• 11th Grade C.P. US History Syllabus

    Mr. Brennan

    Teacher Contact Info:

    Mr. Timothy C. Brennan

    Email: tcb21@scasd.org

    Phone: 814-272-4697


    Course Title:  United States History 1870 - Present


    Textbook:  America’s History

    Author:  Henretta, James A. America's History. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2004. Print.

    SCASD Library Research site:  http://www.scasd.org/research

    The 11th grade College Prep United States History course covers the time period from Industrialization to present-day events. The focus will be on the American experience in the late 19th and 20th centuries with a strong emphasis on social and political history. Throughout the year, the common theme will examine the “THE AMERICAN DREAM” by various people in America.  American freedom has been both a living truth for millions of Americans and a cruel mockery for those of a different race, gender, or economic status. Students will explore the meaning of freedom, the social conditions that make freedom possible, and the boundaries of freedom to determine who is entitled to enjoy the American Dream and who is not. 

    This is a problem solving and project-based class.  Instruction will include vocabulary development, critical thinking activities, debates, cooperative learning, primary and secondary source readings, lectures, and research projects.  Selected videos will be used to enhance instruction of major topics.  Current events will be discussed throughout the year. There will be plenty of writing, discussing, debating, creating, collaborating, role-playing, and simulating. Together we will investigate American history and use our findings to help explore and develop solutions to the major issues facing our society today. Confusion is the perfect starting point for learning!


    Overarching questions for the course will be:


    • How do America’s diverse cultures and interests impact the nation’s historical development?


    Daily Goal: The ability to read, write, and think critically.


    Instructional Approach:

    This course will be conducted following a constructivist philosophy of education, which utilizes a variety of approaches for student participation and collaboration through group activities.  Lectures will be minimized in this course to facilitate the active learning of class members through inquiry.  Through extensive reading, we will develop the confidence, skills, and stamina to do the ongoing problem solving that the study of history requires.  The goal is to allow students the responsibility for generating questions that drive classroom learning.  The time invested initially in teaching problem-solving strategies is time that does not necessarily displace content coverage over the long haul.  I’m not teaching just a subject matter, but a process for learning.

    Seven Critical Skills:

    1. Critical thinking and problem solving
    2. Collaboration
    3. Adaptability
    4. Initiative
    5. Accessing and analyzing information
    6. Effective oral and written communication
    7. Curiosity and imagination

    Cooperative Learning:

    Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject.  Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement.  Research has shown that business owners want students who can address complex problems, work as a team and find creative solutions.  Together we will create our classroom into a collaborative, inquiry-oriented learning environment that intellectually engages, challenges, and supports each other.

    There will be group evaluations periodically! (This will count towards your class participation grade) Any issues within your group must be communicated to the teacher immediately!


    Student support groups:

    Throughout the school year, we will be working in collaborating groups on many assignments.  Being an active member of these groups will be one of your major responsibilities in this class.  There are very few jobs in life that do not require the act of working with others to achieve a goal or outcome.  Whether it is working on vocabulary or as a partner on a project you must follow the following rules:

    1. You are responsible for your own work.
    2. Ask support buddy/partner if you have a question.
    3. If you are asked for help-you must help.
    4. You may ask for help from the teacher when the group agrees on the question.
    5. Gain from each other’s efforts.
    6. Recognize that all group members share a common fate.

    Our class routine will be for each person to read the directions, clarify them with a partner, and then ask the class for help if you still do not understand.

    Our class is a community and how well that community works depends on all of us working together.  Your willingness to take ownership of your learning and be a positive part of the class will determine the quality of your classroom experience.  We can have a great year, but it’s up to you to own it and make it a reality.

    We learn or retain Information: 

    10% of what we READ

    20% of what we HEAR

    30% of what we SEE

    50% of what we SEE and HEAR

    70% of what is DISCUSSED WITH OTHERS

    80% of what we EXPERIENCE PERSONALLY

    90% of what we TEACH someone

    Grading Procedures: 

    1. Tests – Both objective and essay type questions will be used. If you are absent on the day of the test, you will be expected to take the test on your first day back to school.
    2. Homework – The homework will consist of reading assignments, guided reading questions, Internet assignments, written assignments, vocabulary forums, and presidential charts.
    3. Notebooks – Students should keep a notebook on material covered in lectures, movies, handouts, etc. Some material will not be found in the textbook.  Good note-taking and organization are necessary skills to be successful in this class.
    4. Research Projects:


    1. Presidential March Madness: You will be assigned an American President and will try to prove that he has made the most significant impact on shaping present-day America.  Through your research, you will complete a President chart highlighting the major accomplishments of their time in office.  Using your research, you will write a position paper (3-5 typed pages double-spaced) that will tell the story of the life of this historical figure and the events that shaped his legacy.  You will then become this historical figure for your presentation. Each choice will then be paired off in the bracket system.  You will research your President’s accomplishments and then defend your choice in front of the class (claim, data, warrant outline).  Afterward, the class will vote on who made the best argument and the winners will move on to the next round, eventually narrowing the field to one champion!   Like a good coach draws up a new game plan for each opponent, so too must you innovate and dive deeper into your research.  

