Course Description: The purpose of this course is to enable students to gain an understanding of American government and political behavior that is essential for effective citizenship and active involvement in a local, state, and national democratic American society. It is a comprehensive examination of the theory, practice, ideals and realities of government and politics in the United States. Major areas of study include political theory and behavior, political participation, the legislative process, the presidency, and the judicial process. Each of the three levels of this course (regular, AP, and Dual Enrollment) will address these concepts in a different order and in varying levels of depth and complexity.
7th: Sabato, O'Connor and Yanus: American Government: Roots and Reform, 2011 AP Edition
Class Requirements: You are expected to be prepared for class. This means that you have read the required text assignment and have your paper and pencil/pen each day. You will be required to take and keep notes from lectures and class discussions. Keep in mind quiz, tests, and exam questions will come from your text, lectures and class discussions. Late work is not acceptable without proper documentation.
Attendance is critical for success in this class. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain missed work (notes from lectures, handouts, etc.). We will review for the end of course exam prior to the exam.
Academic Integrity Policy: This class strives to provide students with the knowledge, skills, judgment, and wisdom they need to function in society as educated adults. Students who take responsibility for their learning will experience the pride that accompanies academic achievement. To falsify or fabricate the results of one’s research; to present the words, ideas, data, or work of another as one’s own; or to cheat on an examination corrupts the educational process. This impedes a student’s academic progress, and compromises the trust between teacher and student which is a fundamental part of the learning process.
Cheating & Plagiarism Policy: The following is the cheating & plagiarism policy adopted by school. Please be sure you understand the consequences for cheating or copying the work of another - from any source.
Cheating and/or plagiarism are regarded as very serious offenses. Copying or paraphrasing material/text from the work of another student, from published sources (e.g., Cliff Notes, Monarch Notes, books, magazines, newspapers, etc.) and/or from the Internet without proper documentation constitutes academic theft.
Plagiarism: "The unauthorized use of someone else's material, which is then presented as being the result of the plagiarist's own primary research, creative impulse or insight. Plagiarism technically encompasses the borrowing of ideas of others, as well as their exact words...." Laurie Henry, The Fiction Dictionary, p. 219.
The penalty for cheating or plagiarism in this class will result in a zero for the assignment and referral to the administration. If it occurs in a dual enrollment course, action will be pursued through LSSC as well. If you have any questions or concerns, please make arrangements to discuss them with me.
Absences and Makeup Policy
It is the student’s responsibility to make up any missed assignments. All assignments, quizzes and tests will be posted on the class website. Students have three days upon return to complete daily assignments and five days upon return to make up quizzes or tests. Quizzes and tests must be made up before or after school. In most cases, being absent before a test or quiz will not excuse a student from that test or quiz.
Grading Policy (1st, 3rd, 7th)
Bellringers – At the beginning of class, there will be a set of questions on the board pertaining to the readings from the night before. Each bellringer is worth 10 points. Per school policy, students who are tardy to class will receive a score of zero on the bellringer for that day.
Quizzes – At the end of each chapter, students will take a multiple choice quiz on material in that chapter. These will occur approximately every four or five class days, depending on the material and the school schedule. Each will be worth 200 points. Chapter quizzes will be mainly multiple choice with a few short free-response questions.
Tests – At the end of each unit, students will take an essay test that is cumulative for that unit. Each unit contains approximately four chapters. Each test will be worth 400 points. Unit tests will be mainly free-response, with a few multiple choice questions.
Homework –Will consist on a nightly basis mainly of reading and mentally grappling with assigned readings and will be accounted for in the bellringer. If it becomes apparent that students are not reading, regular written homework will be assigned. In addition to nightly readings, students will be assigned intermittent written work, generally associated with projects.
Participation – Learning at this level requires you to be an active participant in class discussions and activities. Lack of participation indicates lack of preparation. The point value of participation varies depending upon the class activity.
Projects – We will have projects throughout the year that will vary in length, complexity and point value. The main stock market project will be a major part of your final exam.
Literacy & Writing – Various tasks worth variable points.
Grading Policy (2nd, 4th, 5th)
Students are evaluated through exams, assignments, and class participation. Your grade is based on the following components:
Quizzes and Tests
Papers and Projects
For more details on every class, please refer to the appropriate syllabus available at the bottom of this page.
Materials required for class
Three-Ring binder. I do not mind if you share with another class, as long as you are able to keep and locate class materials quickly. You should be able to remove paper from it without making a mess (i.e., please no spiral notebooks without perforated paper).
Pencil (pens may be used for taking notes and most writing assignments, but a pencil highly suggested for bellringers and quizzes/tests).
Course assignments and some materials will be posted on the class website. You MUST have access to the internet to be successful in this course. If you do not have it at home, you may use the computers in the school’s library before or after school.
Class Expectations: Follow all school rules, including those pertaining to dress code, electronic devices, and food and drink in classrooms.