Course Syllabus

AP United States History:Syllabus & Course Outline

 AP United States History

Syllabus & Course Outline

   Porter Ridge High School

Ms. Crowell


Welcome to AP United States History!

As its name suggests, this is a college level class focusing on the history of America from the pre-Columbian societies to the present day. You will be reading at an accelerated pace and volume with daily writing. This class is designed to expose students to the rigors of a college History course, so you must be willing to devote significant time and attention to the prescribed coursework to be successful.

Course Description: The AP U.S. History course is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. history. The program prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses. Students should learn to assess historical materials—their relevance to a given interpretive problem, reliability, and importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship.  An AP U.S. History course should thus develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format.

Course Skills Developed: The AP US History course seeks to help students develop historical thinking skills while learning about the past. As we cover content we will work on addressing the following skills in each unit of study.

Content Driven Skills:

  • Chronological Reasoning- Historical Causation, Patterns of Continuity and Change over Time, Periodization
  • Contextualization, Causation, Comparison, Continuity and Change over Time
  • Crafting Historical Arguments from Historical Evidence- Historical Argumentation, Appropriate Use of Relevant Historical Evidence
  • Historical Interpretation and Synthesis- Interpretation, Synthesis

Academic Skills:

  • Reading for Comprehension and Recall
  • Improving Study Skills in Preparation for Assessments
  • Improving Formal Writing Skills (addressed below)
  • Improving Public Speaking Skills in Class Discussions and Activities
  • Improving Skills of Map Reading and Interpretation

Themes in AP U.S. History: These themes have been determined by the College Board as essential to a comprehensive study of United States history. The course will trace these themes throughout the year, emphasizing the ways in which they are interconnected and examining the ways in which each helps to shape the changes over time that are essential to understanding United States History.

  • American and National Identity (NAT)
  • Work, Exchange, and Technology (WXT)
  • Geography and the Environment (GEO)
  • Migration and Settlement (MIG)
  • Politics and Power (PCE)
  • America in the World (WOR)
  • American and Regional Culture (ARC)
  • Social Structures (SOC)

Course Objectives:  Students will be able to...

  • Demonstrate a mastery of a broad body of historical knowledge
  • Use historical evidence to defend and support basic arguments and positions
  • Differentiate between various schools of historical thought and interpretation
  • Interpret and draw conclusions from various pieces of historical data including original documents, political cartoons, graphs, etc.
  • Demonstrate an effective use of analytical skills of evaluation, cause-and-effect relationships, and compare and contrast
  • Work effectively in groups to produce products, make presentations, and solve problems
  • Prepare for and receive a grade of 3 or higher on the AP U.S. History Exam.

Pacing Guide:

Reading and Testing Schedule:

Materials for course:

  • Pencils
  • Pens (blue/black ink only)
  • 2-inch 3 ring binder
  • Dividers
  • Loose leaf paper
  • Post-it notes for documenting throughout your notebook
  • Large spiral notebook (designated solely for this class)
  • Highlighters for reading strategy exercises


Required Textbook:

Kennedy, David M., Lizabeth Cohen, and Thomas Bailey. The American Pageant. Thirteenth Edition. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.)

Required Purchase: (Please see me with any concerns)

Schweikart, Larry. A Patriot’s History of the United States (New York: Sentinel, 2004)

Additional Readings Provided: In addition to the reading required from your textbook, we will use a selection of primary and secondary sources, or excerpts from them.  This allows students to have contact with many voices and points of view from each era.

Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005)

In addition to the reading required from your textbook, we will use a selection of primary and secondary sources, or excerpts from them.  This allows students to have contact with many voices and points of view from each era.




We will follow the PRHS and Union County policies in regards to absences.  In our classroom, you are responsible for the work you have missed due to an absence.  Plan to turn in all work that was due on the day missed at the time you return and prepare to ask the teacher for the work that was missed.  You will be given two days to turn in the work and make up any quizzes or test from the day(s) you were absent.  It is your responsibility to get your make up work to and from your teacher.


This course will be graded similarly to a college course.  You will be tested in the same format as the AP test you will take on Friday May 6, 2022. . This will enhance your chance of doing well on that test and prepare you for the style of testing seen in a college course. You will also keep an outline notebook throughout the semester.  I will sometimes ask to see your notes to see that you are exploring what you have read, not merely summarizing or providing a superficial or oversimplified analysis.

GradingGrades are earned by performance on various Assignments and Projects 45% (reading assignments/outlines, classwork, maps seminars, ect.), all Assessments and Formal Essays 55%. In addition, you will have a mid-year exam, the AP Exam in May and a Final Project at the end of the school year.

Grading Scale: A 100-90, B 89-80, C 79-70, D 69-60, F-Below 60

Online Interaction:

Canvas, various internet sites, and forums are all used in this course. Students will create a free student account at The benefit of using online resources will not only enhance the student’s understanding of this course, it will also prepare the student for the type of professor/student interaction found on most college campuses.

