Dr. Alba 2014-2015 School Year
Course Description: AP U.S. History covers the spectrum of American history from pre- Columbian days to the present. Using chronological and thematic approaches to the material, the course exposes students to extensive primary and secondary sources and to the interpretations of various historians. Class participation through seminar reports, discussions, debates, and role-playing activities is required; special emphasis is placed on critical reading and essay writing to help students prepare for the AP examination. The course is structured chronologically, divided into 21 units. Each unit includes one or more of the nine periods and/or key concepts outlined in the AP U.S. History curriculum framework.
Key Themes: The course is structured both chronologically and thematically. The themes include: Identity, Work, Exchange and Technology, Peopling, Politics and Power, America in the World, Environment and Geography, and Ideas, Beliefs, and Culture. Elements of these themes are included in most unit assignments.
In each unit, students will get practice developing the following content-driven skills: Crafting Historical Arguments from Historical Evidence (including Historical Argumentation and Appropriate Use of Relevant Historical Evidence), Chronological Reasoning (including Historical Causation, Patterns of Continuity and Change over Time, and Periodization), Comparison and Contextualization, and Historical Interpretation and Synthesis.
In addition, class activities and assignments will address the following academic skills: Reading for comprehension and recall, improving study skills in preparation for assessments, improving formal writing skills (addressed below), improving public speaking skills in class discussions and activities, and improving skills of map reading and interpretation.
Writing Focus: Historical work at a collegiate level requires students to write proficiently. For this reason, writing is emphasized in every unit of this course. Students receive “essential questions” to frame class discussions; these are often used as writing assignments. Assessment of essays are measured by the following: the degree to which they fully and directly answer the question, the strength of thesis statement, level and effectiveness of analysis, amount and quality of supporting evidence, and organizational quality. In addition to these standards, DBQs are graded on the basis of the degree to which a significant number of the documents have been used to support the thesis, and the amount and quality of outside information included in the response. Course Texts:
Brinkley, Alan. American History Connecting with the Past [CR1a]
Supplemental Texts: [CR1c]
Heffner, Richard D. A Documentary History of the United States, (2013)
Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States (2010 ed.) New York, New York: Harper Collins.
SoRelle, James and Madaras, Larry. Taking Sides (15th Edition) Volume 1 and Volume 2
Chang, Iris .The Chinese in America (2003) Penguin Books, USA
Loewen, James. Lies My Teacher Told Me New York, New York
Various Others Readings
UNIT 1: SETTLEMENT AND EXPANSION OF COLONIAL AMERICA [CR2]
Texts and other materials utilized: Connecting with the Past Chapters 1-3, Taking Sides Unit 1, and A People’s History of the United States, Chapters 1-3. Lies My teacher Told Me Chapter 1-4 [CR1b]
Themes: ID, WXT, PEO, POL, WOR, ENV
Major Topics: Early contacts among groups in North America, and North American societies in the context of the Atlantic World; Spanish exploration and the development of colonies in the Americas; the rise of the English as an imperial power, including the conflict with the Spanish; initial English colonial settlements, including successes and failures, and the unique attributes of each of the colonies; the evolution of