American Government Syllabus by 8N7tK4E


									                       American Government Syllabus
Instructor: Ms. Catherine Hernandez                            Instructor: Mrs. Marjory Palmer
Phone: (203) 341-1360                                          Phone: (203) 341-1246
Office: Social Studies Department 2035                         Office: 3020
Email: or               Email:

Office Hours: I am available for extra help by appointment     Office Hours: I am available for extra help by appointment.
after school and/ or periods ____and ____. Also, I am in the
Social Studies & English Learning Center; Room 2038 during
period ____.

Welcome to American Government Fall 2010! American Government is a course in which you will learn first-hand how
laws are made in Congress, interpreted by the courts and enforced by the executive branch.

By the end of the semester, it is my goal that you will emerge from the course as an informed and active citizen in our
political system and a future voter.

My goal for this course is that we learn a lot about American government and politics and have fun doing it. Whether
you’ve paid much attention to government before or not, I hope that this course will be the start of a life-long civic
journey as a productive and active citizen.

Course Overview:

     Unit One:                  Unit Two:                Unit Three:             Unit Four:                Unit Five:
   Foundations of            State and Local          Legislative Branch      Executive Branch           Judicial Branch
    Government                Government

Course Goals and Objectives:

Content Knowledge:
        The basic foundations of American Government
        The organization and role of State and Local Government
        The Legislative Branch and the process by which a bill becomes a law
        The role of the Supreme Court in interpreting the meaning of the Bill of Rights
        The role of the executive in administering the government
        Each student will analyze primary source documents effectively.
        Each student will conduct research effectively.
        Each student will write with structure and purpose effectively.
        Each student will publicly speak effectively
Classroom Expectations:
Classroom expectations are very simple. They are based on civility and maturity. I expect that all of us afford each
other a basic level of respect and courtesy, especially given the collaborative nature of this course. The behaviors below
are necessary to create a learning atmosphere from which we can all benefit:

    1. RESPECT! First and foremost I expect and require that you demonstrate respect for myself and each other.
         o Be attentive AND polite. When someone else is speaking please listen and wait your turn to speak. A
            part of your grade is determined by your notes on classmates’ speeches.
         o Follow instructions. You should be listening and attentive at all times. When directions are given, it is
            expected that each student in the class will follow them immediately. If there are any questions, please
            raise your hand.

    2. Attendance is MANDOTORY.
           o Since this class is simulation based, being ON TIME and getting started right away is essential. We have
              a lot to cover and each person is vital to the process.
           o Students with excessive tardies will not only be penalized according to the Staples High School
              attendance policy, but they will also impact their class participation grade.

    3. Be prepared.
          o Bring required materials to class (binder, handouts, writing utensil, assignments) every day and take them
              out as soon as you get to class.
          o Have assignments prepared on time so you can participate.

    4. Do your best!
          o Put your best effort into all the work you hand in. I reserve the right to request a redo or not accept an
              assignment if it is incomplete or in poor condition.
          o Do your own work. Cite all work properly and upload to when directed. Students are
              expected to maintain academic integrity at all times. Cheating and plagiarizing will not be tolerated.
              Students caught cheating and/or plagiarizing will face disciplinary actions as outlined in the student
              handbook, which can be found at:

Technology: Super Important
   1. School Technology/ Laptop Usage:
          o We are fortunate to have purchased brand new laptops available for classroom use. We keep our
              computers in carts referred to as COWs (Computers On Wheels). You will be required to sign out a
              laptop for use on certain days. When signing out a laptop you assume full responsibility for the
              equipment. If any vandalism should occur you will be charged for any repairs.

    2. Technology/ Cell Phone Policy:
          o The use of cell phones is prohibited in class. I ask that students turn their cell phones off as soon as they
             enter the room. Get into the habit of always checking that your cell phone is in the appropriate mode
             when you enter class.
          o The same applies to ipods, calculators, and similar electronic devices not authorized by the teacher. If you
             use any of these devices in class they will be confiscated and you must pick them up at your assistant
             principals’ office by the end of the school day.

