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. As an experienced trainer of APUSH graders, I can effectively equip students to approach the test confidently. As a certified teacher who has earned a Masters in history, I can effectively equip students to understand the historical narrative and interpret historical texts. 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.
This course is approved by the College Board, which means that a student who successfully completes the course can report this class as official AP-level credit.
Live sessions will focus on practicing higher-level historical skills and test-taking techniques.
Students will read primary and secondary source material, watch videos, listen to audio, and participate in discussions. They will have access to dozens of my audio-visual presentations, which include both improving thinking, reading, and writing skills and covering the content of American history from its pre-colonial roots to recent times. They will learn how to write historical essays like the ones required by the AP exam, not only by writing their own, but by critiquing actual former AP exam submissions for strengths and weaknesses. They will learn how to notice on-going themes in American history. They will engage in threaded discussions with one another, considering questions like “What is the purpose of government?” and “What is the best way to try to improve society?” to collaborating on the best approaches to AP-like questions. In addition, I have created several instructional presentations focused specifically on how to approach different elements of the AP exam, as well as several assignments that will help students practice their test-taking skills.
Who should enroll?
This course requires significant ability to synthesize a lot of material as well as interpret and make arguments about challenging historical texts. 11th and 12th graders have had the most success, although I have had several 10th graders enjoy and complete the course successfully. Former instruction and practice interpreting texts and making text-based arguments (such as in an English literature class), will help an APUSH student significantly.
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 detailed, written feedback on the sorts of assignments where such feedback would be helpful to them and where we are not having a live class to cover those assignments. Sometimes I provide written feedback; at other times I provide video feedback.
Parents and students are encouraged to contact me through the Canvas messaging system. Generally speaking, I respond within one business day.
Spencer J. (former AP student) –
I had Mrs. Hawkins for an online AP US History class. I hoped to learn a lot about the history of America, and Mrs. Hawkins did not disappoint. I felt completely confident when I went to take the AP exam, thanks to her instruction. The class was a lot of work, more than I ever thought that I could do. I gained new confidence with each assignment I completed and, by the end, the assignments that were so daunting in the beginning became effortless. While I could tell that others taking the AP test around me were frightened by the essay section, I actually looked forward to it. Mrs. Hawkins assignments, and excellent feedback, allowed me to be unperturbed by a task that most students equated with torture. Mrs. Hawkins didn’t just prepare her students for the AP test; she also refined student’s skills in areas other than history. I could feel that my writing improved over the duration of the course, and I could complete assignments from other classes much more easily and successfully. Mrs. Hawkins is very knowledgeable about history, and can effectively teach the material to students in a way that builds their skills, knowledge, and confidence. In my opinion, that is what makes a great teacher. I highly recommend both Mrs. Hawkins and her AP US History course.