U.S. Government and Politics

bit.ly/USGOV

| Course Syllabus | CNN 10 and Daily Quotes |

Daily Performance Tasks:

3.9.2018

Final Exam (total = 125 product points)

  • Use #2 pencil for multiple choice portion (25 questions = 25 points total)
  • Use pencil or pen for persuasive essay with evidence flowchart (100 points total)


3.6.2018 (take your textbook today to return to the book depository)

Final Exam Review Day

  • Bring #2 pencil for multiple choice portion of exam
  • Bring pen if you prefer for the persuasive essay portion of exam


3.5.2018

Big Debate Day:

  • Should the Executive branch be able to spy on Americans communicating with foreigners without first

getting a warrant to try to prevent terrorist attacks?

Performance Tasks:

  • No CNN10 and no Daily Quote today.
  • Write "Opening Statement" for the debate that includes a lead-in, thesis statement, and introduces your main arguments.
  • Write one "claim -> evidence -> reasoning" paragraph that uses one fact from either Document A or B, or the documentary
  • Participate in debate today either verbally or in written form on boards.


3.2.2018

Challenge Question: (Prep. for big debate)

  • Look carefully at Documents A and B. Underline three claims made by the author

of each of the documents. Which document do you find more persuasive? Explain why.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • No Daily Quote today.
  • Identify more facts that can be used to support your viewpoint (thesis) and your claims in this debate.
  • Write "Opening Statement" for the debate that includes a lead-in, thesis statement, and introduces your main arguments.

Key Concepts:

  • Separation of Powers (between the three branches of the federal government)
  • Checks and Balances (between the three branches of the federal government)

Featured Sources:


3.1.2018

Challenge Question:

  • Should the Executive branch be able to spy on Americans communicating with foreigners without first

getting a warrant to try to prevent terrorist attacks? Create a t-chart of arguments on both sides of this debate.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ (in a t-chart) and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • No Daily Quote today.
  • Identify facts that can be used to support claims in this debate.

Key Concepts:

  • Separation of Powers (between the three branches of the federal government)
  • Checks and Balances (between the three branches of the federal government)

Featured Sources:



2.28.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. What is the longest combat war in all of U.S. history? Explain why.
  2. Should the President be able to commit combat troops to war without getting the approval of Congress?
  3. Should the President be able to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely without trials during wartime?
  4. Should the Executive branch be able to spy on Americans communicating with foreigners without first

getting a warrant to try to prevent terrorist attacks?

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • No Daily Quote today.
  • Prep. for the last big debates (on foreign policy issues)

Key Concepts:

  • Separation of Powers (between the three branches of the federal government)
  • Checks and Balances (between the three branches of the federal government)

Featured Sources:


2.27.2018

Challenge Question:

  • If the vast majority of American voters want much stronger gun control laws, and the

U.S. Congress won't budge, what other means could be used the Amend the U.S. Constitution? Explain.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • No Daily Quote today.
  • Continue completing two-column "flip" sheet based on Review Guide for course
    • We finished from the "Articles of Confederation" up to the "Bill of Rights" on Monday

Key Concepts:

  • the Amendment process
  • voter-led actions:
    • recall; referendum; initiative

Featured Sources:


2.26.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. What was the very first type of government the U.S. tried after the American Revolution?
  2. What were some of the weaknesses of that new government? List. (see page 48-51 in textbook).

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • No Daily Quote today.
  • Continue completing two-column "flip" sheet based on Review Guide for course
    • We finished from the "Enlightenment" up to "popular sovereignty" on Friday


2.23.2018

Challenge Question:

  • What do you think about the following article from yesterday? Is this a good idea? Explain your viewpoint:

AAPS school board wants student to lead gun control debate

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Create two-column "flip" sheet based on Review Guide for course

Key Concepts:

  • "The Enlightenment" (on page 653 in textbook)


2.22.2018

Challenge Question:

  • Look carefully at the Review Guide list of Persuasive Essay topics (from big debates).