    3. Website: Please refer to my website: (which is also linked to Blackboard)
       for information on the class. Most assignments will be posted here for you to refer to. However, if an assignment
       is given in class, but is not posted on the website it is still a valid assignment and must be completed. It is always
       your responsibility to stay current with your homework, papers, and project assignments by writing down your
       assignments in your assignment pad during class.
Class Procedures:
   1. Daily Agenda: When you arrive to my classroom please take your seat and take out your binder, homework, and
       assignment pad. Every day when you get to class there will be a Daily Agenda up on the board. Please follow the
       instructions stated in the Daily Agenda.

    2. Bathroom Policy— We only have a short time together every day – as a result, please use the time between
       classes to take a restroom break, sharpen your pencil, get tissues and any other personal matters. It is best to go to
       the bathroom during the first and last 5 minutes of class.

    3. Assignments:
          o Homework:
                   If possible, I prefer that you type your homework. Please make sure that you have assignments
                      printed and ready by the time you get to class.
                   If you know your printer is not working at home, make sure you allot yourself time to print and
                      prepare documents before class or it will be considered late. Please bring a hard copy of your
                      homework to class. Please do not email me your homework.
          o Test & Quizzes: There will be a quiz and/or a test for each unit we study this year. Quiz dates will
              normally be announced in advance, but there may be unannounced quizzes to monitor student progress
              and study habits.
          o Class Participation: Class participation includes citizenship and behavior. Make sure you are attentive
              and responsive during class.
          o Projects: There are usually 1-2 projects per quarter. Often time projects are completed in a group which
              requires some communication outside of class.
          o Y-Drive: Make sure you save all of your work, including homework and especially paper assignments on
              your Y-drive so that we may access these documents from school at anytime.

    4. Late Assignments: You are responsible for obtaining work you miss when absent.
          o Grace Period: If you were absent 1 day, you have a 1 day grace period; if you were absent 2 days, you
              have a 2 day grace period, etc. Your grace period includes every school day. Even if our class doesn’t
              meet the first day you come back to school, it counts as a day. I will not accept late work past the grace
          o Major Assignments: A late paper will be marked down a letter grade for every day that it is overdue.
              Absence on the due date of a major assignment or paper must be excused in order to receive any credit
              at all. After 2 days the paper or project will no longer be accepted and will be counted as a zero.

    5. Extra Help: If you need extra help, I’m available frequently. YOU HAVE TO LET ME KNOW IF YOU NEED
             o If you are one of the many people who have modifications such as extra time for tests, you have my
                 undying support. Please remind me of what you need.
             o Communication is the key to your success at Staples High School. Please let me know if you need extra
                 help and make an appointment to meet with me or Mrs. Palmer.
Grades for the course will be determined by a point system. Assignments will range from 10 – 100 points in value,
depending on the length of student preparation time required. Your final grade is based on the number of points you
accumulate divided by the total number of possible points. For example, a student who received 400 out of a possible 500
points will receive a B- (80%). Each quarter will be worth 45% and the final exam 10%.

   Blue or black pens and pencils
   Highlighter (at least 2 different colors)
   3 Ring Binder with 6 tabs: 1) Class Info 2) Foundations of Government 3) State and Local Government 4)
    Legislative Branch 5) Executive Branch 6) Judicial Branch You will also need to have lined paper for note

Please review this information with a parent or guardian and fill out the attached slip. Please return it to me tomorrow.
          American Government Student Information
Student’s Name:

Textbook Record:

                       I promise to be responsible for the following books during the time loaned to me.

Title of Book Loaned                          Number                                           Condition
____________________________          BOOK NUMBER: ________________________            New___ Good ___ Fair____

Parent's/ Guardian’s Names:

Parent's/ Guardian’s phone numbers:

Parent's/ Guardian’s email:


Describe yourself as a student: best ways you learn, classroom activities you like/dislike, any particular difficulties Ms.
Hernandez should know about:

By signing this sheet, I acknowledge that I have read and understand Ms. Hernandez’s classroom rules and expectations
as outlined in her syllabus and I promise to abide by them. I understand that my cooperation with these guidelines will
help to create a stimulating and caring learning environment.

________________________________                   ___________________________________________               _____________
Student Name (printed)                                          Student Signature                            Date

________________________________                   ___________________________________________               _____________
Parent Name (printed)                                           Parent Signature                             Date

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