Course Syllabus

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Ms. Bel, Room 406 781-446-6290 x4889

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This course is an investigation of 19th and 20th century world history. We will study the major political, economic, and social developments of those centuries, looking closely at their causes and consequences and the role of individual decision-making.

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Curiosity, initiative, and persistence are three traits that will carry you this year; nurture these, and hone them at all times. Doing so will require other behaviors. Treat everyone in the class with respect. Listen to and talk with your classmates in discussion. Commit yourself to personal development and not simply getting the work done. Risk: we will all benefit when you do. What we do here is important. This class is about you, your world, and the skills and understanding you will bring into your own future. You can do it. We will help.

Essential Questions:

  • If people historically built empires, then why did people come to reject this norm in this era?
  • In what ways did the struggle to define identity drive power dynamics in modern history?
  • Why and how did the global economic landscape shape individual rights and national vitality?

Skill Development Focus: Thinking/Reading/Writing/Speaking/Listening

Let's commit to:

  • Approaching material with curiosity, responsiveness, initiative, and reflection
  • Reading accurately and connectively
  • Asking questions to clarify and deepen understanding
  • Articulating arguments when speaking and writing
  • Supporting arguments with sufficient, precise, accurate, relevant, and credible information
  • Collaborating with your peers, your teacher, and with the teachers in the Social Studies Lab

Required Supplies for Every Class

  • fully charged laptop
  • working writing utensil
  • paper/notebook
  • way to keep organized (unit folders or binder, for example)
  • highlighters in 3 different colors


The emphasis in this class is growth and meaningful, durable learning. To that end, all of your work will be scored in terms of five categories that reward your curiosity, persistence, and initiative. Note that some assignments will be assessed in multiple categories.

  • Engagement in the Learning Process 20%

This score will include readiness at the start of class, homework completion, participation and sincere effort during class time, and respect for yourself and your classroom community.

  • History Skill Development 20%

Throughout the year, you will be taught to think, read, and write like a historian. You will practice and demonstrate those skills repeatedly throughout each term.

  • Historical Understanding 20%

This score will be based on accurate expression and use of information. It will include short Day 5 quizzes, occasional review quizzes, unit tests, in-class prompts, formal writing assignments, and projects.

  • Creativity and Problem Solving 20%

You will be asked throughout the course to apply what you learn in creative ways. Your job is to tackle these tasks with your own ideas in a manner that helps you demonstrate your understanding as fully as possible. Own the process and the products you create. Use your knowledge, skills, and resources to achieve your goals.

  • Polish and Technique 20%

This is a category intended to reflect the quality of your execution of a given task. Major assignments will be assessed in part based on your attention to detail, respect for your audience, and pride in your work. The presentations, written work, and creative products you create should meet any technical requirements and be responsibly edited, thoughtfully designed, and developed to the best of your ability. You want to submit work that is polished and presentation-ready.

Cheating/ Plagiarism

Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. Any student caught plagiarizing from any source, copying material from other students, or providing material to be copied will face disciplinary actions according to the student handbook.

Classroom Technology Expectations:

  • Cell phones will be silent and secured in bags. They will NOT be visible in the classroom or located in a student's pocket or hands. *The only exception is if you are directed by Ms. Bel to use a cell phone for a class activity.
  • Messaging and notifications will be turned OFF on student computers.
  • In class, students will use their computers only for history course work.
  • Failure to comply with this policy will affect a student's Engagement grade.

Extra Help

There may be times when you need extra support in this class. It is, after all, a challenging course designed to prepare you for college. Ms. Bel wants you to succeed and is here to help!

The Best Ways to Get the Help You Need

* Drop-in Office Hours in 406:

Day 3, Block 1

(Most Block 1s, depending on Ms. Bel's meeting schedule)

Day 6, Block 4

2:30-3:00 on Tuesdays after school

* By appointment with Ms. Bel

* In the Social Studies Lab

Remember, unless an assignment or circumstance calls for email support, we need to meet in person for extra help.  Also, if emailing quick questions, please keep in mind that teachers and students keep very different hours. Responses to your questions may not happen that same evening, and Ms. Bel may even wait until we meet in person to address such questions.  

Course Summary:

Date Details