If you could choose one of these topics to write a persuasive essay using evidence for the final exam,

which one would you choose? Explain why.

*** You cannot choose death penalty or legalizing all drugs since you've already written and revised full

persuasive essays on both of those topics this trimester. ***

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Create two-column "flip" sheet based on Review Guide for course

Key Concepts:

  • op-ed --> opinion-editorial in a news publication

Featured Sources:


2.21.2018

Challenge Question:

Do you think smaller third parties in our political system do more harm than good by drawing attention and

votes away from the candidates from the two major political parties in the U.S? Explain your viewpoint.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Create two-column "flip" sheet based on Review Guide for course

Key Concepts:

  • role of third parties in the U.S. political system

Featured Sources:


2.20.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. In your viewpoint, should the voting age be lowered to 16? Why or why not?

(by adding an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; the 26th Amendment lowered it to 18).

2. Should we use the popular vote nationwide to decide the election of the President instead of the Electoral College?

(Explain your viewpoint in claim -> evidence -> reasoning format)

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Write CER response to CQ #2 using facts from any video clip from today
  • Create two-column "flip" sheet based on Review Guide for course

Key Concepts:

  • the popular vote
  • the Electoral College

Featured Sources:


2.15.2018

Big Debate Day! (on U.S. foreign policy)

Agree or Disagree with the following statement:

"America should be the world's policeman."

Performance Tasks:

  • No CNN10 and No Daily Quote today (Assembly schedule)
  • Complete evidence flowchart using evidence from at least three different sources
  • Write "Written Prep. for Debate: Foreign Policy: U.S. as World's Policeman?" on a separate piece of notebook paper that includes:
      • "Opening Statement" (lead-in, thesis statement, and introduce main arguments)
      • One "Claim --> Evidence --> Reasoning" paragraph using facts from one of the documents (A-E).
  • Participate in debate, either verbally or written on board
  • Turn-in Written Prep. and Evidence Flowchart at end of debate


2.14.2018

Challenge Question: (Prep. for big debate on U.S. foreign policy)

Agree or Disagree with the following statement:

"America should be the world's policeman." (Explain your viewpoint).

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Complete evidence flowchart using evidence from at least three different sources
  • Write "Opening Statement" on separate notebook paper

Featured Sources:


2.13.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. In your viewpoint, should the U.S. use its massive military might (the strongest in world history) to be the world's policeman,

to help the most vulnerable people around the world and to protect human rights? Why or why not?

2. Should the U.S. increase, keep the same, or decrease, spending on our military? Explain your viewpoint.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Create t-chart of arguments for and against this week's inquiry CQ
  • Begin completing evidence flowchart for this week's inquiry CQ

Key Concepts:

  • U.S. foreign policy
  • isolationism v. interventionism
  • multilateralism v. unilateralism
  • human rights

Featured Sources:


2.12.2018

Big Debate Day:

  • Agree or disagree with the following statement:

"Only active duty police and military should be able to own any gun other than hunting rifles and handguns for home protection."

Performance Tasks:

  • No CNN10 and No Daily Quote today (big debate day)
  • Write "Written Prep. for Debate: Gun Control" on a separate piece of notebook paper that includes:
      • "Opening Statement" (lead-in, thesis statement, and introduce main arguments)
      • One "Claim --> Evidence --> Reasoning" paragraph using facts from one of the documents (A-E).
  • Participate in debate, either verbally or written on board


2.9.2018 - No school, snow day

2.8.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. In your viewpoint, should licensed gun owners be allowed to "open carry" a gun at a public school? Explain.

Look carefully at "Document E" and underline one fact that would support your answer. Explain your reasoning.

2. Who do you think should have the ultimate power to decide the answer to CQ #1 (explain why):

    • the local level (Ann Arbor City Council and AAPS);
    • the state level (the state legislature in Lansing); or
    • the federal level (the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.)
  • DEBATE QUESTION: Agree or disagree with the following statement:

"Only active duty police and military should be able to own any gun other than hunting rifles and handguns for home protection."

