Course Syllabus

10th Grade Modern World History 


Syllabus: 2021-2022



Instructor: Ms. Giddings 


Hello and welcome to 10th grade Modern World History! This year, we will continue working on important skills that you started practicing last year, like reading, writing, and research while studying world history from the 19th century to the present.  This syllabus includes important information about our curriculum and classroom expectations.  Keep it readily available so you can reference it throughout the year.  I’m excited to work together! 


Curriculum: What will we be learning?


Guiding Questions for the Year

How does the history of the modern world inform your understanding of our contemporary world?

  • If people historically built empires, then why did they come to reject this norm in the modern 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?


Community - how will we get to know each other so that we can help one another learn? 


Making a restorative community

We will engage in regular community-building activities using a Restorative Practices curriculum.  Restorative Practices is a social science discipline that strives to build engaged, healthy, and safe communities through guiding protocols.  Restorative Practices will help us learn about one another as people, build foundational relationships that will support our academic collaborations, and if necessary, help us work through difficult conversations as a group.  

Policies & Expectations - How is class run?


Values to Live By

  • Diversity: We value our differences as they allow us to see the world through varied perspectives.  
  • Kindness: We treat one another with patience, respect, and empathy.  We hold each other to high standards while actively supporting one another’s efforts to grow.   
  • Integrity: The work and ideas we present are our own.  We give credit to the scholars who help us shape our understanding.  We support one another in developing our own ideas while respecting our ability to think and succeed as individuals.  
  • Resilience: We lean into challenges and persevere when we face something new or difficult.  We build strategies that help us be successful when we struggle.  
  • Humility: We celebrate our strengths and we openly reflect in order to recognize and improve upon our weaknesses. 


Standards Based Grading

For students...

In Social Studies, we strive to follow where scholarship and research takes us - whether that be in the content we explore or in the instructional and assessment models we use. The movement towards standards-based grading fits this aspiration. More importantly, it more fully aligns with the values we bring to our work with you: wanting all students to succeed, fostering a growth mindset, and prioritizing the development of transferable skills. 


In 2021-2022, the core history courses at WHS will use a shared grading system.  We linked it here, and you will find it in other parts of Canvas and throughout our work together.  Remember that this type of system helps us orient our instruction and feedback to key competencies within the system. Remember too the importance of feedback - we worked hard over many years to bring more feedback into major projects and papers, and understand the value of conferencing with you when work is on-going. These feedback loops remain, and will be combined with frequent, targeted, and often verbal feedback during class time. It is going to be important for you to distinguish between feedback - those suggestions, affirmations, and questions we offer to you when work is on-going and formative - and scores - when the work is evaluated with the rubric. Rubric scores are what will be used to determine your grade within a standard, and 3 of the standards will factor into your term grade.  One last point, and this practice will be new: if we do not have evidence of learning approaching a standard, likely through non-submission of work, PowerSchool will show an Incomplete within that standard. Unresolved ‘Incompletes’ at the end of a quarter within a standard will become a D or an F when the school requires us to translate that ‘Incomplete’ to a fixed letter grade. 


Several points in the previous paragraph bear repeating, as we want them to be clear takeaways:

  • there is a distinction between feedback and grading, and we plan to keep them separate in our work with you
  • this approach relies on determining grades when we can, rather than on calculating and averaging every piece of submitted work
  • you need to resolve any incompletes with as much urgency as possible, as their presence at the end of a marking period leads to poor grades

For parents...

Schools historically and typically provide students with numbers, percentages, and letter grades on each individual assignment within a course, resulting in an averaged score when reporting a singular grade. A standards-based system moves away from such averages and towards the determination of when/where/how often a student’s work meets standards, to provide feedback and information about work in relation to these standards. This year, we adopted a blended approach to best align our values to quarterly reporting requirements and the separate functions of Canvas and PowerSchool. You will notice that this blended approach

  • distinguishes between feedback and grading
  • stores its rubrics and any scores in Canvas
  • offers letter grades for each standard in PowerSchool, based on an aggregate of scored rubrics associated with that standard
  • calculates a quarter grade, represented by a letter and number,  based on prescribed weights assigned to each standard
  • will be used in all history surveys here at WHS

If reading some scholarship that informs our practice helps, we’d encourage your reading of this overview from ASCD, or perhaps a review of a collection of pieces/excerpts that our department leader, Mike Reidy, shared with us last spring. If questions remain, or you wish to discuss ‘why’ we adopted this practice, please contact him at  Of course, if you have questions about your student in this class, I’m here to help. Before we speak, I might suggest talking with your student about feedback received, and working with your student through their Canvas portal periodically. We find that most uncertainties are best addressed in these open conversations at home.