     2. Family Heritage: Understanding our heritage can help us become more aware of our own roots, and our cultural and social identity.  Our own identities have distinguished us by our personal profile, that is, the genetic and physical characteristics that we inherit from our parents and ancestors.  That personal identity (who am I?) then leads to “Who are we” - such as an ethnic group, the nation, or the faith of which we are members.  You will research where your family comes from and how that impacts your view of immigration.

    3. Superfight: A game of absurd arguments. The players argue and plead their cases about why their fighters would win the fight. Once the arguing is done, the table votes for a winner. We will be using the vocabulary cards for this activity.

    4. Participation/Effort – Each day I will take attendance, expect you to be on time for class, and check to see if you have participated in the classroom discussion.  Asking or answering questions based on the topic of discussion for the day can earn one point per day.  These points are averaged into your nine weeks and will constitute approximately 8% of your grade. (45 points per marking period)

    5. Current Event- Each student will be responsible for presenting a current event to the class each marking period; four times throughout the year.  This includes a copy of the article, can be hard copy or web link, an 8-10 sentence summary/opinion of the article, and a verbal presentation to the class. Current Event Article Summary can be found on the class website

    6. Six Degrees of Separation: Students will be provided with two events spanning decades, but related by their theme. They will select six events in chronological order that link the first event in the series with the last. Students will write the name of each selected event, and use their research and knowledge of the time period to describe and emphasize the ways in which the events are connected and demonstrate continuity and change over time.

    7. Chronological Reasoning: Students are provided with ten events, in no particular chronological order, which they will then place in order, naming the decade in which each occurred. Students will complete the exercise by providing the following:

    • Identify the period in which these occur;
    • Identify continuity and change over time exemplified by the selections;
    • Identify the theme(s) under which these issues and developments might be categorized.


    8. Metacognitive Log (google doc): Metacognitive logs are a place for students to think and write about their own reading process with extended reading assignments such as textbooks. The logs are a place for students to document information found in the text as they read.  This information can be important ideas and information in the text (VIP’s), significant terms, as well as their thoughts, feelings, and questions about the information they have read. 

    Textbook Reading:  You will (receive a red packet,) which includes outlines for all of the chapters in the textbook.  As you read each chapter of the textbook, you will complete the chapter outline included in this packet. You may also include any questions or topics you do not understand from reading the text.  We will devote the first 20 minutes of class to this silent sustained reading activity.

    Team-Based Learning Lab:  A collaborative writing assignment to build a high-quality informational page on a specified topic. This will allow participants to work together to author content. Participants will work together on these pages using their own metacognitive log to add to and edit the content in order to connect the content to one of the historical themes. Elements of these themes are included in most units of study. These pages will be counted for 10% of your mid-term and final exams.

     Themes in American History:

    1. American and National Identity
    2. Politics and Power 
    3. Work, Exchange, and Technology  
    4. Culture and Society
    5. Migration and Settlement
    6. Geography and the Environment
    7. America in the World

    Vocabulary Cards: To demonstrate knowledge in a field, one must be able to use the vocabulary of that field. But your textbook introduces vocabulary a little at a time and then does not review it. Consequently, you may learn the vocabulary for an exam and never study it again. To learn and retain, it is more effective to study frequently in short bursts than to study just once for a long time. When it comes to learning vocabulary, one of the easiest and most efficient ways is with vocabulary cards. This assignment requires you to create your own set of vocabulary cards. In fact, just creating the cards will help you begin to remember the words. Do your best. We will be repeating this assignment frequently during the year.

    WHITE CARDS= People

    GRAY CARDS= Attributes

    BLUE CARDS= Places/Events

    9. Grade Calculation – All work assigned in my class, is evaluated by points earned out of points possible.      

    • 90%+
    • 80% - 89%
    • 70% - 79%
    • 60 – 69%
    • 59% and below

     Class Writing Standards:

    1. All work is to be typed or in blue or black ink (12pt font Times New Roman).
    2. Work should be submitted on white paper.
    3. All research should include resources cited using MLA writing standards.

    Mid-term Exam: (Units 1-3)

    The mid-term exam will include the information covered during the first semester of the course. Team-based learning lab assignments will count for 10% of the exam.  Your primary study tool will be your vocabulary assignments and chapter outlines throughout the year.

    Final Exam:  (Units 4-6)

    All students will be required to take a final exam at the end of the school year. The final exam will include the information covered during the second semester of the course. Team-based learning lab assignments will count as 10% of the final exam. Your primary study tool will be your vocabulary assignments and chapter outlines throughout the year. 

     Classroom Policies:

    1. Students must be in the classroom when the bell rings. Three times tardy to class will result in two-hour detention after school.

    2. No trips to the cafeteria during class.

    3. The bathroom procedures are in place for the safety of students. Should you need more allowances, please speak with individual teachers, administration, or counselors.