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQ and discuss
  • No CNN10 and No Daily Quote today (shortened period with Skytime)
  • Analyze controversy over "open carry" law in Michigan
  • Identify key concepts, and different thesis statements (debate teams) for this Friday's big debate
  • Using yellow highlighters, underline facts in Documents A-E that would support your viewpoint.
  • Begin organizing your evidence on "Evidence Flowchart"

Key Concepts:

  • compelling government interest v. individual rights
    • AAPS (no gun carry on campus) v. individual rights in recent SCOTUS rulings on Second Amendment
  • the Second Amendment
  • amicus briefs
  • local, state, and federal laws

Featured Sources:

2.7.2018: Snow day

2.6.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. Should all guns, other than hunting rifles, be limited to only police officers and the military (i.e. to those who

are professionally trained in the appropriate use of deadly force)? Why or why not?

2. Should much stronger federal (i.e. national) gun control laws be passed? Why or why not?

3. Should a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution be passed to repeal the 2nd Amendment? Why or why not?

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Complete written journal for meeting of Ann Arbor "Human Rights Commission"
  • Analyze the background of the 2nd Amendment and gun control laws

Key Concepts:

  • the 2nd Amendment
  • amicus briefs
  • local, state, and federal gun control laws
  • special interest groups: e.g. the National Rifle Association (NRA)

Featured Sources:


2.5.2018

Challenge Questions: (follow up from Friday's debate and Catherine Small's question as a judge)

  1. Do you think people vote more often for their own "self-interest" or for the "national interest"?
  2. In question #1, are those one and the same, or very different things? Or does it depend? Explain.
  3. When you are 18-years-old and vote, which will you vote for in question #1? Explain.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Complete written journal for meeting of Ann Arbor "Human Rights Commission"
  • Discuss controversy over proposed civilian oversight group for the Ann Arbor Police Department
    • Do you think we need more oversight (i.e. "checks and balances") on our local police, the AAPD? Why or why not?

Featured Sources:


2.2.2018

Big Debate Day:

  • Should Americans be required (i.e. mandatory or compulsory) to vote in elections or pay a $500 fine?

Performance Tasks:

  • No CNN10 and No Daily Quote today.
  • Complete entire "Evidence Flowchart" using evidence from three different news clips or articles projected on screen.
  • Write your "Opening Statement" for debate on a separate sheet of notebook paper.


2.1.2018

Challenge Question (Prep. for tomorrow's big debate):

  • Should Americans be required to vote (or pay a $500 fine)? Explain your viewpoint.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Complete entire "Evidence Flowchart" using evidence from three different news clips or articles.
  • Write your "Opening Statement" for tomorrow's big debate on a separate sheet of notebook paper

Key Concepts:

  • majority of the "electorate" v. plurality of the vote (in an election)
  • voter "efficacy" and voter turnout in elections (Presidential year, mid-term election, off year election, local elections)
  • Voter-led actions: recall, referendum, initiative
  • Electoral College v. the popular vote (for election of the President)

Featured Sources:


1.31.2018

Performance Tasks:

  • No CNN10 and No Daily Quote today (early release schedule)
  • Finish all steps of persuasive essay to turn in (if you did not yesterday)
  • Identify (in video clip) additional arguments that could be used to support your thesis

Featured Sources:


1.30.2018

Performance Tasks:

  1. Finish first draft of your persuasive essay on notebook paper
  2. Complete "Checklist: Editing The Final Draft" and identify and mark up at least 5 changes on your own using green pens
  3. Choose one paragraph for a Writing Center mentor to review and make revisions based on their feedback (also write down their name)
  4. Write a final draft of your persuasive essay with all revisions made (on a separate blank piece of notebook paper).


DUE TODAY: Staple all of the following work in this order to turn in:

  1. Final Draft (stapled on top)
  2. First Draft (with changes marked up in green pen)
  3. Checklist completed (each box marked DONE)
  4. Evidence Flowchart completed
  5. Documents highlighted with evidence you used


1.29.2018

Challenge Question:

  • During Friday's debate, what was one strong argument a student made on the "Agree" side? What was one strong argument

a student made on the "Disagree" side? Explain why for both. (Agree or Disagree: "All illegal drugs should be legalized (or decriminalized) in the U.S.")

