ADVANCED PLACEMENT UNITED STATES HISTORY
NORTH ALLEGHENY SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLAPUSH 101(THE BASICS YOU NEED TO KNOW TO SUCCEED IN THIS CLASS)FIRST SEMESTER COURSE CHRONOLOGY:Unit I Natives, Settlement, and Colonial America 8 days
Unit II The Revolutionary Era 7 days
Unit III The Confederation and the Constitution 6 days
Unit IV Launching the New Government 5 days
Unit V Jeffersonian Republicanism & the Era of Good Feeling 9 days
Unit VI Antebellum American Culture 8 days
Unit VII Politics for the Common Man 6 days
Unit VIII Manifest Destiny 6 days
Unit IX The Drift Toward Disunion 7 daysUnit X The Civil War and Reconstruction 8 days
SECOND SEMESTER COURSE CHRONOLOGY:Unit XI Gilded Age America 7 daysUnit XII Urbanization, Immigration, & the West 6 days
Unit XIII The Progressive Era 6 days
Unit XIV The United States as a World Power 8 days
Unit XV Boom and Crash 6 days
Unit XVI The New Deal 6 days
Unit XVII World War II 7 days
Unit XIII The Cold War Quest for Peace & Security 7 days
Unit XIX The Stormy Sixties and the Vietnam War 7 days
Unit XX Modern American History: World Leader Or Falling Giant? 7 Days
Welcome to United States Advanced Placement History – a college-level course presented in an atmosphere designed to prepare students for excellent work at the collegiate level. The teaching techniques are carefully planned to introduce you gradually to this level of work. The course will be demanding – but neither deadly nor dull. To a great extent, your rewards will be in direct proportion to the amount of effort expended. As we progress, I wish to have the class student-centered, not teacher-controlled; therefore our organization and operation undoubtedly will be somewhat different from that to which you may be accustomed.
Next May, you are encouraged to take the AP United States History examination: a three-hour objective and essay test drawn up and graded by a committee of high school, college, and university instructors. Based on the results of that exam, you may qualify for college credit and/or advanced college standing. The prime concern in AP, however, is that you encounter interesting and challenging opportunities to develop your abilities far beyond the level which you might attain in a less demanding class. Our main goal is to help you to think independently and express yourself adequately both orally and in writing. If you accomplish this, it will definitely be reflected in your AP exam score.
1. Plan an average of 45 minutes per evening for each class session. If after two weeks you find yourself spending significantly more time than this, please consult me.
2. Personal responsibility is the key to making this system function effectively. Be certain you are prepared to contribute in class.
3. Submit all work on time. If your work is turned in late and you lack a valid excuse, your work will be penalized one letter grade per day late.
4. Each student is expected to do his or her work independently. The submission of a paper, map, exercise, exam, or quiz attests that the writer has received no help from anyone else.
5. I will be conducting “notebook checks” in this course every couple weeks. There is no official format I expect for note-taking, though I expect the student WILL take notes with effort and detail commensurate with an AP-level class. The only requirement is that students respond to italicized questions provided at the end of most lessons in the syllabus (several sentences should suffice, so long as the student explains where prompted). A suggested format for note-taking is as follows. It is a proven method of keeping organized; something critical in a course with as much material as ours.
Mr. Venezia’s note-taking technique:
· Keep notes on each assignment on regulation notebook paper (8½ x 11). Start each new assignment on a separate sheet, writing only on the right-hand page. Number each sheet in the upper right-hand corner. The first digit indicates the unit, the second the day within the unit, the third the page of notes for the day. Thus, 8-5-2 indicates unit 8, day 5, page 2. Retain these notes in order in your notebook.
· For each assignment, take a moment to flip through the pages to determine the general scope and sequence of the reading. Note particularly subheadings within your reading, and/or the titles of primary source documents, should they be included.
· For each text section, try to summarize the thesis in a sentence. Then, take down specific information such as names, events, etc.
· Your text has done you the favor of emboldening certain vocabulary and noteworthy people, concepts, etc. Though you should be sure to include all these for each reading, note that they are not ALL you will be responsible for. If they were, I would just assign the list at the back of each chapter.
· Be sure note-taking concentrates on main ideas and important information. Avoid trivia. There is enough to know in APUSH as it is.
· Use the left-hand pages of your notebook for class notes that pertain to the information you have done on your own (on the right). That way, it is easily located later.
· Note that some assignments involve one or more questions pertaining to the information covered (they are in italics in the syllabus). Try to explore some possible responses/reactions to these – there is not necessarily one correct response to each
· These notes are primarily for your own use in class, and do not have to be fancy or neatly copied. Such effort is often a waste of valuable time.
· Use space (indent, skip lines, etc.) for organization. It is important to be environmentally aware, but not in your note-taking. Use the paper.
