United States History & Geography Mr. Shears
Course Expectations Oak Ridge High School
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child."
"He to whom the present is the only thing that is present knows nothing of
the age in which he lives." -Oscar Wilde
"Everything is the sum of its past and nothing is comprehensible except
through its history." -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In this class students will examine major turning points in American history in the twentieth century. During the year certain themes will be emphasized: the debate about the role of the federal government, the emergence of a modern industrial economy, the impact of technology on American society and culture, the movements toward equal rights for racial minorities and women, and the role of the United States as a major world power. Activities and lessons will center on a few key questions that relate to these themes, such as: To what extent has America lived up to its promise of “equality and justice for all?” To what extent has America promoted democracy and justice in its foreign affairs?
* The Americans
* Current Events Materials (student will be responsible for access to any current news publication: Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News, Time, Newsweek, etc.)
* three-ring binder/notebook
* pencil or pen
Grades and Class Requirements
Students will earn grades based on their performance of a variety of academic tasks. Grading components are as follows: (% weights are approximate)
Tests/Quizzes (30%): Test and quizzes will be given on a regular basis. Written “essay” tests will be the most common form of assessment. Most of the time, tests and quizzes will be announced well in advance, but don’t rule out the occasional “pop quiz.”
Homework/Writing Assignments (15%): Expect one or two written assignments per week, usually based on some reading from the textbook or other source. Your consistent effort here will have a big impact on your grade!
Projects/In-Class Activities (25%): You will be involved in a number of short- and long-term, individual and cooperative projects throughout the year. More details on these later!
Participation/Contribution (10%): Your ability to participate and contribute in a positive way to the various classroom activities will be graded. See below for more details about what is expected.
Final Exams/Exhibitions (20%): You should expect summary evaluations in the form of “exhibitions” (projects) and/or traditional final exams.
About Late Assignments and “Make-ups”
Student are expected to complete all assignments on time, and I reserve the right NOT to grade unexcused late work. In the event of an excused absence on the scheduled test day, you will have 5 school days to make-up the exam. It is your responsibility to check with the teacher and reschedule the test outside of regular class time.
More About Participation & Contribution Grade
In this class, you will be actively involved in a variety of group activities, class- and small-group discussions, simulations, games, and many other participatory endeavors. To accomplish our goals, we will all need to recognize the value of teamwork, cooperation, and respect.
There are certain standards of behavior that we all need to adhere to in order to make sure that all can succeed. It all comes down to these three basic things:
1. Everyone, including the teacher, will be treated with respect.
2. No purposefully hurtful comments or actions will be tolerated.
3. No one will be allowed to disrupt the learning process of others.
Violation of these general rules indicates that the individual is not participating and contributing in a positive way, and appropriate sanctions (i.e. loss of participation points) will be enforced.
Other Nuts-N-Bolts stuff
*Snacks: Please, finish your food & drinks before you come into the classroom. Gum is O.K. in class.
*Bathroom passes: will be issued at my discretion. (Please take care of it during breaks)
*Tardy policy: excessive tardies (over 3 per grading period) may result in the following:
*deduction of Participation & Contribution points.
*not being allowed to be involved in “Starter” activity
*parent notification and conference
NOTE: Being late back from break will be counted as a tardy.
* “Off-limit” areas: Generally, you have the run of the classroom, except for my “space”: My desk, filing cabinets, computer equipment and podium are "off-limits" unless otherwise noted.
*X-Credit Options: There will be very little opportunity for extra credit. Students are expected to complete assigned work and not rely on extra credit.
*Dismissal: Mr. Shears (not a bell) will dismiss the class at the appropriate time. The room must be clean and orderly for my dismissal.
Some Thoughts for the New Year:
*Learning how to ask the significant questions is as important as giving the “right” answers. (Maybe more important!). Sometimes we have to question the answers as well as answer the questions.
*Successful learning depends in large part on the attitude you bring to the classroom. A spirit of enthusiasm, curiosity, and humility will take you far in this class. Are you open to learning?
*Schools have trained us over the years to think of education as “earning points” and “doing the work.” In this class, we will try to focus on the Quality of our thinking and effort, and not so much on the Quantity of things we do.
*We all have the right to learn; we also have the responsibility to not let anything get in the way of learning. Let’s work together at holding each other accountable. Don’t let anyone cheat you out of an education.
*Taking risks is essential for personal growth. Maybe you’ve settled into a rut and are not expecting much out of yourself. Decide to push yourself this semester! It’s amazing what might happen.
*Each day is a “clean slate;” an empty canvas for us to paint on. Seize the Day. I will always be expecting the best out of you, no matter what happened yesterday.