Modern U.S. History Syllabus

Instructor: Mr. Martin


Required Texts

  1. HistoryAlive! Pursuing American Ideals  (textbook)

The Modern U.S. History course is designed to provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. history. The course prepares students for college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses. Students should learn to assess historical materials—their relevance to a given interpretive problem, reliability, and importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. A U.S. History course should thus develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format. Themes will include diversity, identify, culture, demographic changes, economic transformations, globalization, environment, politics and citizenship, reform, religion, slavery and its legacies.

Reading Standards

R1.1 Student comprehends the meaning of words and sentences.

R1.2 Student comprehends elements of literary texts.

R1.3 Student comprehends organizational patterns, textual features, graphical representations, and ideas in informational and literary texts.

R2.1 Student uses prior knowledge to comprehend and elaborate the meaning of texts.

R2.2 Student uses context to comprehend and elaborate the meaning of texts.

R2.3 Student uses knowledge of the evolution, diversity, and effects of language to comprehend and elaborate the meaning of texts.

R3.1 Student rhetorically analyzes author’s purpose, intended audience, and goals.

R3.2 Student interprets, analyzes, and critiques author’s use of literary and rhetorical devices, language, and style.

R4.1 Student uses strategies to prepare to read.

R4.2 Student uses strategies to interpret the meaning of words, sentences, and ideas in texts.

R4.3 Student uses strategies to go beyond the text.

R4.4 Student uses strategies to organize, restructure, and synthesize text content.

R4.5 Student monitors comprehension and reading strategies throughout the reading process.

Writing Standards

W1.1 Student analyzes components of purpose, goals, audience, and genre.

W2.1 Student takes inventory of what he or she knows and needs to know.

W2.2 Student generates, selects, connects, and organizes information and ideas.

W3.1 Student generates text to develop points within the preliminary organizational structure.

W3.2 Student makes stylistic choices with language to achieve intended effects.

W4.1 Student evaluates drafted text for development, organization, and focus.

W4.2 Student evaluates drafted text to determine the effectiveness of stylistic choices.

W5.1 Student edits for conventions of standard written English and usage.

W5.2 Student employs proofreading strategies to correct errors in spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

W5.3 Student edits for accuracy of citation and proper use of publishing guidelines.

W5.4 Student prepares text for presentation/publication.

Speaking Standards

S1.1 Student understands the transactional nature of the communication process.

S2.1 Student communicates in one-to-one contexts.

S2.2 Student plans for and participates in group discussion.

S3.1 Student analyzes purpose, audience, and context when planning a presentation or performance.

S3.2 Student gathers and organizes content to achieve purposes for a presentation or performance.

S3.3 Student rehearses and revises.

S3.4 Student presents, monitors audience engagement, and adapts delivery.

Listening Standards

L1.1 Student understands the transactional nature of the communication process.

L2.1 Student manages barriers to listening.

L3.1 Student listens to comprehend.

L3.2 Student listens to evaluate.

L3.3 Student listens empathically.


  1. The teacher will publish unit schedules that identify the class focus, assignments and instruction.

  1. Students will be prepared for and participate in classroom discussions and activities.

  1. Students will be on-time and teachers will begin on time.

  1. Students will practice three-before-me; i.e., the history classes this year are large, and it will not be possible for teachers to be the “first responders” to any and all questions; therefore, before approaching a teacher with a question, re-read whatever written directions you have been given; second, ask a friend in class for an answer to your question; if your question is still not answered, ask a classmate who knows more than your friend; finally, if you still have a question, find where Mr. Martin is watching movie trailers on YouTube  doing online research and ask your question.

    1. Before answering your question, your teacher may ask you if you have followed the three-before-me protocol.  If Mr. Martin asks that question, it is not just to give you a hard time (though that may be the primary reason):  it is also to remind you of the existence of that expectation.

  1. Your teacher will be available a half hour before and after school:  if you have any questions or concerns, talk to me during that time or contact us via email.  

  1.  During large-group discussions, only one voice can be heard at a time—side conversations are rude and obnoxious and will not be tolerated.  Neither will disrespect expressed with exchanged looks, rolled eyes, etc.

  1.  Work to the dismissal bell:  do not socialize or rise from your seat until that bell rings.

  1.  This course publishes and adheres to a schedule.  You are always responsible for coming to class with the scheduled work completed and ready to participate, regardless of prior absences.

  1.  In the case of an absence, make-up work is due the class day following your return to class.


  1.  Unless you are absent, credit will not be given for late work on individual preparation work.  That is, you will not be able to go back and hand in make-up work whenever you (or your parents) check Campus and become alarmed at your grade.  Simply do the daily work on time.

