Humanities History 2016-17
This course examines the American experience from 1776 to the present with an emphasis on sharpening skills essential to the study and transmission of history through investigation, discussion, and written reflection on primary sources.
In addition, we will pause regularly to reflect on how historians might approach the four essential Humanities questions:
After successfully completing this course students should be able to:
Learning in this course structured to follow Bloom’s Taxonomy (outside link) in the path toward developing higher-level thinking within a historical context. While we will speak often about “skills,” it is also important to remember that even in the age of near-instant reference resources, a certain command of “content” is still essential for rigorous application of historical tools. This course is designed to equip you with the basic knowledge needed to frame your understanding and ask good questions for further research.
On a day-to-day basis, much of our time will be dedicated to discussion of assigned texts, supplemented by interactive activities to practice notetaking, analysis, research, and other skills. At the end of each unit, you will be assessed through essays, projects, debates, or other larger assignments designed to track your comprehension and progress toward our course goals.
Coursework will represent approximately 80% of your grade per marking period, though this segment is broken up into a variety of assessment areas, including:
A full schedule of topics and assignments is posted on the Schedule page and will continue to be updated throughout the semester.
Participation is assessed both indirectly through coursework (and is therefore represented in the student’s other grades) and directly at the end of each marking period. Direct assessment of participation will count for 20% of a student's grade per marking period and will be judged according to whether or not students achieve the following:
Basic expectations (these will earn you a “C”):
Standards of excellent participation (exhibiting these behaviors consistently will earn you an “A”):
Extra help and communication
Our time together is designed to be challenging. There may be times when you would like further clarification, need additional support, or are just generally feeling overloaded as you work to balance competing demands on your time. Please know that communicating any of these will be viewed on my part as a sign of intellectual and emotional maturity, not as a sign of falling short.
How do I ask good questions? The best questions are processed-based help (improvement in skills and understanding) and not reward-based help (How do I get an A?). You might ask these questions in relation to a historical concept, a specific skill, or performance on a graded assignment or assessment.
Can we meet? Of course! The preferred method for finding a time to meet is to send me an appointment request using Google Calendar, which I work to keep up to date. (Click here to see how to do that). Alternatively, you can send me an email with your complete availability for the day(s) that you wish to meet. In you general, you should expect at least a 24-hour response time for emails sent during the week and longer on the weekends. I am often available for drop-in help during the school day in my office, MB304.
Further Course Policies and Comments
Academic honesty. Academic integrity is vital to the pursuit of knowledge. This class fully complies with the Humanities Program Statement on Academic Integrity. You are expected to submit their own work based on factual and clearly identified sources or data. You should understand that tests, papers, projects, and other types of assessment are designed primarily to track your progress toward our learning goals. Therefore, it is essential that you rely on your own efforts and do your best to ensure the integrity of all assessments. Any instance of academic dishonesty will be treated as a serious offense.
Citations. As historians, we will make extensive use of primary and secondary sources. Please be careful to always give credit to your sources. All written work should make consistent use of the Chicago Manual of Style systems of citation and should include a Works Cited page. For support, you can consult the helpful links provided by the Library, speak with a librarian, seek support from Study Skills, or ask me.
30-minute rule. Unless otherwise stated, routine homework for this class should not take more than 30 minutes. If you find that the time spent on your homework has exceeded 30 minutes, please send an email to Mr. Hall indicating that you have not completed the assignment and you will not be penalized for incomplete work. (Note: the policy for longer-term papers and projects is below under "late work").
Late work. Unless stated otherwise, late work may be submitted at a penalty of one-third a letter grade per school day. This means a paper submitted three days late would have dropped from a B+ to a C+. If you are finding yourself under pressure, please talk to me as early as possible. Open, honest communication is always valued, and I will do my best to help find a fair solution.
Technology. Computers, tablet devices, ebook readers, and even mobile phones are all welcome additions to our classroom. Indeed, for many of our lessons, your computer will be an important tool in the learning experience. Nonetheless, distracting or disruptive behavior makes it difficult to learn, both for yourself and for your classmates. As a courtesy to students around you, all sound notifications (especially on phones) should be muted. The teacher reserves the right to modify this policy for individuals or the class as a whole as needed.
Text for Purchase
Our course will make use of a range of readings from the Edsel Ford Library, though we will rely especially on our course reader and textbook, the latter of which is:
History in the News