Welcome to U.S. History!Course Description:
During this course students will be asked to analyze the major political, social, economic, technological, and cultural developments that have shaped our country. As a class we will accomplish this in a unique and little-used way-thematically. While most U.S. History classes are taught using a chronological methodology which emphasizes memorization of names, dates, and facts, our class will instead focus on connecting bigger stories to give us a sense of where the United States has been, why it is where it is at the present, and where we can expect to be in the future. The eight themes we will use to accomplish these things are as follows:
Unit 1: The American Identity
Unit 2: The Fight for Equality
Unit 3: Vision in Politics-Presidential Policies
Unit 4: Boom and Bust- American Economics
Unit 5: War and Peace
Unit 6: Great Ideas
Unit 7: The American Dream- Watershed Moments
All students are expected to come prepared to class each day. This includes, but is not limited to, a writing utensil, notebook, and textbook. Students are also expected to participate in class discussions, group work, projects, and activities.
What should you (the student) expect?
Expect to work harder than other classes. History cannot be passively learned. What this means is that this is not about memory. It used to be that good history students were the ones who could best remember what the teacher said in class and reproduce that when tests came. This is no longer the case. History is a process of inquiry and research, drawing conclusions from what is available. If history is a process, this means that you will not be expected to fill your brain with facts, dates, and names, but rather become involved in the act of doing history.
Thinking Like a Historian
History education has a negative stereotype attached to it… I hate that. I hate it partly because it is exceedingly essential to living in a democracy, and partly because it can be exceedingly interesting! This year you will explore our American history through the things that have been left behind for us, digging into dirty details that the textbook chooses to leave out, exploring controversies that only historical study can uncover, and constructing your own opinions based on the evidence available.
During the course you will be expected to complete weekly reading assignments (either from the book or resources I provide you). You will also be responsible for reading strategies for some of these readings, but not all. Quizzes will be used roughly once a week to check that you comprehend the material. Articles, group work, small activities, participation, and projects are other assignments that will be issued throughout the course. Not all of these will be graded, but it is essential for your learning that you complete them regardless.
Historical Film Analysis:
Each semester students will be required to view one film related to a topic of study in United States history. After viewing the film students will complete a reflection paper on the film’s content as it relates to what was discussed/portrayed in class. Films will be shown on a weekly basis on a pre-scheduled night after school. A calendar of dates and movies to be shown will be distributed during the first week of class.
Work not turned in at the time it is due in class is late. Late work will not be accepted. In regards to excused absences the homework policy is as it is in the student handbook.
Respect is the key word in the classroom. Some of the topics we deal with throughout the class are sensitive in nature, thus all students must treat fellow peers and the teacher with respect. Derogatory language, bullying, and harassment will not be tolerated.
97-100% = A 77-79.9% = C+
93-96.9% = A 73-76.9% = C
90-92.9% = A- 70-72.9% = C-
87-89.9% = B+ 67-69.9% = D+
83-86.9% = B 63-66.9% = D
80-82.9% = B- 60-62.9% = D-
Required Materials: The following must be in your possession every day of class:
Ø Textbook covered with cloth or paper cover
Ø Notebook (at least 70 sheets) with perforations and a folder
Ø Pens/Pencils—BLUE or BLACK ink ONLY; or a lead pencil
Ø Agenda/Planner—Provided by the school on the first day of school