list (1:15)
    • What to find under "Classwork" (1:57)
    • What the icons mean (2:20)
    • How to turn in assignments (3:15)
    • Attaching a file (3:50)
    • Rubric explanation (5:02)

...use EdPuzzle?

A Note about Technology:

Throughout the year, the students will have access to technology both inside and outside the classroom. In particular, students will receive access to their own private and school monitored gmail accounts for use with Google Docs Applications and Email.  While Mr. Tagorda, our Technology Director, and I will be instructing the class on safe technology use, I highly encourage all parents to visit the following webpages to learn how to support your child in making smart, safe choices online while at home:

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

Enough is Enough organization:

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 

1 Corinthians 13:7 

Middle School Events: