Course Description/Overview/Welcome Statement
Instructor: John Wilder
American Government is a Semester class that is required for graduation. This course will help prepare students for a government test that is also required for graduation. This course is designed to help students gain an understanding and appreciation for the creation, form and function of the American Government. It should give them the desire and knowledge of how they can participate in civic life in the the US. This course will touch on the creation of the Constitution. This includes knowledge of the principles found in the Constitution and the people who helped inspire those principles. We will look at the rights that citizens have in the US as well as the responsibilities that citizens have in order to keep our system running. Another topic that this class will focus on is the structure of government. This includes the three branches of our government and how they work and interact with each other through the Constitutional principle of Checks and Balances. We will study how local and state government are often times the most influential governments in a citizens life. We will study the form and function of these governments. We will study fiscal decisions that the government makes. Finally this class will analyze the United State role in International matters.
Students will be expected to show proficiency in the Utah standards for Government. These standards have five major strands.
Strand 1. Foundations of Government
- Ideas and Philosophers that influenced America
- Founding Fathers
- Declaration of Independence
Strand 2. Civil Liberties, Rights and Responsibilities
- Rights of Citizens (Freedom of Speech, Religion, Due Process of Law, etc.)
- Responsibilities of Citizens (Selective Service, Jury Duty, Paying Taxes, etc.)
- Judicial Branch
- Supreme Court Cases
Strand 3. Distribution of Power
- Separation of Powers (Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches)
- Federal vs State Powers
- Local Government and Civic Participation
- Political Parties
Strand 4. Fiscal Policies and Decision making
- Government Budgeting and Spending decisions
- Legislative Branch
Strand 5. The U.S. and our Relationship to the World
- The Executive Branch
- International Security
- International Economics
- Humanitarian Efforts
- Environmental Policy
Assessment of Progress
Students Will demonstrate their Proficiency of each strand by completing each of these tasks for each strand:
- Vocabulary Chart
- Student chosen activity from ICivics.org (includes Web Quests, reading and comprehension packets and other activities.)
- Synthesis Project (Poster, Powerpoint, trifold pamphlet, video, etc.)
In addition to these assessments, Students will be expected to maintain a Current Events Journal where they will demonstrate knowledge of current events.
I will grade these items with rubrics that will be reviewed with students prior to due dates.
Students will receive study guides and lecture notes prior to taking tests.
There will be a Comprehensive Final that tests everything that the students have learned throughout the class.
Students will take a separate Government test that is required by the state in order to Graduate.
This Course will use ICivics.org for most of its reading and supplementary materials.
Our class will be watching CNN 10 which is a student focused 10 minute News update, for Current Events. Our class will use other multimedia sources such as the PBS Crash Course series on Government, PBS Frontline videos and video clips that will emphasize concepts we are learning about.
Each student will be responsible to bring these items to every class period: A Notebook and paper to take notes for this class. Pens and/or pencils to write with. The homework and Classwork that is due for each period. Any materials needed to complete a project or activity in class. A willingness to participate and learn.
Class Rules and Expectations
- Be Prepared to Learn-
-Be to class on time.
-Have all materials necessary to do your work.
-Participate in class activities and discussions.
-Turn in your work on time.
- Be Respectful-
-Keep language clean and respectful to others.
-Keep hands to yourself and your own property.
-Treat others kindly.
-Do not write on or destroy property that is not yours.
- Listen to and Follow Direction-
-Stay on task throughout the class period.
-Respectfully do what you are instructed to do.
- Act with Integrity-
-Do not Cheat.
-Do not Plagiarize.
-Be honest and Truthful with others.
-If you do something wrong, take responsibility and make it right.
School policies such as Dress Code and no electronic devices in class, will be upheld in this course.
Consequences for not following Class Rules may include one or more of the following:
-Student/ Teacher Conference
Calendar of Due Dates for Major Assignments
Each Trimester will roughly follow this pacing.
- Class introduction and procedures
- Unit 1-Foundations of Government (Strand 1)
- Unit 2-Political Socialization (Strand 2 and Strand 3)
- Unit 3-Legislative Branch (Strand 1, Strand 4 and Strand 5)
- Preparation to take the required Government test for Graduation
- Unit 4-Executive Branch (Strand 1, Strand 3 and Strand 5)
- State required Government Test
- Unit 5-Judicial Branch (Strand 1, Strand 2 and Strand 3)
Each Unit will contain
- Vocabulary Chart
- ICivics.Org Activity
Progress Reports and Report Cards
Progress Reports will come out every 6 weeks.
Report cards will come out at the end of each Trimester.
Students are encouraged to check on PowerSchool regularly for grades. They will be updated weekly.
A 93%-100% C 73%-76.9%
A- 90%-92.9% C- 70%-72.9%
B+ 87%-89.9% D+ 67%-69.9%
B 83%-86.9% D 63%-66.9%
B- 80%-82.9% D- 60%-62.9%
C+ 77%-79.9% F 0%-59.9%
I will Accept late work up until the end of the Trimester, however late work will receive a 20% drop in grade for being late.
Connecting Home to School
Feel free to contact me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org
After you have read this Disclosure please sign if you understand and will abide by the expectations of this class.
Student Signature_____________________________________ Date__________________
Parent Signature______________________________________ Date__________________
Parent Contact- Phone_______________________ Email___________________________