Performance Tasks:

  • Write CQ and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • (No Daily Quote today)
  • Persuasive Essay - first draft:
      • Carefully follow steps (on handout) to write Persuasive Essay on debate topic.
      • All steps must be completed in class.


1.26.2018

Big Debate Day:

  • Agree or Disagree: "All illegal drugs should be legalized (or decriminalized) in the U.S."

Performance Tasks:

  • No CNN10 and no Daily Quote today (we're gonna jump right into the debate)
  • Write your "Opening Statement" for today's big debate on a separate sheet of notebook paper
  • Leave space for "All Voices Considered"
  • Always show respect for your colleagues and their arguments (you all rock!)


1.25.2018

Challenge Question:

  • Agree or Disagree: "All illegal drugs should be legalized (or decriminalized) in the U.S." Explain your viewpoint.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Complete entire "Evidence Flowchart" using evidence from three different Documents (A-F)
  • Write your "Opening Statement" for tomorrow's big debate on a separate sheet of notebook paper

Key Concepts:

  • local, state, and federal government
  • powers under the U.S. Constitution

Featured Sources:

  • Intelligence Squared US debate video: Legalize Drugs?
  • Documents A-F (see below)


LegalizeDrugs?Documents.pdf


1.24.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. If you could choose one topic in U.S. Government (either a domestic policy issue or foreign policy issue)

to debate next, and to write a persuasive essay on for our next test, what topic would you choose? Explain why.

2. Look at the pictures below of the issues you chose during the first week of class. Choose a backup choice:

Performance Tasks:

  • Write specific responses to CQs (since I got booed by Madeline et al. for saying Citizens United v. FEC would be our essay topic)
  • Turn in written work from yesterday (CER paragraphs) is you did not already do so.
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Begin completing an "Evidence Flowchart" for the next debate topic we choose as a class. See below (and on handout):
Evidence Flowchart.pdf

1.23.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. Look carefully at Document I and underline the strongest argument the writer makes.
  2. Look carefullt at Document J and underline the strongest argument the writer makes.
  3. In Document J who do you think the writer is referring to when she writes: "Unlike our colleagues..." Explain.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Add the following three paragraphs to your "Written Prep. for Debate: Citizens United v. FEC"
    • CER paragraph #1 using fact from: "Background Essay" (completed yesterday)
    • CER paragraph #2 using fact from: either Document I or Document J
    • CER paragraph #3 using fact from: Documents OR video clip (either OYEZ, C-SPAN, or i2 debate)

Key Concepts:

  • majority opinion v. dissenting opinion (in a SCOTUS case)
  • original intent (of Framers) v. interpretation (of USC by justices)

Featured Sources:


1.22.2018

Challenge Question:

  • During Friday's debate, what was one strong argument a student made on the "Agree" side? What was one strong argument

a student made on the "Disagree" side? Explain why for both.

(Agree or disagree: "Individuals and organizations have a constitutional right to unlimited spending on their own political speech.")

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Skyline Writing Center presentation
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Annotate document called "Background Essay: Citizens United v. FEC 2010" with:
    • underline facts; label "A" for facts that support AGREE side; "D" for facts that support DISAGREE side;
    • for each fact add +R reasoning explaining why that fact supports that side in the debate
  • Construct a CER paragraph and add to your "Written Prep. for Debate" work from Friday


1.19.2018

Big Debate Day:

  • Agree or disagree: "Individuals and organizations have a constitutional right to unlimited spending on their own political speech."

Performance Tasks:

  • Public Meeting requirement for this course (can be any public meeting, public rally, community event that's relevant to government)
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government (domestic policy or foreign policy)
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Write "Written Prep. for Debate: Citizens United v. FEC" that includes:
      • "Opening Statement" (lead-in, thesis statement, and introduce main arguments)
  • Participate in debate, either verbally or written on board


1.18.2018

Challenge Question:

  1. Agree or disagree: "Individuals and organizations have a constitutional right to unlimited spending on their own political speech." Explain your viewpoint.
  2. What is one political party or interest group that holds political stances you agree with? One group that you disagree with? Explain why. (Chapters 5 and 9 can give you examples).