6. Notes for assignments missed due to absence from class are due on the day of return to class.
7. All students meeting the standards of this course will receive an “A”, “B”, or “C” on their report cards. Colleges will be notified on transcripts that this is an AP course. In computing the quality point average for class ranking and for NA’s National Honor Society, a “B” is almost the equivalent of an “A” in a regular course. If you receive a grade lower than a “B” on your report card, see me immediately to discuss remediation/options. I will check with you personally on your progress from time to time. See me if you feel you need help.
8. Each student is expected to contribute consistently to daily discussion. There is no anonymity in this room.
9. Each student will be given 50 total discretionary points at the beginning of each 9 weeks for participation, preparedness, and behavior. These may be removed based on poor practice of each of these. This is an AP class. Be prepared. Behave yourself. Participate.
10. For each unit, a student will be selected as moderator. This student is to aid me as needed throughout his/her assigned unit, and will be empowered to run the class for at least one session. He or she will be responsible for leading discussion on a particular reading topic on that assigned day. Power point presentations, group activities, and review games are encouraged. Interpretive dance is discouraged (but not out of the question). See “moderation guidelines” on my website for more information. Submit your moderation "lesson plan" at least a day before your scheduled presentation.
11. During the course of the year each student will be assigned outside readings for oral presentations to the class. These assignments will vary in length. The readings are books available in the high school library. Do this reading well in advance of your presentation date. The schedule for these presentations appears next in the syllabus. The oral report must be limited to 10 to 15 minutes. A written outline is to be submitted to me at least a day before the scheduled presentation. This is to be no longer than two pages. See “oral report guidelines” on my website for more specific information.
12. Any assigned reading/ note-taking is to be completed in preparation for the day it is listed. We will endeavor to follow the syllabus as planned day by day. This will afford you ample opportunity to plan ahead. Note: unexpected school cancellations do not affect our syllabus (the AP test does not care how many snow days we have).
13. During the regular class periods, we will sometimes use the previous night’s assignment as the basis for classroom discussion, supplementary activities, and possible quizzes during regular class time. We will always endeavor to clarify the material and its significance. You should have a basis of understanding from your own effort, and there is no guarantee that everything you will be tested on will be mentioned in class. Often, I will cover a related topic not encompassed in your reading. This way we use class time in the best way possible.
14. During the double class periods, we will explore related readings, group simulations, review activities, current events issues related to course topics, practice DBQ’s, period art, etc. Any films related to particular lessons will be shown at this time, and oral presentations will be done during the double period as well.
15. We will spend the last week of April and the first week of May reviewing and preparing specifically for the AP US History Exam. Taking this exam is not mandatory, but is highly encouraged.
16. Students will complete two research papers during the course. The first, “The Causes of the Civil War”, will be completed at the end of the first semester. The other is part of an independent research project that will be completed at the end of the year. Topics will vary.
17. As there are high academic expectations in this class, there are high expectation with regard to ethics and behavior as well. This class is designed to be open with regard to discussion and debate, but civility is mandatory. Remember: academic debate cannot exist without differing opinions. Consider the positions/opinions of others with respect. Any breaching of good conduct will result in harsh disciplinary measures and possible dismissal from the course.
AP US HISTORY GRADING INFORMATION
I. All marking period and final course grades in AP US History are weighted (see the student handbook).
II. Marking period grades will be based on the following:
A. Tests, research papers – these will each be worth 100 points. They will constitute roughly 60% of your grade. There will be three per 9-week period on average. Tests mirror the types of questions/procedures you will be enduring on the AP test in May.
B. Daily activities, debates, in-class essay responses, quizzes – these will each be worth 10 points. They will constitute roughly 30% of your grade. There will usually be a couple of graded assignments per week.
C. Scheduled Moderations, Oral Presentations, Projects – There are about three of these per semester. Each is worth 50 points. Note that you will have a moderation/oral presentation grade for only two of the four 9-week grading periods.
D. Intangibles such as participation, improvement, effort, and overall positive contribution to the class – They will constitute 10% of your grade. You are given 50 points at the beginning of each 9 weeks to cover this, and it is your job to keep them. Points may be removed at my discretion for transgressions both major and minor.
E. Notebook Checks - These will occur every two units or so, and constitute roughly 10% of the overall grade.
F. Midterm and Final Exams - These are multiple-choice affairs of 60 questions each (like the actual AP test), and are worth 120 points each (2 points per question).
G. Independent Research Project – This in-depth assignment will occur after the AP test date. It will consist of either a research paper (100 points), or visual aid (project grade: 50 points), and student presentation (50 points) .
H. The district adopted grading scale will be used. However, all evaluation instruments will be designed for and evaluated at the collegiate level. They will mirror in structure what you can expect in an undergraduate-level survey course.
I. Any cheating or effort to circumvent normal procedures or ethical expectations will produce an immediate “0” score on the test, research paper, or assignment in question.
J. Final course grades are determined by the numeric method – not by averaging the four 9-weeks periods together. It is not guaranteed that each 9 week grading period will have an equal number of points, though I will strive to keep them fairly close.
Please see me if you have any problems with the course outline or questions in general. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, should you wish to contact me through that medium. I look forward to a successful year.