APUSH 101









    Unit I:Early Contact Among Groups In North America

    (1491-1607)                                                                              8 days

    Unit II:North American Societies in the Context of the Atlantic World

    (1607-1754)                                                                              13 days

    Unit III:Birth of a New Nation and Struggle for Identity

    (1754-1800)                                                                              21 days


    Unit IV:Growing Pains of the New Republic

    (1800-1848)                                                                              16 days

    Unit V:Expansion, Sectionalism, and Civil War

    (1844-1865)                                                                              23 days

    Unit VI: Reconstruction,Industrialization, Urbanization, and
    Cultural Transformation (1865-1898)                                            16 days

    Unit VII:Establishing a New Domestic and Global Identity

    (1890-1929)                                                                              18 days

    Unit VIII:Dealing with Domestic and Global Crisis

    (1929-1945)                                                                              15 days


    Unit IX: TheQuest for Prosperity and Security

    (1945-1980)                                                                              19 days

    Unit X:Modern American History: World Leader or Falling Giant?

    (1980-present)                                                                           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.


              COURSE RULES:

    1. Plan an average of 30-45 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 periodically. 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. 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, and keep up with the questions on the Blackboard discussion board for APUSH. There is no anonymity in this room. 


    9. For each unit, a pair of students will be selected as moderators. These students are to aid me as needed throughout his/her assigned unit, and each be empowered to run the class for at least one session. Each 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.


    10.  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. See the course calendar on Blackboard for specifics – I will post assignments and activities there two weeks ahead of time.


    12. During class periods, we will always use the previous night’s assignment as the basis for classroom discussion – often focusing on the syllabus question.  We will always endeavor to clarify the material and its significance. However, 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 avoid redundancy and use class time in the best way possible.  Time management is huge in APUSH.


    14. 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.


    15. Students will complete two research papers during the course. The first, “The Centennial Question”, 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.


    16. 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.




    All marking period and final course grades in AP US History are weighted (see the student handbook).


    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 an exam upon the completion of each APUSH unit.  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 and Projects – There are about three of these per semester.  Each is worth 50 points.  Note that you will have a moderation grade for only two of the four 9-week grading periods.


    D.   Notebook Checks and Discussion Board Responses - A grade will be given for discussion board responses after each unit, and notebook checks will occur on an as-needed basis.  Each is worth 10 points.


    E. Midterm and Final Exams – These will be multiple choice exams mirroring       the questions typical on the AP exam.  They will be worth 120 points (60 questions each; 2 points per question).


    F.    Independent Research Project – This in-depth assignment will occur after the AP test date.  Students will create interactive presentations based on topics of their choice.  These projects are comprised of four separate grades: the proposal, presentation, visual/audial/interactive aid, and presentation notes.  Altogether these four separate grades will equal 100 points.



    G.   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. 


    H.   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.


    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.  I do not provide supplemental or extra credit opportunities for students to obtain higher grades.  Don’t ask.





    Please see me if you have any problems with the course outline or questions in general.  My email address is mvenezia@northallegheny.org, should you wish to contact me through that medium.  I look forward to a successful year. 

Last Modified on July 11, 2016