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Discuss yesterday's DBQ questions (from page 223) and CER written responses
  • Analyze DBQ questions on page 229 in textbook
  • Compose written responses in CER format (claim -> evidence -> reasoning)
  • Identify major arguments on both sides of debate CQ#1 topic

Key Concepts:

  • political parties, interest groups, news media
  • SCOTUS case: Citizens United v. FEC

Featured Sources:


1.17.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. What is the specific difference between civil rights and civil liberties? Define both terms. In what ways

was Dr. MLK Jr. a leader of both a civil rights movement AND a civil liberties movement in the U.S.? Explain.

2. What are the specific goals of political parties, interest groups, and the news media in our political process?

Define for all three AND explain whether you think each has more of a positive or negative impact on politics in the U.S.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government; Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Analyze DBQ questions on pages 223 and 229 in textbook and write responses in CER format (claim -> evidence -> reasoning)

Key Concepts:

  • civil rights v. civil liberties
  • political parties, interest groups, news media ("mass media")
  • primary sources v. secondary sources
  • "DBQ" questions; CER written responses

Featured Sources:

  • excerpts in Chapter 8 of textbook


1.16.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, what do you think he would say about the current state of our nation? Explain.
  2. To what extent, if any, is President Trump racist? Explain your viewpoint and give examples.
  3. To what extent, if any, are you racist? Be honest. Are we in denial about racism in the U.S. and our own racism?
  4. To what extent, if any, does the news media perpetuate racism in the U.S.? Explain your viewpoint.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Analyze chart of the major news media sources in the U.S.

Key Concepts:

  • news media and "the fourth estate"
  • "Checks and balances"
  • the role of political parties
    • two major political parties
    • third parties and their influence on ideas of major parties

Featured Sources:


1.12.2018

Big Debate Day!

  • Is our increasingly polarized news media doing more harm than good in bettering U.S. government and politics?

Performance Tasks:

  • Participate in debate, either verbally or in writing on whiteboards
  • Turn in your written prep. at end of debate


1.11.2018

Challenge Question:

  • If a news organization reports inaccurate information, is it "fake news"? If it presents a biased news report, is it "fake news"?
  • Is our increasingly polarized news media doing more harm than good in bettering U.S. government and politics? Explain.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Prepare for tomorrow's big debate
      • Write your "Written Prep. for Debate: Polarized News Media: More Harm or More Good?" that includes:
      • "Opening Statement" (lead-in, thesis statement, and introduce main arguments)
      • One C --> EV --> +R paragraph (using credible source and citied in MLA format)

Featured Sources:



1.10.2018

Challenge Questions:

  • When President Trump complains about "fake news" what do you think he means? Explain your viewpoint.
  • Do you think our polarized news media does more harm or more good in bettering U.S. government and politics? Explain your viewpoint.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story and explain link to U.S. government
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote

Key Concepts:

  • "checks and balances"
  • the "fourth estate" (a free press)

Featured Sources:


1.9.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. A record number of women are running for public office in 2018 to be state governors and to serve in the U.S. Congress.

Why do you think this is? List all possible reasons.

2. What sources do you get your news from? Do you consider these sources to be reliable? List and explain why.

3. The news media are sometimes described as the "fourth estate" in our society. Do you think the news media does

more harm or more good in U.S. government and politics? Explain your viewpoint.

Performance Tasks:

  • Reminder of electronics policy and grade
  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Discuss responses to the Daily Quote (two political cartoons from yesterday)

Key Concepts:

  • a free press (First Amendment)

Featured Sources:


1.8.2018

Challenge Questions:

  1. What specific "checks and balances" were involved in the case you debated before break (Carpenter v. U.S.)

on whether the police can collect cell phone records without a warrant? Explain.

