AP US History at The Miller School of Albemarle

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AP US History Syllabus

Advanced Placement United States History

The Miller School of Albemarle

2017 – 2018

Instructor: Mr. David F. Riddick         Contact: driddick@millerschool.org

Class Blog: https://millerapush.wordpress.com


Course Description: The Advanced Placement United States History course is designed to provide a rigorous college level experience in preparation for the AP examination in May. An emphasis will be placed on interpreting documents, mastering a significant amount of informational content, and writing critical essays in a timed environment. Students in this course will develop key historical thinking skills, including chronological reasoning, comparison and contextualization, crafting written arguments using historical evidence, and historical interpretation and synthesis. There will be a focus on the seven main themes of American history as outlined by the College Board: identity; work, exchange, and technology; peopling; politics and power; America in the world; environment and geography; and ideas, beliefs and culture. To enter this course, a student must pass an entrance exam, receive a recommendation from their previous history instructor, and receive final approval from the course instructor.

Texts: In summary we will read:

Course Outline

  1. From Columbus to Colony: Pre-Colombian Societies and their Imperial Successors in North America to 1763
  2. The American Revolution and Early Republic, 1763-1789
  3. The Early Republic, 1789-1815
  4. Antebellum America, 1815-1840
  5. Territorial Expansion, Manifest Destiny, and the Crisis of Union, 1840-1860
  6. The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1860-1877
  7. The Gilded Age, 1877-1896
  8. The Rise of Progressivism and America’s Global Power, 1896-1918
  9. The Interwar Years, 1918-1940
  10. From Total War to Cold War, 1940-1952
  11. The Rise and Fall of the Cold War Consensus, 1952-1980
  12. From Cold War to the War on Terror, 1980 to the Present
  13. AP Review

Student Assessment

Unit Exams: 30%

Each unit will be assessed with an exam on the chapters covered in that unit. The exact structure of each exam will vary, but there will be multiple choice sections and writing sections on each exam. As we progress in the course, the writing sections will grow from short answer questions to full-length AP free response essays and Document Based Questions.

Writing Assignments and Projects: 30%

Each unit will have various in-class and at-home writing assignments. Think pieces written on primary source documents are graded in this category, as well as the spring research paper. Additionally, in each unit there are required blog posts which are graded as part of the writing assignemnts.

Homework & Quizzes: 30%

Students are required to take notes on assigned readings, which will be compiled in the reading notes section of their notebook/binder, and there will be vocabulary lists which must be compiled on Quizlet.com.

          There will be periodic reading quizzes on the reading assignments. These are brief quizzes given at the start of class, and are meant to ensure that students keep pace with their reading assignments and that they are comprehending the material presented in the texts. There will be on average three quizzes per unit. Some units may have more or fewer quizzes based on the breadth of reading for that unit.

Participation: 10%

These grades are based on student engagement in class discussion and activities, as well as student note taking and class attentiveness. They are assigned weekly, and students are encouraged to speak with me to discuss their participation grades. A student who is merely present in class but does not take notes or speak during class discussion will receive no higher than a 70 for their participation grade.

Attendance and Make-Up Policy: Attendance is imperative for success in this class. The student is responsible for making up all work missed during his or her excused absence. Tests can be made up before or after school up to one week after the initial exam date. If a student arrives late to class unexcused and misses a reading quiz, no make-up quiz is offered, and the quiz grade is recorded as a zero. If a student misses a reading quiz due to an excused absence, the student can take a make-up reading quiz.  If a student misses more than one reading quiz due to an excused absence, alternate arrangements will be made. Quizzes and tests missed due to unexcused absences cannot be made up.

Help Sessions: Students are encouraged to bring questions or thoughts on readings, assignments, study habits, tips, etc., to help period, Monday to Friday, 2:50-3:20 PM.

AP Resources: There are numerous resources to help students prepare for the Advanced Placement exam. Most of the well-known prep guides are of equal quality, and can be chosen based on personal preference. I specifically recommend Five Steps to a 5 AP US History: 2014 Edition, published by McGraw Hill. Whether you choose to use outside resources or not, putting in exam practice time outside of class and class assignments will be critical to achieving a high score on the AP exam.

Recommendation to Sit the AP Exam:  The course is structured to prepare the student for the AP exam in May 2014 and assess the student’s progress in that preparation. Each test and writing assignment is graded on an AP scale and according to an AP rubric; grades on tests and written assignments thus give students accurate feedback as to what score they might expect to receive were they to sit the AP exam. The midterm exam will be an AP diagnostic exam, and in the two weeks prior to spring break, students will again take an AP diagnostic exam. Based on the student’s grade in the course, their performance on the two diagnostic exams, and their overall level of general preparation, the student and the student’s parents/guardians will receive a recommendation in writing prior to spring break as to whether or not the student should sit the exam in May. Students whose work and performance on diagnostic tests indicates that they can earn a “3” or higher on the AP exam will receive recommendations to take the exam. It is strongly discouraged that a student sit the exam against the instructor’s recommendation; in the past, these students have not met with exam success, and received failing scores on their AP report.

Technology Use: Students should keep hand-written notes of information presented in class and taken from their readings. Laptops, iPads, tablets, etc., will only be allowed to be used during specific sections of class, for example, if internet usage is required for a specific research question or assignment. Students should have access to their computers, but they will be permitted to use them only when notified by the instructor. Electronic note-taking will not be permitted unless there is a medical requirement. If a student receives permission to take notes electronically, those notes must be presented to the teacher at the end of each class to demonstrate that the student remained on-task.

Work Load: This is a reading and writing-intensive course. Staying up-to-date with assignments, and in some cases reading ahead in order to keep the work load at a manageable level, is imperative. At the start of each unit, students receive a unit assignment sheet listing all their reading assignments and due-dates for other out-of- class assignments. Students are thus given much advance notice on the coming work load for each unit. Students who would like tips on study habits, or advice on how to improve their reading comprehension skills should speak with the instructor early on in the course to ensure that they can not only manage their work load, but succeed in the course.

Late Work Policy: Timeliness in the completion of one’s work is an important skill for both academic and real-world purposes. As such, this class will follow a very strict late work policy, as follows:

All assignments are expected be submitted on time unless with prior permission from the instructor.

Students must schedule a face to face meeting for the instructor to consider their desire to turn in an assignment after the due date. Permission rests solely with the instructor.

If an emergency occurs, contact the instructor ASAP to arrange a later due date. Emergencies must be dire and life threatening.

Honor and Plagiarism: As Miller students you are all expected to uphold the Honor Code. Additionally, every assignment should contain the Honor Pledge, which is as follows:

I have neither given nor received any unauthorized aid on this assignment,

nor am I aware of any violation of the Honor Code by any other student.

Work that has not been pledged will not be accepted.

Plagiarism is when you use another person’s ideas, words, thoughts, or language and present them as your own. To quote from the MSA Writing Manual: “Intentional plagiarism is plagiarism done deliberately, with the intent to deceive.

  • Buying a paper off the Internet
  • Having a friend write your paper/do your homework for you or copying a friend’s work
  • Using a paper or assignment written by a previous student
  • Copying/pasting information or direct quotations from any Internet source of printed source without citing it
  • Taking ideas from a source without giving it credit”

Some concrete examples of plagiarism:

  • Copying from a Wikipedia page or other Internet page without citing it
  • Reading a free essay online and using its information/ideas/organization in your paper without citing it (even if you don’t directly copy the words!)
  • Copying your friend’s reading notes for your notebook
  • Copying the textbook directly to answer a question

Any of the above actions are examples of intentional plagiarism and will result in an immediate honor referral and disciplinary review by the Honor Board.

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