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Pamlico County High School

Brandon Spiece » American History Syllabus

American History Syllabus

American History

Class Syllabus

Instructor: Mr. Spiece


American History is a Social Studies class, which means that we are using the history of our country as a method for studying human society. The end result of a good education trains a student to read, write, speak, and think well.  These are the tools needed to become an independent learner. A good education should inspire a student to become a life-long learner. A formal education isn’t a means to an end.  It is only the beginning of a life filled with discovery.


Becoming a Master High School Student:

The goal of every student should be to become a Master Student. 


1. A Master Student is a self-starter.
2. A Master Student is responsible.
3. A Master Student never quits.
4. A Master Student shows up, and shows up on time. 
5. A Master Student is empathetic.
6. A Master Student values the process of learning new things. 
7. A Master Student focuses on growth. 
8. A Master Student is goal-oriented. 
9. A Master Student works to maintains productive routines. 
10. A Master Student reads and writes on their own daily.
11. A Master Student places a premium on doing things right. 
12. A Master Student takes pride in being respectful. 
We will discuss what each of these means during the first three days of class. 
In order to become a Master Student, a student must want to become one!

American History

1. Is a graduation requirement.
2. There are 30 Learning Objectives in this course.


Grading System


Your grade will be based on a point system. There will be approximately 1,000 points possible each grading period.


Class Materials

1. You will need a pen or pencil every day. 
2. You will need your composition book every day.
3. You will need your laptop every day.  Make sure that it is charged. 
4. You should always have a book to read in case you finish an assignment early.


Classroom Rules

1. Follow all school rules and expectations.
2. No ear buds, hoods, or hats. 
3. Treat others with respect.


Classroom Procedures

1. Be in your assigned seat before the bell rings. When the bell rings you should be working on your bell-ringer.  Bell-ringers are almost always reading assignments. While you are reading, I will be taking attendance.
2. We will discuss the bell-ringer. You should try to contribute a question or comment to the conversation every day. The bell-ringer and discussion are designed to take 15 minutes.
3. We will follow the class calendar as closely as we possibly can. It is located on the bulletin board outside of my classroom. 
4. You may not use the restroom during the first and last 15-minutes of class. Students will sign out to use the restroom.  Only one student at a time. I will monitor how long you are out of the room and how often you excuse yourself.  
5. Always clean up after yourself and others. The classroom should be cleaner when you leave than it was when you arrived.
6. If you have down time, you should be reading or writing.
7. I don’t give extra credit. If you want to improve your grade, improve your performance on the next assignment.
8. No music. No cell phones. 
9. The agenda and learning objective will be on the board each day. Copy all of this into your composition book daily. 
10. Your job is to get everything out of my class that you can.  Unless we are working on a project or testing, we will have a 15-minute bell-ringer each day, a 15-minute critical thinking activity each day, a 30-minute lesson each day, a 20-minute assignment each day, and a 10-minute wrap-up each day.  At the end of each class, you should read the learning objective again to see if you understood the lesson. If you have a question, please ask.  You must advocate for yourself when you need help. 


Class Expectations

Be Independent
Be Responsible 
Be Tough
Be Strong
Be Empathetic


Class Goals

Improve as a thinker
Improve as a reader
Improve as a writer
Improve as a speaker


Learning the Material in American History


Our brains work like a complex filing system.  If we want to learn new material, we need to prepare file folders to support the new information being learned or the information is easily lost.  In American History, I would advise you to do the following:

1. Memorize the presidents in order (1-46)
2. Memorize the political party of each president and what each political party stood for during that time period.
3. Memorize the years of each president’s term or terms in office (at least the decade).


This is a very manageable list, and it will provide a filing system for your brain to store new information from 1789 – the present. You don’t have to do it all at one time. Go at your own pace.


Information for Parents

I update my grades in Power School every week. A blank for an individual assignment means that I haven’t graded the assignment yet. A ‘0’ for an individual assignment means that the assignment wasn’t turned in when it was due, or it was turned in but received no points. I would suggest checking Power School for my class every Monday evening to get an up-to-date progress report.
I don't allow students to use cell phones in my class. They are a distraction and I don't think that it is reasonable for me to expect them to pay attention and to stay on task when they have access to a cell phone. Please don't text or call your child while they are in class. Communication with your child should go through the office while your child is in school. 
I would love for you to talk to your child about what they are learning in class. Conversations about the material will help them to learn it and will help them to improve their communication skills. 
I will be sending you a weekly email with suggestions on how you can help your child improve their overall academic performance. I would love your feedback on these emails.
Please email me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. I try to respond to parent emails within 24 hours. 


I am looking forward to an outstanding semester!