2. How does a case reach the U.S. Supreme Court? Explain.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write question from one CNN10 story
  • Write responses to the Daily Quote
  • Identify key concepts of from debate before break and "checks and balances"

Key Concepts:

  • separation of powers
  • "checks and balances"
  • democracy v. dictatorship (autocratic)

Featured Sources:


12.22.2017

Big Debate Day: (2017 SCOTUS case: Carpenter v. United States)

  • Should law enforcement be able to obtain cell phone records including location and movements of cell phone users (not conversations)

without a court warrant to try to prevent serious crimes in society?

Performance Tasks:

  • Turn in death penalty written work with your second draft stapled on top of your first draft
  • Write your "Written Prep. for Debate" that includes:
    • "Opening Statement" (lead-in, thesis statement, and introduce main arguments)
    • One C --> EV --> +R paragraph (using credible source and citied in MLA format)
  • Participate in debate, either verbally or in writing
  • (Dunbar: pass back all papers...)


12.21.2017

Challenge Question:

  • What did you like and dislike about working on writing revisions yesterday? Be honest.
  • Do you enjoy writing? Why or why why?

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss.
  • Finish your second draft today, and staple it to your first draft (with all the green pen revisions)
  • Prep. for tomorrow's big debate: Carpenter v. United States:
    • Should law enforcement be able to obtain cell phone records including location and movements of cell phone users (not conversations) without a court warrant to try to prevent serious crimes in society?

Key Concepts:

  • the judicial branch (finish flowchart)
  • SCOTUS cases: petitioner v. respondent
  • compelling state interest (security) v. individuals rights (Fourth Amendment)

Featured Sources:


12.20.2017

Challenge Questions:

  1. The Fourth Amendment prohibits "unreasonable" searches by the government.

In your viewpoint, what would be a "reasonable" search by the government? Give some examples.

2. What makes some writing much more persuasive than other writing? What characteristics does it have? List.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Revise ("REV") your writing from the test by completing the following:
    • Use "Checklist" and circle changes that need to be made and write in changes (with green pens on first draft)
    • Also Revise one full paragraph with the help of a Writing Center tutor (with green pens on first draft)
    • On a new piece of notebook paper, write a second draft of all paragraphs with all of the changes made


12.19.2017

Challenge Question:

  • In your viewpoint, should the police be able to obtain cell phone records including location and movements of

cell phone users (not conversations) without a court warrant to try to prevent serious crimes in society? Why or why not? Explain.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write response to CQ and discuss
  • Write responses to CNN10 and Daily Quote
  • Identify key concepts in court cases and the judicial branch
  • Discuss the major aspects of the SCOTUS case Carpenter v. United States (2017)
  • Prep. for this Friday's big debate: Find evidence to support your viewpoint from textbook pages 585-590

Key Concepts:

  • compelling government interest v. individual rights
  • security v. freedom
  • Fourth Amendment: No unreasonable search and seizure by government
  • local, state, and federal courts; criminal, civil, and constitutional cases
  • petitioner v. respondent (Carpenter v. the United States)

Featured Sources:


12.18.2017

  • Test: USCIS "Naturalization Test", Chapter 3, and evidence-based writing with sources


*** Your first test will be this Monday, Dec. 18 on questions from the USCIS Naturalization Test, Chapter 3 work, and evidence-based writing from debate. ***

12.15.2017

Big Debate Day:

  • Should the use of the death penalty be abolished in the U.S.?

Performance Tasks:

  • Participate in debate
  • Turn in "Written Prep. for Debate" at end of the debate


12.14.2017

Performance Tasks:

  • Finish reviewing the USCIS "Naturalization Test" (we're at question #50)
  • Write "Written Prep. for Debate: the Death Penalty" (on a separate piece of notebook paper) that includes:
    • "Opening Statement" paragraph with: a lead-in, thesis statement, and introduces your main arguments
    • One "claim -> evidence -> reasoning" paragraph using facts from article on the death penalty in the U.S.
    • Cite your evidence in MLA format with an in-text citation.


