Course Syllabus

Grade 11       U.S. History ACP    2019-2020


Course Description and Objectives: This year we will be examining the history of the United States in the context of four broad themes: Democracy and Authority, U.S. Foreign Policy, Equality and Hierarchy, and Economic History. We will learn about the founding principles and documents of the U.S. government as well as examine case studies of how these principles have been administered in the lives of American citizens and non-citizens. In particular we will try to understand how different groups of people have experienced America, as well as the cultural, social, and political forces that have influenced America’s development. 

Units: Our four major units are listed below, which will be split up into smaller sub-topics. Syllabi will be distributed at the beginning of each sub-unit, and each major unit will conclude with a major project or assessment.

  1. Democracy and Authority: Historically, what has affected the relationship between the federal and state governments and the individual?
  2. S. Foreign Policy: How have foreign policy decisions furthered or weakened the country’s national security?
  3. Equality and Hierarchy: What forces have made the United States legally and socially more inclusive?

Diversity and Inclusion: We will be exploring events and topics this year that strike at the core of historical experiences of different people groups in the U.S. In doing so we need to be aware of our own identity and life experiences as well as be open and inviting to those around us. In our discussion oriented course I hope we will create both an open and brave environment where we feel comfortable to be our full selves, free from stereotyping, tokenizing, type-casting, and label-making. And it must be a team effort. All backgrounds, socio-economic classes, gender and sexual identities, and worldviews and philosophies are welcome with the exceptions of those that are fundamentally geared toward devaluing, invalidating, or dehumanizing others. As a white, cis-gendered, straight, economically comfortable, able-bodied, male, I recognize I have a TON of blind spots in my way of experiencing the world. I ask that in any occasion where I mistakenly separate, exclude, devalue, or threaten another’s experience, please call me on it, whether it be a corrective comment in front of the class or in whatever way is most comfortable for you.

Term Grading:

Daily Assignments           15%        Activities within lessons and homework, may not always be graded.

Analytical Writing            20%         Extended writing assignments (essays, reports, pamphlets, etc.).

Projects                           30%        End of unit assignments of varying types.

Quizzes                           15%        Assignments demonstrating content knowledge and skill growth.

Class Engagement            20%        Participation in class and abiding by class norms.

Extra Help and Grades:  I vastly prefer MEETING to discuss assignments and extra help rather than email. But feel free to email to set up any appointments, or stop by during Office Hours or Lab. See schedule.

Materials:  You should purchase a binder (.5-1”) to contain course handouts, skills resources, and the current unit’s handouts. You may organize your handouts as you wish, but I recommend developing a system with dividers/folders. You should keep your coursework materials together and organized for the final experience.

Class Engagement: You must come to class on time and with all of the necessary materials—notebooks, pens, and assignments. Each student is expected to be an active learner, participating in activities an discussions on a regular basis. Full completion of assignments and reading are essential for relevant, thoughtful reflections in class that follows class norms that we establish early in the year. 

Homework: Unless otherwise stated as part of a major assessment, HW assignments should take roughly a maximum of 20-30 minutes. If it is taking longer, I highly recommend scheduling a meeting to discuss HW completion strategies. Late homework will result in a lowering of the grade by one grade increment unless prior arrangements are made.

Grading Philosophy: Grades will be just one tool for evaluation in this class. All assignments will receive feedback, but not all feedback will be graded. But for those that are, a grade of “A” denotes exemplary completion that exceeds the basic requirements of the assignment. A “B” denotes satisfactory work that meets requirements yet still demonstrates room for growth. A “C” denotes several skill or content areas that require attention.

Absences: If you are absent, it is your responsibility to make up the work that you have missed and exmine Canvas for missed assignments. You are expected to turn in any assignments that you might have missed within two days of your return to school. If you miss a test you must make it up as soon as possible. Exceptions will be made for medical or family emergencies.

Technology: You will not receive an extension because of technology related problems. This includes internet problems. Plan ahead; don’t leave things until the last minute. Be sure to have all materials submitted BEFORE class. Be sure to back up your files and save your work!

Acceptable Technology UseIn most cases, you will be allowed to use your laptop in class. However, this is a privilege. The use of your laptop in class for any non-class related purpose - including going online, using iMessage, or checking e-mail - is not allowed. If I suspect inappropriate usage, you will lose the privilege as well as a docked participation grade. Phones should be put away at all times unless otherwise instructed.

Academic Dishonesty:  Plagiarism, “to steal and use the ideas and writings of another as one’s own,” is an extremely serious matter. Learning to read carefully and express your ideas using your own thoughts is an important skill, as is giving credit to others’ work. I recommend reviewing the student handbook’s section on Academic Integrity. It is ALWAYS better to ask for extensions or partial credit rather than risk misconduct.

Course Summary:

Date Details