  1. Late work will not be accepted for full credit.  Instead, you may receive up to 90% of the original points if you turn the work within a week of  the due date. Submissions after that date will receive up to 70% of the original points. Late assignments WILL NOT be accepted for points if it is submitted after the six week grading period in which it was assigned.

  1. A student absent on the due date for a long-term group assessment will share the grade earned by the group if the student demonstrates that s/he made all arrangements necessary to allow the group to submit the work on the due date.

    1. Absent students who do not make all necessary arrangements will earn no more than 59%.

    2. The absence of a student(s) will NOT delay a group’s submission:  if one member of the group is present, the submission is still due


  1. Cheating (including plagiarism) will result in the loss of credit for the affected assignment; subsequent violations will result in loss of credit for the semester.  In addition, cheating will automatically constitute a disciplinary referral to administration and contact with a parent/guardian. (See the LHS handbook for school policy.)

  1. Finally, just so you know, to succeed in this class all you have to do is pay attention, do your work on time, collaborate effectively, and study for the assessments.GRADING SCALE:  

90% to 100% = A = Excellent achievement

80% to 89.9% =   B = Good achievement

70% to 79.9% = C = Satisfactory achievement

60% to 69.9% = D = Minimally acceptable achievement

F= Fail

I = Incomplete

NG= No grade

P = Pass


Continuous grading will be used, and grades--excluding the final exam--will be distributed as follows:

  • Summative Assessments (multiple-choice, essays, projects, and presentations)

  • Formative Assessments (quizzes, practice tests, daily activities, etc.)

Support & Remediation Opportunities:

All students will be challenged at an appropriate level.  

  • Those students, who, following the formative and summative assessments, have not mastered the knowledge and skills for a given unit, will be given more extensive instruction and reinforcement as well as the opportunity to retake the relevant assessments.

  • Retaking a multiple-choice summative will involve meta-cognitive activities (e.g., analyze why you chose an incorrect answer; why the correct answer is more appropriate; and why the other incorrect answers do not work as well.

  • Retaking the written portion of a summative exam will involve a face to face conference and a rewriting of the exam.



Buy a note book or binder to be used exclusively for U.S. History:  these can be kept in the classroom.

  • The binder can be one, one and a half, or two inches.

  • Your name, section, and the word “MUSH” must be clearly visible on the cover of binder and, in addition, on the binding of the binder.     

  • Place this syllabus as the first item in your binder; then, arrange the rest of the materials for this course chronologically; i.e., the first item in the binder should be the Day 0 materials from Unit One, followed by the Day 1 materials from Unit One appearing next, etc.  Create a second tab for Unit Two, for Unit Three, and so on.

  • This Syllabus should be first thing in your binder.  Every unit section should begin with the schedule followed by the daily activities.

Make-up Procedures

Please do not be that person who hangs out in the hallway for twenty minutes before school and then, thirty seconds before class begins, asks for information regarding make-up work from a three-day absence.  In other words, everything you need to know about making up work due to an absence is detailed below in excruciating detail. If you have questions, begin by reading this page. If you still have questions, ask a classmate.  If you still have questions, ask a more helpful classmate. If, you still have questions, email me or appear during office hours in the Social Sciences office (D202).  

It is wildly inappropriate to approach a teacher who is moments away from beginning a class of 35 students with a question that requires a five-minute answer and that could have been addressed before class via email or f2f during office hours.  

As stated in the LHS handbook, you are allowed one class day for every day you are absent for completion of make-up work; i.e., if you are absent on a Monday and return on a Wednesday, your make-up work is due Friday.  If you are absent on a Monday and Wednesday and return on Friday, your makeup work is due Tuesday the following week.

Finally, this is a challenging course, and Mr. Martin will not seek you out on the due date of assignments.  If you do not (without being asked) turn in work by the deadline, I will not remind, yell at, or beg you; instead, I will note your failure sadly and without comment; then, I will deduct points from your grade that cannot, under any circumstances, be recovered.

FINALLY, finally, if certain circumstances make timely submission of work impossible, please send an email BEFORE 10 P.M. the night preceding the due date.  If you are unable to send an email, ask a friend or family member to do that for you. The message may be one sentence long summarizing the explanation for your failure to complete the make-up work.  

  • Bear in mind that by “certain circumstances” I do not mean exhaustion after a long band practice, a double shift at your job, or a broken computer.  Those are all pressures to be dealt with and problems to be solved.

I will be remarkably reasonable if you contact me BEFORE the due date, but I will hold to the above guidelines if you submit an excuse rather than work ON or after the due date.

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