12.13.2017

Everything from yesterday continued - we ran out of time with our discussion (and that's great!)

12.12.2017

Challenge Questions:

  1. How do you think you did on the USCIS "Naturalization Test"? Should all high school Seniors have to pass

this test in order to graduate? Why or why not?

2. Big Debate: Should the use of the death penalty be abolished in the U.S.? Should a state be able to use the

death penalty on a 17-year-old convicted of a brutal murder? Why or why not?

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Check your answers on the Naturalization Test (also watch news clip)
  • Write responses to CNN10 and the Daily Quote
  • Research and Write your "Written Prep. for Debate" that includes:
    • "Opening Statement" (lead-in, thesis statement, and introduce main arguments)
    • At least one C --> EV --> +R (and citing evidence using MLA format)

Key Concepts:

  • compelling government interest v. individual rights
  • majority rule v. Eighth Amendment
  • Roper v. Simmons case

Featured Sources:

USCIS Civics Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test (great resource for review!)


12.11.2017

Challenge Questions:

  1. What issues related to U.S. Government do you want to debate this trimester? List all of them.
  2. What's one thing you learned from Friday's textbook assignment on the U.S. Constitution? Would you be able

to pass the U.S. Naturalization Test to earn your citizenship? Should everyone have to pass this test? Explain.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs in your notebook
  • Write responses to today's CNN10 and Daily Quote
  • Complete the U.S. Naturalization Test -- good luck!
  • Participate in "mini-debates" and discussion on issues we will list on the board.
  • Identify key parts of U.S. Constitution that impact these issues.

Key Concepts:

  • from Chapter 3 in textbook

Featured Sources:


12.8.2017

Performance Tasks:

  • Read Chapter 3 in textbook pages 68-90.
  • Write answers to the questions on pages 75, 83, and 90.

12.7.2017

Challenge Questions:

  1. What safeguards did the Framers put into the U.S. Constitution to try to prevent the rise of an abusive leader (i.e. a king), as

well as to try to prevent "mob rule" in society? List in a t-chart: "Prevent Abusive Leader" | "Prevent Mob Rule"

2. How does today's t-chart compare to the one you created for question #3 yesterday? Explain.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs in your notebook and discuss (also discuss #2 and #3 from 12.6.2017)
  • Annotate copies of visual guide to the U.S. Constitution
  • Write responses to today's CNN10 and Daily Quote
  • Grab a textbook, turn to page 547, and read the section "Rights Relative, Not Absolute": explain in your own words and cite quote from textbook
  • Consider your stance in yesterday's debate. Cite specific evidence from textbook pages 559-567 to support your "thesis" from our first debate.

Key Concepts:

  • from Chapter 1 and Chapter 19 in textbook

Featured Sources:

  • Magruder's American Government textbook


12.6.2017

Challenge Questions:

  1. Look carefully at this famous picture from Ann Arbor in 1996. What do you think it shows and what's your gut reaction to it? Explain.
  2. How would YOU define these three terms: hate speech, controversial speech, free speech
  3. How did the Framers of the U.S. Constitution try to balance "majority" rule and "minority" rights? List in a t-chart.

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs in your notebook
  • Write responses to today's CNN10 and Daily Quote
  • Discuss famous picture and its implications for U.S. Government and politics.

Key Concepts:

  • from Chapter 19 in textbook

Featured Sources:


12.5.2017

Big Debate Day (continued from Friday):

  • Should the University of Michigan Board of Regents vote to allow, or not allow, Richard Spencer to speak on campus?

Performance Tasks:

  • Participate in debate (either verbally or in written form)
  • Add "All Voices Considered" after your "Opening Statement" you wrote Friday on notebook paper
  • Use "claim --> evidence --> reasoning" format with responding in writing to "All Voices Considered" today


12.4.2017

Challenge Questions:

  1. In your viewpoint, is hate speech protected as free speech under the First Amendment? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think the Founding Fathers of our nation would have allowed Richard Spencer to speak at U of M? Why or why not?