Canvas: The majority of assignments not completed on paper will be submitted on our learning platform, Canvas. Assignments can be submitted a variety of ways including, uploading files, typing into text boxes, and sharing Google documents/presentations. Students will be shown how to submit assignments on Canvas as needed. Individual assignments will indicate which method of submission on Canvas is expected. If students need a refresher or have questions, they can access the Canvas Student Guide for specific instructions. It is the student's responsibility to ensure assignments are submitted on time and to contact the instructor if there is a problem. Please note that student activity is logged while in Canvas so instructors will be able to see if the student opened the assignment, if there was any activity including a log of student activities during on-line tests and quizzes. Students are not allowed to leave the testing window during assessments. Doing so is considered cheating and will be handled as set forth in the Porter Ridge HS handbook. NOTICE: Although many assignments are submitted and graded in our learning platform, Canvas, the "final" grades shown may not be properly weighted and do not contain assignments that were not graded in Canvas. For the student's official grades, please continue to access the parent portal through Powerschool. Login information is usually sent home with the students at the beginning of the year, and should be the same as last year. If you need assistance accessing the parent portal, please contact the school.

Discussion Questions:

Students will be given discussion questions for each unit that we study.  These questions are to be completed by the students prior to our class discussion for each topic.  Textbook and outside reading assignments will also be included to help students in answering these questions.


The following links are just an example of the American History Maps that you must know for this AP U.S. History course.  We will do a map activities often in this course. Knowing the geography of this country, as it expands and changes, is essential to your understanding of the material.


Homework will be assigned every night in AP U.S. History.  Assignments will always include reading and note-taking.  Additional assignments will include essay writing, research, and discussion questions.  Homework MUST be turned in on the assigned due date, at the beginning of the class period, or due date and time online in order to receive any credit. LATE WORK will earn a maximum of 60%


I take plagiarism very seriously in my class.  Please refer to your Academic Honor Code for plagiarism policies.  Be reminded that whether you give your work to someone else to copy, or are copying from someone, both parties will be charged with plagiarism.  Penalties for plagiarism in this course strictly follow PRHS policy.  Most written work will be done in class, but other assignments may be turned in on  If you are not familiar with the site, please take time to look at it before turning in your first online assignment.


Quizzes will be both announced and unannounced. Students must be prepared daily for a possible quiz on material covered in class as well as that assigned for homework the night before.  Some writing assignments also hold the value of quiz grades rather than homework grades.


Students will take objective exams covering material from the textbook, supplemental readings, discussions, and lectures.  The design of each exam will be a multiple choice section and an essay section; this will either be a document based question (DBQ), short answer questions (SAQ), or both.  I try to have graded assignments back to you as soon as possible.

Most objective tests consist of 55 multiple choice questions and essay question. The tests are timed to approximate the time allowed on the AP Exam.  Occasionally, due to time constraints, the S.A.Q. and D.B.Q. parts of a test are given on a different day than the multiple choice part.

The DBQ part of each test is composed of a 15 minute planning period and a 45 minute writing period. Students may not begin formally writing their responses during the planning period; they may only plan. This is the same timing they will experience during the AP Exam. I stop students after 15 minutes and tell them that the 45 minute period of writing has begun.  This is meant to help students recognize that the planning period is a good start, but that they probably need several more minutes to plan before beginning to write their responses.

EXAM: At the conclusion of the 1semester students are required to take the a Final Exam for American History 1

The AP United States History Exam is comprehensive, covering material from the entire semester. Students who are enrolled in the AP U.S. History course are expected to take the AP U.S. History Exam. Class time is allotted for review, and many students participate in informal study group review sessions and take a practice test, which is also scheduled outside of school hours.

The AP United States History Exam is FRIDAY, May 6th at 8am.

Office Hours:  Monday- Thursday 7:25am-7:55am or 3:05 pm-3:25 pm

I welcome the opportunity to help students on an individual basis. 

Extra Credit: I rarely offer extra credit for any of my classes. However, AP United States History is an exceptionally challenging course and I reserve the right to assign students extra credit work in order to master the course material as a reinforcement, not just to boost his or her grade.  No extra credit work will be given to any student who does not make every attempt to attend tutoring, or who has any missing or late assignments.


The Key to Success: The most important factor in this class is consistent effort and improvement.  Do not be discouraged if your grades seem low in the first grading period.  For many of you, this is your first AP course and some of you are taking several AP courses this semester.  The load can sometimes be heavy and even seem to be unbearable, but effective management of your time is the key.  What you learn in terms of writing, thinking and study skills will be well worth the effort.  (Not to mention the money you may save on college credits!)

I look forward to an amazing school year with you!


Ms. Crowell

Course Summary:

Date Details Due