This course will cover the development of American history from its pre-colonial roots through recent developments. It will prepare students to take the AP US History exam in May. However, my goals for this course are more comprehensive than getting students ready to take the formal exam. I also hope to inspire and increase students’ love and appreciation for history, expand students’ capacity to think creatively and flexibly about critical issues, and communicate powerfully and compellingly.
Students will read primary and secondary source material, watch videos, listen to audio, and participate in discussions. They will have access to my college-level audio-visual presentations, which include both improving thinking, reading, and writing skills and covering the content of American history from origins into the 20th century. In addition, each student will learn to approach the various components of the AP exam. I offer prompt feedback to the students’ various assignments throughout the course.
Who should enroll?
Students should be in at least 10th grade. They should also have already had experience analyzing documents, whether those documents are historical or literary. Please note that students who have only worked on “research papers” really have not practiced the skills that will set them up for success in this course. Given the demanding work load, only hard-working students should apply for this course.
An application is required, including responding to a brief historical analysis assignment and the submission of a writing sample that shows the ability to make an extended argument that relies on evidence. (An English paper on a piece of literature often serves this purpose well.)
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
Students receive weekly feedback on writing assignments. Although this is not a course that focuses on improving composition, students receive ample instruction and feedback on the quality of their communication of historical thought and use of evidence. They are guided on the proper practices of creating a contextualization for the historical topic they need to address, the construction of proper thesis statements, and the use of ample historical evidence to effectively support an extended argument. Parents can access the Canvas website at any time to view student progress and for any communication with the teacher.
A student must apply for this course before enrolling. Once enrolled, accounts are created for both student and parent(s) in the online Canvas course. All communication goes through the Canvas learning management system.