Course Syllabus

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Mr. Grant | Marvin Ridge High School | Room E223 |


Syllabus Course Modules MRHS Calendar


Dear Students, Parents, and Guardians,

Welcome to American History I! This semester-long course is based on the North Carolina Standard Course of Study's recommended goals and objectives. It is a graduation requirement for all Union County High School students. This syllabus is intended to provide you with an overview of the course and of various requirements and expectations. Please read it carefully! If you have any questions, I have provided my contact information below. 

Education is a communal effort, so success in this course depends on the efforts and contribution of the teacher, students, parents, and others. I will work hard to provide students with the tools to excel in this class, but success in this course requires your effort and commitment as well. I look forward to working with you!


Email is the best way to contact me. My email is I check my UCPS email often during the school day, but please allow up to 48 hours for a response, Monday-Friday. If you have not received an email response within 48 hours, please resend the email. Emails received after the school day ends on Friday will be answered the following Monday. I am also available for meetings/tutoring before or after school by appointment.


American History I: The Founding Principles will begin with the European exploration of the new world through Reconstruction.  Students will examine the historical and intellectual origins of the United States from European exploration and colonial settlement to the Revolutionary and Constitutional eras.  Students will learn about the important political and economic factors that contributed to the development of colonial America and the outbreak of the American Revolution as well as the consequences of the Revolution, including the writing and key ideas of the U.S. Constitution.  American History I: The Founding Principles will guide students as they study the establishment of political parties, America’s westward expansion, the growth of sectional conflict, how that sectional conflict led to the Civil War, and the consequences of the Civil War, including Reconstruction.

Unit Outline

Unit 1: Exploration & Colonization – After a brief introduction to historical thinking and writing skills, we'll briefly analyze the factors that influenced Europe’s Age of Exploration and the settlement patterns of colonial powers. We will then focus on the experiences of the English as they explored and settled in North America, with particular emphasis on challenges faced, similarities and differences between English colonial regions, and political, social, and economic issues in the English colonies. 

Unit 2: The American Revolution – In this unit, we will explore the major causes, events, personalities, and consequences of the American Revolution. We will begin with the French and Indian War and conclude with the challenges the new nation faced under the Articles of Confederation.

Unit 3: The New Nation – This unit will focus on the Constitutional era. Due to issues faced under the Articles of Confederation, delegates convened and drafted a new Constitution. We will focus on the process, specifically the compromises, involved with creating the new US government and the growing pains experienced during the early presidencies. This unit also includes the War of 1812.

Unit 4: Nationalism & Sectionalism – In this unit, we will focus on the various economic, political, and cultural changes that faced America in the early antebellum years. 

Unit 5: Westward Expansion – This unit will focus on the period following the Louisiana Purchase, in which America experienced “Westward Fever”. It appeared to be the nation’s Manifest Destiny to govern from coast to coast. This expansion, however, developed numerous controversies, including war with Mexico, the spread of slavery, the relations with Native Americans, and the response to new immigration. 

Unit 6: Decade of Disunion – This unit will focus on the issues and events of the 1850s, and traces how feelings of disunion eventually led to secession and the Civil War. 

Unit 7: The Civil War & Reconstruction – In this unit, we will analyze President Lincoln’s leadership and the political, social, and economic impact of the Civil War on the United States. We will also examine the experience of Reconstruction, various plans for Reconstruction, and the effectiveness of the federal government in producing long lasting changes in the South. 


I expect the classroom to be a safe environment characterized by trust and respect. As such, I promise to treat you with respect, and I expect you to offer that same respect to one another and to me. The following is a list of guidelines that will help support trust and respect, and ensure a productive use of the limited time we have in class.

  • Be prepared, on time, and use class time wisely. When class begins, be in your seat with all materials ready to go.
  • Complete all work, make sure it's your own, and turn it in on time. If you are using someone else’s ideas, you need to cite the source. If you are unsure how to cite another person’s work please ask how. Cheating and plagiarism are serious violations resulting in a zero for the assignment or test in question and a teacher conference. 
  • Students must follow the district and school policies regarding the use of electronic devices. As you enter the room, make sure your phone is stored in your assigned pocket on the phone tree. Remove and store earbuds. Ensure your computer is charged prior to class. Requests to charge computers during class will be granted at the teacher’s discretion.
  • Check your school email and the Canvas page at least once a day to ensure you are receiving important announcements and are on track with assignment due dates.
  • Plan restroom breaks between classes. Do not interrupt class discussions, presentations, or assessments with requests to use the restroom. If a need arises during class, request it during small group or individual work. You must sign out, take a hall pass, and leave your phone properly stored in the phone tree.
  • Students are expected to remain in their seats until the bell rings. This is primarily so that I can answer questions, provide support to students at the end of class, and ensure that the classroom is clean and in order. I expect students to make sure desks are returned to their original position in the classroom and to clean up their general area. All trash should be picked up and thrown away. Resources and materials should be returned to Mr. Grant in the same condition they were received. 
  • Be respectful and polite to everyone. This course will expose you to religious, political, social, and economic experiences and perspectives that may be at odds with your own. I will not require or expect you to agree or disagree with other’s ideas, but I do expect you to be respectful. I will not tolerate any behavior intent on discriminating against, harming, or demoralizing another. I do encourage you to develop and share your own informed perspective in order to support diversity of thought in our classroom. 

I don't anticipate issues, but if warranted, the following consequences will apply.