Performance Tasks:

  • Write responses to CQs and discuss
  • Write CNN10 question with link to U.S. Government
  • Write reaction to Daily Quote(s): Do you agree or disagree with quote and explain why:
    • The “President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case." -- Lawyer for President Trump in interview this morning, Dec. 4, 2017.
    • "In America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to BE king, and there ought to be no other." -- Thomas Paine in his pamphlet Common Sense published in 1776.
  • Add "claim --> evidence --> reasoning" paragraph (and cite source) to your "Opening Statement" from Friday's debate

(we will continue Friday's big debate on 12.5.2017)

Key Concepts:

  • the Enlightenment (a.k.a. the Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason)
  • idea of natural rights (human rights) and popular sovereignty
  • 1776: the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution
  • the Articles of Confederation (and its weaknesses)
  • the U.S. Constitution of 1789 (that included the Bill of Rights)
  • the Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10 to the U.S. Constitution)
  • Civil Liberties v. Civil Rights
  • timeline of the development of civil liberties and civil rights

Featured Sources:


12.1.2017

Performance Tasks:

  • Complete pre-test (2 parts)
  • Get textbook from book depository
  • (No "CNN10" and no "Daily Quote" today)
  • Write "Opening Statement" for today's mini-debate (on a separate sheet of notebook paper)
  • Participate in mini-debate:
    • Should the University of Michigan Board of Regents vote to allow, or not allow, Richard Spencer to speak on campus?


11.30.2017

Challenge Questions:

  1. Does free speech cover all speech?
  2. Should laws change as times change?

Key Concepts:

- First amendment

- Legal precedent

Performance Tasks:

- Analyze and summarize an example of a current event on free speech issues


Featured Sources:

U-M President on Spencer: http://president.umich.edu/news-communications/letters-to-the-community/request-by-richard-spencer-to-speak-on-the-u-m-campus/

Student Newspaper Michigan Daily on Spencer: https://www.michigandaily.com/section/editorials/daily-no-richard-spencer-speech


11.29.2017

Performance Tasks:

  • Read pages 1-2 of the following article on hate crimes laws
  • Write responses to the seven bullet-pointed questions on page 2 of the article (also included below):
      • Should hate or bias motivation be considered when the underlying offense, such as assault or vandalism, is already covered by criminal law?
      • Do hate-crime laws punish thoughts rather than actions?
      • What are the ramifications of basing additional penalties upon the thoughts that motivate offenders rather than on the behavior itself?
      • Is it possible to determine with legally acceptable certainty the motive behind a person’s criminal acts?
      • Do hate-crime laws result in more severe punishments for crimes against certain groups of people than for equivalent crimes committed against other groups?
      • Are hate-crime victims more traumatized than other victims of the same underlying offense because they feel personally targeted?
      • Does hate crime increase fear in the community beyond what might exist for similar crimes that are not motivated by hate?

--> If time, try to write a clear and effective hate crimes law you think would help society. Try to be specific as possible.

11.28.2017 --> Please see seating chart on podium for your seat in this class.

Challenge Questions:

  1. In your viewpoint, what's the most important issue right now that the U.S. Congress should pass a law to address? Explain why.
  2. Who is your all-time favorite person to ever hold public office (can be a president, member of Congress, Supreme Court justice, etc.)? Explain why,


Performance Tasks:

  • Write Responses to Challenge Questions (start a daily notebook for this class -- major portion of your grade)
  • Identify two questions from today's CNN10 (daily activity) that must include:
    1. One question that you had from any story presented
    2. One question from any story that involves the U.S. government -- explain why
  • Write responses to "Daily Quote" and discuss
  • Identify the keys to success in this course, mastery learning, and course requirements in syllabus
  • Go to book depository together to get textbooks
  • Participate in mini-debates in class based on issues identified yesterday


Key Concepts:

  • three branches of the federal government: legislative, executive, and judicial
  • domestic policy
  • foreign policy


Featured Sources:

CNN10



11.27.2017

First day of class - icebreaker activity and course overview.