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Course Overview

To prepare you to learn in and contribute to an information-oriented world, this yearlong course

will provide a detailed overview of United States history from the country’s beginnings to the post–

World War II era. You will gain insight into the forging of the new nation, the sectional conflicts that

nearly tore it apart, and the Civil War and Reconstruction. You will learn about nineteenth-century

industrialization and urbanization, the growth of the West and the “New South,” and political

efforts to reform capitalism. You will also analyze the effects of the Great Depression and the New

Deal, the Cold War and the United States’ role as a world power, and more recent challenges

such as movements for equality, environmental issues, and global terrorism. As a class, we will

investigate and interpret past events, learn collaboratively, encourage personal ownership of

learning, and apply what we have learned to real-world situations.

Course Content

Process Skills

Colonization and Forging a New Nation

Antebellum America

Civil War and Reconstruction

Industrialization and Urbanization

Increasing Influences and Challenges

The United States in a Changing World

America at War

Changes at Home

Course Materials

Pen, pencil, and lined paper


Textbook (and/or essays we’re reading)

3-ring binder to organize your class materials, so you can reference them easily and I can

find what I need to grade. I expect you to divide your binder into the following sections:

? Class Notes

? Writing

? Vocabulary

? Handouts

? Graded Papers, Tests, and Quizzes

? Primary and Secondary Sources

Course Policies

Every day when you enter my classroom, I will be ready to teach you interesting and engaging

lessons. If you approach this class with a positive attitude, respect for your classmates, and a

sense of responsibility, you will be successful! My expectations for you are listed below. Make

sure you review these expectations carefully and know that I will hold you to these standards of


Respect: Every person in this class will be given an equal opportunity to express himself or herself

in class discussions, group work, writings, etc. Individuals may dress differently, have different

beliefs, or communicate in different ways, but I expect you to treat each classmate with respect. In

a discussion, a variety of opinions often surface. While you will not be asked to change your way of

thinking, you will be expected to listen to others with respect and to express your personal opinions

in a respectful manner. If you disagree with someone’s viewpoint, you are free to challenge them.

However, please take time to consider your classmates’ opinions. The ability to weigh different

perspectives and a willingness to change one’s ideas based on the presentation of new evidence

are essential skills in today’s information age.

Behavior: I expect all students to:

Be in class on time.

Come prepared for class with required materials.

Respect your teacher and classmates.

Limit unnecessary trips out of the classroom.

Turn off and do not use cell phones and electronic devices during class.

Turn work in on time.

Be a benefit to a group, not a hindrance.

Actively participate in class discussions.

Accept an academic challenge.

School Policies: Any rule stated in the Student Handbook is, of course, a rule in this classroom as

well. Please be very familiar with all school rules and policies.

Absences: If you have a planned absence from school, please notify me in advance and I will give

you the upcoming assignments. It’s always best to make up your work before you leave. If you

have an unplanned absence from school, please see me immediately upon your return to class to

obtain any makeup work. You may also e-mail me to find out assignment details. When possible, I

will e-mail attachments to you. Regardless of the situation, please talk to me personally when you


Late Work: For excused absences (i.e. illnesses, emergencies, appointments, school activities,

parental notes), there will be no penalty for late work as long as the work is completed within one

or two days of your return. For more extended absences due to illness (documented by a doctor’s

note), late work must be completed within one week of your return. For unexcused absences

(skipping, no note from parents) or for work not completed on time, your score will be automatically

reduced by 25 percent.

Plagiarism/Cheating: I begin the year with complete trust in each of you. Please do not abuse that

trust by being dishonest. Learning cooperatively is great, and I encourage students to get together

to brainstorm and discuss assignments. When you sit down to complete an individual assignment,

however, let the work be yours alone. Penalties for cheating and plagiarism are stiff. If two papers

resemble each other too closely, I will split the points. If a paper is obviously copied, whether from

a classmate’s work, a book, or an online source, it will receive no credit.

Course Description & Syllabus—U.S. History


Grading Policy

Please refer to the following grading scale:

A+ 100–98 B+ 89–87 C+ 79–77 D+ 69–67

A 97–93 B 86–83 C 76–73 D 66–63

A– 92–90 B– 82–80 C– 72–70 D– 62–60

Letter grades are based upon the percentage of points accumulated over the course of a

semester. While these grades will ultimately go on your transcript, I hope you will also assess

your own learning for each assignment by asking the following questions:

How would I describe my effort on this assignment (e.g., tried my hardest, didn't really


What did I learn?

What am I still confused about?

What would I do differently to improve my work?

What resources, if any, did I use to aid me in completing the assignment?

Did I spend time polishing this assignment, or was it done in a hurry?

What can I do on my next assignment to perform at or above my current performance


Course Procedures

Format of Papers: I expect all papers written outside of class to be typed. Hand in the final draft

along with all previous drafts stapled to the back. Please adhere to the following guidelines:

Use white paper and black ink.

Use a standard font (e.g., 12 pt. Times New Roman).

Double-space all text.

Use one-inch page margins.

Include on the first page the title of your paper, your name, and your class period.

Include page numbers on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

Personal Statement

It is very important that you review your notes and homework frequently! Most homework has

one or more of the following aims:

Practice reinforces the learning of material already presented in class and helps you to

master specific skills.

Preparation provides supporting information—history, skills, definitions—for what’s

forthcoming; it will help when new material is covered in class.

Extension or elaboration involves the transfer of previously learned skills to new


Integration asks you to apply skills and concepts to produce a single product.


I will make every effort to communicate the purpose of homework assignments to you. If you are

having difficulties with anything covered in this course, see me as soon as possible. Times when

I am available for extra help are included below.   (By appointment)

Additional Information

Questions and Help: If you have questions regarding your schoolwork or need extra help, you

have a number of options. You can see me after class, by appointment before or after school,

during your study hall if I am not teaching that period, and/or you may e-mail me.

Signature(s): Discuss this course syllabus with your parent(s) or guardian(s). The yellow copy is

for you to keep. Please sign and return the blue copy to me by next Friday. I am looking forward

to working with you this year.

I, ______________________ (Student), have read and understand the U.S. History

course syllabus and the course expectations.

I, ______________________ (Parent/Guardian), have read and understand the U.S.

History course syllabus and the course expectations.

Student Signature: ___________________________________Date: _____________

Parent/Guardian Signature: ____________________________Date: _____________