Makeup Work & Late Work

Makeup Work:Students who are absent have the same number of days that they were out to complete missed work (with the exception of Cycle Quizzes - see below).  For example, if a student is out on Monday and returns to school on Tuesday, any work that was assigned on Monday is due Wednesday.  However, assignments that were due on the date of the absence will be collected immediately upon the student’s return to school.  For example, if a major paper was due Monday and the student was absent, the student must submit that paper when they return to school on Tuesday.  

Cycle Quizzes: Must be made up the day that you return to school.  Please email me or see me first thing in the morning to find a time.  Quizzes that are not made up on the day you return will not receive a grade. 

Late Work: In order to align with restorative practices, this late-work policy offers intervention supports rather than punitive consequences.  Students can submit late work without grade penalty if they participate in the following interventionsStudents who do not participate will not receive credit for late work. 

  • First late submission: No intervention (everyone gets one mulligan!)
  • Second late submission:  Submit a written plan for completing the next major assignment.  In this plan, lay out steps and intermittent deadlines for the assignment.  Ms. Giddings must sign off on this plan before you begin working on the assignment.
  • Third late submission: Meeting with Ms. Giddings, guidance counselors, and parents/guardians to problem solve
  • Fourth late submission: Mandatory regular working sessions scheduled in Ms. Giddings’ room at least until the end of that quarter.




  • All of our class materials will be on Canvas.  Students will also get paper copies in class.
  • Students will submit major text-based assignments to Canvas, and not in hard copy.  Submissions to Canvas will also automatically run through 


  • I encourage students and parents to have open conversations about the best way for your family to use PowerSchool, including how frequently to check it.  It can be a great tool that can also sometimes distract us from our larger learning goals.  

  Cell Phones:

  • Cell Phones:  Technology provides us with some extremely powerful resources, but it can also lead to great distractions. The Wellesley High School Student Handbook states “In order to prevent disruption in classrooms and to respect the academic environment the use of handheld electronic devices is prohibited during class time without express teacher approval.”
  • In order to implement the Wellesley High School handheld electronic devices including cell phones policy, students will be asked to “park” their cell phones when the cell phones are not being utilized for academic purposes.  
    • It is an expectation that you will turn your phone off (or turn it on silent mode) and place it in an assigned numerical “parking lot” space provided by Ms. Shapero.  
    • The cell phone parking lot is located in a secure and visible location in the classroom. Cell phone retrieval will occur at the end of class or when needed for academic purposes as expressly stated by your teacher.
  • You are not permitted to have your phone on your person during class unless expressly permitted by your teacher.  If your device is not placed in the parking lot and is visible during class time (this includes bathroom and water breaks), then the phone will be confiscated and consequences will follow those stated in the Student Handbook.


  • Laptops may be used only for the academic purpose of class time.
  • Students should charge their laptops before coming to class.
  • Students using laptops for social media, to do work for other classes, to visit websites that are irrelevant to the topic of class, or for imessage will be asked to put their computers away for the remaining duration of that class period.  Any work that they cannot complete as a result will need to be completed on their own time.
    • Students will be asked to forego bringing their computer to class if there are multiple instances of misuse of laptops during class time. 

Supplies - What do you need to be ready for class?


Supplies to bring to class daily

  • Pens/pencils 
  • Highlighter
  • 3 ring binder 
  • Spiral notebook or loose leaf paper
  • Laptop and charger 
  • Headphones


Signature & Questions

Please sign and return this sheet to indicate that you have read the syllabus and have no further questions about Ms. Shapero’s academic, behavior, and technology policies.  If you need any clarification before signing, please email me at 


Student signature: _______________________________________ 


Parent/Guardian signature: _____________________________________


Date: _______________


Course Summary:

Date Details Due