    • We discourage trips during class/instructional periods, but if you find it necessary to use the restroom, please try to minimize your time away from class and return as quickly as possible.
    • 1 student may leave the room at a time
    • Students must sign out on the yellow sheet, sign back in, and take the pass.
    • Students should use the closest appropriate bathroom to their assigned classroom.

    4. Students must be respectful to others at all times.

    5. Ask only appropriate questions that relate to our discussion or lesson.

    6. A Word of Advice: Keep up with your reading assignments.  Do not hesitate to see me if you have a question relating to your grade or studies.

    7. If you have a question, suggestion, or problem, please bring it to me in an appropriate, respectful, and mature manner.

    Student Make-Up Work Procedure

    Excused Absences:

    In the event that a student is absent from class for an excused absence, the student

    will make arrangements to submit his/her work, take a test/quiz, and get assignments that were missed.

    • It is the student’s responsibility to check teacher websites and/or contact the teacher for work. Students are expected to make up all work missed within a time period not to exceed the total number of days absent from that specific class unless other arrangements have been made with the instructor. Students who only missed class on the day of the assessment (test/quiz) should plan to take the assessment upon returning to class unless other arrangements have been made with the teacher.  Thereafter, a 10% deduction may be taken for each class meeting day the assignment/assessment is late following the student’s absence from class.
      • Example: Student is out Monday (A), Tuesday (B), and Wednesday (A). The student will get A day work on Friday, and it will be due two classes later on Thursday. The student will get B-Day work on Thursday, and it will be due Monday.
        • Students are strongly encouraged to make up missed work and keep up with assignments while they are out.
        • Extensions may be given at the discretion of the classroom teacher.

     Unexcused Absences

    If a student cuts class and is unaccounted for in the attendance system s/he may not earn higher than half of the credit for an assignment/assessment that was given on the day of the absence.  All assignments and assessments must be turned in by the conclusion of the unit in which the assignment was given. Teachers are empowered to use their discretion and may choose to modify this procedure if doing so provides an academic benefit to the student(s).

     Late Work

    It is the expectation that all students will turn in assignments on the given due date.  Late work is an assignment not turned in by the established due date/class period.  Ten percent may be deducted for each class period that the assignment is late.  A student who turns in the assignment more than three class periods past the due date may receive no less than half of the credit that they earned on the assignment.  In order to receive credit for late work, a student must turn in any late work by the end of the scheduled unit (final summative assessment) in which the assignment was given.  Assignments not turned in by the completion of the unit will be recorded as a zero. Teachers are empowered to use their discretion and may choose to modify this procedure if doing so provides an academic benefit to the student(s).

    Definitions of Plagiarism

    Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. Intentional plagiarism occurs when a student knowingly submits someone else’s words or ideas as if they were his/her own. Unintentional plagiarism occurs when writers and researchers use the words or ideas of others but fail to quote or give credit (perhaps because they don't know how). When in doubt, students must check with a teacher or librarian.

    Examples of plagiarism may include but are not limited to:

    1) Purchasing or copying work produced by others (homework, reports, take-home exams, tests, research papers, music, art, images, etc.)
    2) Direct copying (“cutting and pasting”) of selected sections (words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs) from another source without quotation marks and/or documentation.
    3) Paraphrasing, summarizing, or otherwise rewording another’s original work that is not common knowledge without documentation.
    4) Failing to document the use of charts, graphs, diagrams, statistics, or other materials not created or compiled by the student.
    5) Working together on an independent assignment and then submitting individual copies of the assignment as one’s own individual work.

    6) Fabricating data or in any way falsifying the results of an experiment or inquiry process.

    *Cheating: includes, but is not limited to, a student copying an assignment or test and submitting it as his/her own; allowing someone to copy an assignment or test and submit it as his/her own; unauthorized use of or communicating with notes, calculators, computers, textbooks, websites, cell phones, etc. during an exam or project; telling other students what is on a test or quiz or providing specific questions or answers before or after the test.


    Consequences of Plagiarism can be found in the student handbook

    United States History
    Topics of Study

    Industrialization, Urbanization, and Immigration

    1877 – 1900

    Progressive Movement                                                

    1890 – 1920           

    World War I                                                    

    1914 – 1920

    The Roaring Twenties                                                  

    1920 - 1929

    The Great Depression                                                  

    1929 – 1933

    The New Deal                          

    1933 – 1940

    World War II                                                              

    1931 – 1945                                               

    Cold War Conflicts (Truman)                          

    1945 – 1952

    Cold War (Eisenhower)                                               

    1953 – 1960

    The New Frontier (Kennedy)                                       

    The Great Society (Johnson)                                                    

    1960 – 1968

    The Civil Rights Movement                                         

    1954 – 1970

    The Vietnam War                                                        

    1954 – 1975

    Women’s Movement/Counterculture                            

    1960 – 1975

    An Age of Limits (Nixon, Ford, Carter)                        

    1968 – 1980

    The Conservative Tide (Reagan, Bush)


Last Modified on January 13, 2021