American History..??

"In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind." - Edmund Burke

"People sometimes attribute my success to my genius, all the genius I know anything about is hard work." Alexander Hamilton

“I am the one thing in life I can control, I am inimitable, I am an original...”- Aaron Burr

Welcome to Your History of the United States. Throughout the school year, you will be collaborating with your classmates to research, write, and design the sub-pages of this site. Twice a quarter you will be placed on a team with three of your fellow classmates and tasked with researching and writing collaborative responses to some of History's most vexing questions.

Writing history is an inherently collaborative process. Even if the task were to write your own personal history, your memory, limited by your own perspective, would only provide a one dimensional representation of who you were. Your parents, siblings, grandparents, neighbors, friends, enemies, coaches, teammates, rivals, classmates, and, teachers to name but a few, would each provide a valuable perspective into who you were and how you personally contributed to the history of your family, neighborhood, school, county, state, nation, and your world. You are a part of the larger story. Throughout this course our task will be to reach back beyond our own limited lifespans, working collaboratively as a class, to reconsider American History.

This year long project based course will seek to capture the breadth of American History from the perspective of eleventh grade, Bishop McNamara High School Students throughout the 2016 - 2017 academic year. Capturing this unique “snapshot” of American History will require all students to collaborate, and compromise in all phases of the project exposing them to the process through which history is agreed upon.

“The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” – William Faulkner, 1951

COURSE OBJECTIVES:

Conceding that a comprehensive understanding of our nation’s history can not be obtained from the most well written textbook nor from the most gifted lecturer; the objectives for this course will be for the students to…

❖ ...identify and confront bias.

❖ ...understand what history is and what it is not.

❖ ...develop their capacity for collaborative research, analysis, and writing.

❖ ...appreciate the interconnectedness of economic and cultural forces throughout American History.

❖ ...publish their own history of the United States in a manner that promotes higher forms of thinking, such as analysis and evaluation of concepts, processes, procedures, and principles, rather than just the mere memorization of facts void of context.

From the arrival of Columbus through the Presidency of Barack Obama (...and whatever happens to follow the November election...) we will endeavor to throughout this course to reconsider some of the most essential yet vexing questions in American History. For example...

❖ What is “history..?” ❖ What is a “fact..?” ❖What is “American..?” ❖What is a “revolution..?”

❖ To what degree does geography affect national development..?

❖ Can a large and diverse nation as the United States be effectively governed..?

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

The purpose of the “essential” question in this course will be to direct the development and expand student understanding throughout the year. Each “essential” question will require earnest analysis and seek deep understanding rather than mere knowledge. Throughout the course, incorporating relevant current events as they occur, each class will collaboratively research, analyze, write, edit, and publish; “Your History of the United States.” This year long project based course will seek to capture the breadth of American History from the perspective of eleventh grade, Bishop McNamara High School Students throughout the 2016 - 2017 academic year.






“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” o Albert Einstein (1931)

Capturing this unique “snapshot” of American History will require all students to collaborate, and compromise in all phases of the project exposing them to the process through which history is agreed upon. This project will have each student working in a group of four (groups will be shuffled eight times a year, at the conclusion of each unit) researching, analyzing, writing, editing, and publishing responses to the essential questions assigned to their team. At the conclusion of each class period, the completion of a short online assignment, based on a collaborative rubric, will capture each student’s team, peer, and self assessment. These assessments will account for 20% of the allocated points for each unit. The grade for the final published work, representing 50% of the possible points, will be graded according to a flexible, standards based rubric designed to encourage, and reward each groups individuality. The final 30% of the unit grade will be a formal in class timed test based on one of the essential questions from each group as well as key factual information presented during class and through assignments.

Throughout the year we will seek opportunities to incorporate current events as they occur considering them in a larger historic context, linking them to our past, and providing a relevant framework with which to engage our ever present future. Due to the limited nature of the school year, equal time will not be given to all time periods but we will endeavor to explain the events most significant to a well informed understanding of the nation and global community the graduates of Bishop McNamara High School will soon encounter.

The intent of this project, in large part, will be to explore the inherent nature of bias in history and to challenge each of you to confront your own biases as you engage in the collaborative process of researching, writing, and publishing your history of the United States.

  • Social studies is taught in order to to empower citizens to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an increasingly interdependent world.
  • The primary is purpose for the social studies is to help you make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.

FAQ

  • How are groups selected..??
  • How will I be graded..??
  • Will there be tests..??