SSS Syllabus

Instructor: Mr. McGuire
Phone: (425) 431-6532
Planning 2nd Period

Course Description:

Senior Social Studies is a year long course; students will build on the skills they developed in their junior United States History course. First semester will have two major units: Civics and Economics. The Economics unit will extend into second semester; following the Economics unit, second semester will focus on Global Issues by applying the learning from Civics and Economics. Along with this content knowledge students will continue to develop academic skills in social studies including: analysis of primary source material, reading and evaluating secondary source material, making connections with cause and effect, and developing writing skills. As students develop the skills and knowledge in Senior Social Studies, I hope they also understand their part as a citizen of the United States and of the world. 

Course Outline:

1.Government: There will be four main components to the government portion of this course:

A. Political and Governmental Theory: Samuel Johnson (a really smart Englishman who lived in the eighteenth century) said a nation’s governing system was of no concern to a person’s daily life. I disagree. Let’s see who’s right.

B. The United States Constitution: Articles, amendments, and bills…oh my! Lots of cool stuff from the oldest, written constitution in the world. This unit culminates in an exam that you must pass in order to pass the course.

C. Law and Justice: “We are a nation of laws, not men.” What the heck does that mean? One of the cornerstones of our governing structure is the protection of minority rights; the chief institutional protector of those rights, for good or ill, is our court system. Case studies, mock trials, and guest speakers will help us understand a part of government largely ignored by Americans unless an “outlandish” verdict is involved.

2. Economics: Our focus will be on how economics affects a variety of contemporary issues on a global, national, regional, and personal level.

A. The Schools of Thought: How should scarce resources be best distributed?

· Mercantilism

· Classical i.e. Free Market Economics

· Socialism

· Communism

· Blended Systems

B. Micro-Economics: How do individuals operate within specific markets?

· Determinants of Supply and Demand

· Price Equilibrium and Price Elasticity

· Opportunity Costs

· Marginal Costs and Benefits

C. Macro-Economics: How do large economies work and how are they measured?

· Market factors

· GDP, Interest rates, Inflation, Production etc.

· Stock Markets, Bond Markets

D. The Government’s Effect: How do governmental policies affect economies?

· Fiscal and Monetary Policy

· Taxation’s Effects

· Trade Policy

· Economics and the Environment

3.Current Issues: Throughout the school year we will incorporate newsworthy issues and events into the broad theoretical ideas that dominate the course. Second semester will feature a more specific approach centering on issues surrounding global poverty and the challenges facing the world’s developing nations. This focus will enable the student to prepare herself for the culminating CBA project.

Classroom Policies:


Students should expect between 2-3 hours of homework per week in this class. Unless otherwise noted by the teacher, homework is due at the beginning of the next class session; homework turned in after the beginning of class will be late.

Assignments that are turned in late will go down a grade for each day that it is late. Assignments turned in four days after the due date cannot receive a grade higher than fifty-percent of the assignments point value. The late work policy also applies to tests; tests must be made up the day the student returns to school. Late work will only be accepted until the end of the Unit.

If absent, it is the students responsibility to come in during tutorial or after school to get missed work, notes, or to make up a test.

Classroom Materials and Texts:

You are expected to maintain a spiral notebook that will be divided into 3 sections. In addition, you should have a 3 ring binder for assignments, handouts, and readings.

The backbone of the course will use the textbooks Living Democracy, A Complete Idiots Guide to Economics, and Current Issues. Also the course will include selected literature, primary sources, and maps that will be provided. Students are expected to bring these materials to class

NO EXTRA CREDIT opportunities will be given in this class. 

Notebook and Journal Participation:

You are expected to maintain a neat, organized notebook. These will be collected on a periodic basis during the semester and assigned points based on the quality of the work provided.

We will start most classes with a warm up activity or journal; however, journal entries may also be used for homework purposes as well. It is the student’s responsibility to make up journal entries if they are absent.

Grading Scale:

93-100% = A 73-77 = C

90-92 = A- 70-72 = C-

88-89 = B+ 68-69 = D+

83-87 = B 60-67 = D

80-82 = B- Less Than 60 = F

78-79 = C+

Philosophy on Attendance:

Students are expected to be in school and in class daily. Punctual attendance is the first requirement for success both here and upon graduation. A large part of learning takes place during class discussions and participation. Many instructional methods are used that require student participation and if students are absent, they miss out on that learning and experience that enhance their intellectual growth.

Unexcused Absences:

Students with unexcused absences do not have to be given the opportunities to make up work, nor be given extensions on assignment due dates. Consequences will therefore be directly reflected in the assessment/grades on missed or late assignments. Teachers may make accommodations, as they believe best for a student in a particular case, based on the learning goals for that course and student.

Excused Absences:

The teacher will offer the student additional time (one day for each day a student is absent) to complete the work and or alternative work to meet the learning goals. This does not excuse students from doing the work. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to follow up with the teacher after an excused absence. Absences must be excused within 48 hours.

Tardy Policy:

Each student receives three “free” tardies per semester. The fourth tardy will result in notice to the student’s parent/guardian. A fifth tardy will cause a referral to the school administrative team where Meadowdale High School’s progressive discipline policy will begin. The sequence will begin anew at the beginning of second semester.

Cell phones must be turned off during class, absolutely no text messaging. IPODS can only be used with my permission.

MANDATORY ENRICHMENT PROJECT FOR STUDENTS WHO DESIRE AN “A” GRADE: A student who desires a grade of “A” or “A-“ will be required to satisfactorily complete an enrichment project. This requirement is in effect for both fall and spring semester. The project will be graded on a simple, “meets standard/does not meet standard” scale. A student who turns in a project that does not meet standard will have the opportunity to make changes to the project and resubmit it within three working days. Students who either do not turn in an Enrichment Project or fail to meet standard on a submitted project, will receive a grade of “B+.” Completion of the project does not guarantee a student an “A” grade. An “A” or “A-“ will be earned by the student if his/her work over the course of the semester is a minimum of 89.5% in the grade book AND the Enrichment Project meets standard. This is NOT an extra credit assignment.