2020 -2021 COURSE SYLLABUS
George Washington Carver High School
Course Description: This course is designed to provide a college-level experience, as well as preparation for the Advanced Placement Examination on the morning of May 9th, 2020. An emphasis is placed on interpreting documents, mastering a significant body of factual information, and writing analytical essays.
The Advanced Placement U.S. History course is very intense; it is taught at level commensurate with that of a first year college course. The reading, writing, and thinking required can be quite daunting, especially for high school sophomores. Create a schedule now and stick with it. Do not allow yourself to fall behind. I have little sympathy for those students who choose not to complete the work that is required. This course fulfills the United States history graduation requirement, but is not specifically required for graduation; therefore, the requirements of the course will not change to suit the abilities of the students. Advanced Placement courses are demanding and require daily work. Students planning to earn a score of 3 or better on the national exam, or a “B” or better in the course, will spend a MINIMUM of SEVEN hours per week studying. Begin planning and preparing now to take the A.P. exam in May.
Finally, remember that history is not a list of names, dates, and facts, but an interpretation of those facts, and, as such, is always biased by the perspective of the presenter, whether because of race, class, gender, ethnicity, political affiliation or other considerations. Consequently, in history there aren’t “right or wrong” answers; there are well reasoned, well supported and well-articulated answers, as well as poorly reasoned, poorly supported, and poorly articulated answers. So, question everything in order to determine what you believe and why you believe it.
TEXTBOOK: You will be responsible for weekly readings from the following text. Due dates are on the accompanying pacing guide and on the class website.
THE AMERICAN PAGEANT: A History of the Republic
Thomas A. Bailey, David M. Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen
13th ed., Houghton-Mifflin, 2006
Document Readings: Primary and secondary sources will be provided for additional readings.
Some of these will be individually copied for your use at home. Others will come from:
The American Spirit, Vol. 1 & 2
David M. Kennedy and Thomas A. Bailey
11th ed., Dushkin McGraw-Hill, 2008
Required Additional Readings: Students are expected to have read and taken notes on the first six chapters in The American Pageant by September 1st. Notes must be hand written.
- All school policies will be enforced. Please review the Student Handbook.
- You are expected to take hand written notes in class, as well as over assigned readings, and keep track of all materials received in this class. Do not throw anything away. You will need all your materials (old tests, assignments, handouts, etc.) to review at the end of the year. Bringing your reading notes to class and using them as a reference/outline for lectures is expected. I recommend using a side by side note taking strategy with your reading and lecture notes.
- Homework will consist of weekly reading and/or writing assignments, regular reading and note-taking from The American Pageant, and daily reviewing of class notes, as well as other projects and presentations. All written work completed outside class will be typed or written in blue or black ink. This is not my rule; it is the College Board’s. There will be very few homework grades. The good news is that you can plan your schedule around long term or regularly scheduled assignments. The bad news is that if you slack off for a week, it will be extremely difficult to catch up… so don’t slack off.
- All assignments are due no later than 3:40 pm on the assigned date. Assignments submitted late, electronically or on paper, will receive a maximum grade of 50%. All homework dates are on Google Classroom.
- I use the following semester long percentage system for grading:
Weekly Reading Quizzes and Notes-30%
- Quizzes ≈ 7/10
- Notes ≈ 3/10
- Multiple choice ≈ 1/3
- Short Answer ≈ 1/3
- DBQ & LEQ ≈ 1/3
- In the past, students have tried to cope with the increased workload of APUSH by engaging in cooperative work. This could be study groups, note sharing, and using social networking sites or blogs to communicate, among other things. In general, this is acceptable, even encouraged. HOWEVER, keep these few very important things in mind:
- The best notes you can have are ones you take for yourself. Research has consistently shown that the act of note taking, by hand, increases the likelihood of retaining information, even if the notes are not reviewed. (This is not meant to be construed as an endorsement of not reviewing one’s notes!)
- The only resources students are allowed to use on reading quizzes are their own handwritten notes. If you take notes thoroughly and with intention, and regularly bring them to class, you will be very successful on reading quizzes. - Each week, during the reading quiz, I will check your notes and ascribe a grade for quality and thoroughness.
- Any work turned in for credit needs to be done individually, unless explicitly stated by the instructor. Plagiarism or other cheating will result in a failing grade.
- A significant portion of a student’s success on the national exam is determined by three short answer questions (SAQ), a document based question (DBQ), and one of two long essay questions (LEQ). These questions require students to recall information on a wide range of historical events, analyze both primary source evidence as well as historical interpretations, and present their analysis in a formal written essay. Consequently, we will frequently practice analysis and writing skills, both in class and outside of class. I will tell you now that I am aware that this is not English class, so that you don’t have to bring it up later.
- It is your responsibility to find out about any assignments missed during absences. I will not remind you. All assignments, projects, readings etc. will be posted on the class website. You are responsible for checking the class website daily.
- I am available before school beginning at 6:45 am, after school, and via e-mail if you need help. If you are struggling with anything, please come see me for assistance.
- The final three (post national exam) weeks of the course will be devoted to a project or projects which will explore some of the more entertaining aspects of US history which are not on the national exam.
