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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. We will be covering 29 chapters this semester. The time span covered will be 1789-2008


Grading System


Student grades will be based on a point system. There will be approximately 1,450 points possible each grading period. There will be a notebook check and a test for each chapter. Both will be worth 50 points. 


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 textbook every day.  
4. You should always have a book to read in case you finish an assignment early.


Classroom Rules

1. No phones
2. No earbuds
3. No laptops


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/writing 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 30 minutes.
3. You may not use the restroom during the first and last 15-minutes of class. Only one student at a time. I will monitor how long you are out of the room and how often you excuse yourself.  
4. Always clean up after yourself and others. The classroom should be cleaner when you leave than it was when you arrived.  
5. If you have down time, you should be reading or writing.
6. I don’t give extra credit. If you want to improve your grade, improve your performance on the next assignment.
7. You will use your composition book for your bell-ringer, notes, and class assignments.  I will teach you how I want your composition book set up. Be sure to follow directions on this.  
8. If you are absent on the day of a test, you will be expected to take the test on the next day that you are present.  I will work with students on an individual basis when it comes to absences and notebook checks. It will be very difficult to pass this class with more than 5 absences during the course of the semester. 
9. Your chapter tests will be closed notes, and closed book. They will come directly from your bell-ringers, class notes, readings, and class assignments. You will need to study every day. 
10. The high school classroom is a place for learning. Not lounging or playing. My expectation is that all of my students are here to learn and grow and that they will conduct themselves in my class with an appropriate level of maturity. 



Be Independent
Be Responsible 
Be Mentally Tough
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. 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!