Units will typically contain the following activities:
Lecture and discussion of topics: Students will participate in discussions based on course topics. Reading quizzes: You will have a short quiz on the assigned chapters of The American Pageant (TAP) weekly. Students may use their own handwritten reading notes on the quizzes.
Additionally, students will be graded on their notes during the quiz.
Primary Source Analysis: Students analyze primary sources using the H.A.P.P.Y. method.
- Source: Who is producing this document? How is the author’s background relevant? - Occasion: What is the historical context of the document? What event or events precipitated its creation? - Audience: For whom was the document originally intended? How does this inform your reading of the document?
- Purpose: What does the author want to accomplish? (What does the source want the audience to do or think about the occasion?)
- Summary: A brief synopsis of the content of the document.
Thesis Paper Analysis: Students are provided with opposing viewpoints expressed in either primary or secondary source documents and in writing must determine the following:
- The Thesis:
- What is the main argument of each author?
- The Evidence:
- Looking at the supporting evidence, analyze whether they are logically interpreted by the authors. Do they clearly support the thesis?
- Critical Analysis:
- What do the sources add to your own understanding of the topic?
- What points are strongly made and well documented?
- Final Analysis: (Your opinion is expressed here without the use of any form of the pronoun
- Which of the sources makes the most convincing case and why?
- For each source, complete the thesis, evidence, and critical analysis sections. History in the Making: Students will compare how the issues they are studying were viewed in the past. They will then assess the extent to which earlier interpretations differ from that presented today.
SAQ/DBQ/LEQ Deconstruction: Students will begin by reading and deconstructing DBQs and LEQs from previous College Board exams. As proficiency grows, they will progress to thesis development, paragraph construction, and full essay writing.
Six Degrees of Separation: Students will be provided with two events spanning decades, but related by their theme. They will select six events in chronological order that link the first event in the series with the last. Students will write the name of each selected event, and use their research and knowledge of the time period to create an argument to support the events selected. Students must emphasize both cause and effect and/or demonstrate continuity or change over time in their linking.
Chronological Reasoning: Students are provided with ten events, in no particular chronological order, which they will then place in order, naming the decade in which each occurred.
Students will complete the exercise by providing the following:
- Identify the period in which these occur;
- Identify continuity or change over time exemplified by the selections; and
- Identify the theme(s) under which these issues and developments might be categorized. Unit test: A test will be given at the end of each unit. The test will contain some or all of three components: analytical multiple choice questions (MC), analytical short answer questions (SAQ), and either a free response essay (LEQ) or a document based question (DBQ). Each component of the exam will emphasize the application of historical thinking skills to answer the question. Information from prior units is often a critical component of the response.
These activities are organized around AP U.S. History’s seven major themes—American & National
Identity (NAT), Politics & Power (POL), Work, Exchange and Technology (WXT), Culture & Society (CUL), Migration & Settlement (MIG), Geography the Environment (GEO), America in the World (WOR), — and are designed to develop the student’s historical thinking skills.
U.S. History 11 Syllabus
United States History
Students will learn about the history of the United States beginning with a review of the colonial era through the Civil War and Reconstruction (8th grade U.S. History) and continuing in more detail through industrialization, urbanization, political and social reform, and the beginnings of internationalism. Emphasis will be placed on the political development of institutions and traditions, the continuing development of a unique American character, and the influences of isolationism and internationalism. Special attention will be given to the World Wars, increasing centralization of political power, Great Depression, Cold War, Civil Rights movement, Vietnam Conflict, and international terrorism.
Grading will be based on a running total, expressed as the percent of total points earned out of the total number of possible points during the quarterly grading period. All points will be of equal weight and will constitute 85% of the quarterly grade. Grading opportunities will include tests and quizzes, homework assignments, projects, oral reports, and papers. A variety of extra credit opportunities will be offered. Class participation will account for 15% of the quarterly grade.
Students should expect to have homework almost every night. The majority of these assignments will be reading assignments. Reading assignments require the student to know and understand the material in the assignment, and may require more than one reading and the taking of notes. All written assignments must be typed/printed. Many assignments and projects will require Internet use, and access to a printer (preferably color). If there are any questions or problems, see the teacher at the first opportunity.
The standing homework assignment will always be to review, correct, and if necessary, re-write notes from class or previous reading assignments. Also, if unsure of the assignment, students should read the next section in the textbook (handouts), unless there is a test the following day.
Parents may contact me at the school by email. Parents will receive a reply at the first opportunity. Parents are encouraged to provide me with the email address at which they prefer to be contacted. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Extra Help and Tutoring:
I will make myself available whenever possible to help students. Please do not hesitate to ask for help whenever needed or desired. I am available for tutoring every day after class (excluding faculty meetings, school events and personal/medical appointments), as well as the chat room mentioned above. I strongly encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity.
Students will need a notebook (not spiral) that allows pages to be removed, rearranged, or replaced. They will also need colored pencils for certain map work projects, and a ruler. Students should bring their notebooks to class every day. In addition, students will need access to a computer and printer.
I hope you are looking forward to this year as much as I am. It is going to be a great year!