  1. A fair warning that behavior is out of line
  2. Teacher conference. You'll need to explain yourself.
  3. Conference with parent/guardian
  4. Detention with the teacher (before or after school)
  5. Disciplinary referral to the administration

*NOTE: I may skip steps at my discretion if behavior demands it.


Below, I have outlined the general structure of lessons, academic expectations, and the kinds of assignments students can expect to complete. I reserve the right to adjust lessons and add or subtract assignments based on the content being covered and the needs of students. 

Lesson Structure

  • Warm-Up Activity
  • Review Agenda, Learning Objectives, and Essential/Guiding Question(s)
  • Mini-Lecture, Presentation, and/or Class Discussion
  • Inquiry Activity - small group, partner, and/or individual work focused on analysis and evaluation of primary/secondary sources with emphasis on critical thinking responses
  • Closure Activity - debrief discussion, exit ticket, review of concepts, etc. 


Students are expected to be successful in this course. In order for them to be successful, they will need to be prepared for each class by studying the material, completing in-class, out-of-class, and online Canvas assignments, actively participating in class, and seeking additional help if they are having difficulties with the material. Students who work hard and put forth their best effort will be successful and have the potential to earn an A or B in this course. Ultimately, students are accountable and responsible for their own academic achievement. The teacher, parent/guardian, administration, and support staff is here to guide each student toward success. Time-management and organizational skills are imperative to success in this course. Some weeks may be heavier with assignments than other weeks, so it is essential to budget time wisely, so as to not get bogged down with course readings and assignments.


  • Warm-Up Notebook - Students will record their daily warm-up responses in a Google Docs warm-up notebook that will be shared with me. Responses, and student engagement in class discussion based on responses, will make up the core of students’ participation grade. Students who are absent are responsible for obtaining the warm-up information for the day(s) they were absent from a peer. I will periodically check warm-up notebooks. These checks may be announced or unannounced, but they will occur at least once per six week grading period. 
  • Homework - Generally, I prefer to have students complete the majority of their work in class so that I can support them and answer questions as they arise. That said, I may assign homework depending on the content being covered and based on my assessment of the need for additional practice. Generally, separate homework assignments are expected to be turned in the following day at the beginning of class unless I specifically identify a different submission date. Students who do not use class time wisely may also have to complete classwork while at home. Such work may incur a late penalty if the assignment was due at the end of the class period. 
  • Projects - Projects will be given throughout the semester to enhance the learning process and material of the American History I course. These will often provide students with an opportunity to creatively express themselves and the content they have learned.
  • Written Responses - Written responses (e.g., document-based responses, framework-based responses, short answer worksheets, essays, etc.) will be assigned throughout the semester to cultivate critical/higher thinking about the course material. Written responses will be an essential part of student grades.
  • Vocabulary Quizzes - There will be two to three quizzes given per six week grading period to assess student mastery of important vocabulary terms. 
  • Choice Assignment - You will complete one choice assignment each grading period. These choice assignments serve as a “snapshot” of your understanding of the course material and will require you to complete one of three available options. Choice assignments will be helpful as review material when preparing for the final project and/or exam.
  • Research Paper (**Honors Level Only**) - Over the course of the American History I class, students will be required to complete a 1200-word research paper on a topic of their choosing.  There will be a step-by-step process throughout the semester to guide students through their research and writing.
  • Extra Credit - Opportunities for extra credit will be given at the sole discretion of the teacher.


Each assignment is worth a specified point value. The general value for different assignments is listed below, although these may be adjusted depending on the assignment. Students should familiarize themselves with how much each assignment is worth and keep track of their grades as a method of knowing their progress at all times.  Students are advised to keep their graded assignments in case I need to refer back to the assignment for questions about grades.

General Point Values:

Projects: 75-100 points

Quizzes: 25-50 points

Homework & Classwork: 10-40 points

Research Paper: TBD


Grading Scale:

A= 100-90

B= 89-80

C= 79-70

D= 69-60

F= 59 and below


Student progress reports are given to students at the mid-point during each six weeks. Those will be provided to parents/guardians to view student grades by logging on to PowerSchool. Usernames and passwords for accessing PowerSchool can be acquired in the main office at Marvin Ridge High School. It is highly recommended that parents regularly check on their student’s grades and contact me if there are any concerns. I reserve the right to change/alter a grade if there is justifiable cause and at my sole discretion.


All work is due on time. If you are absent the day an assignment is collected you have three (3) days from your return date to school to turn in late assignments. After three (3) days it will count as a 0. If the student is absent the day an assignment was handed out, it is the student’s responsibility, NOT the teacher’s, to obtain the homework assignment the day they return to school (at the beginning or end of class, NOT in the middle of the lesson).

I reserve the right to assess a late penalty on submitted work. Generally, late work will lose 10% grade value every day it is late, down to a 50% maximum after five days. That said, I am understanding of various circumstances that may impact a student’s ability to submit work on-time. If a student believes they will be unable to submit an assignment by the due date, they should contact me (preferably by speaking with me at the beginning or end of class) as soon as possible to discuss alternative arrangements. I reserve the right to offer or deny such alternative arrangements dependent on the circumstance and whether a student has contacted me within an appropriate time frame prior to the assignment due date.


Students are expected to attend class and be on time. We will follow the school procedures regarding tardiness and absences. Students should refer to their student handbook for details.


Students are asked to have the following for class:

  • A 3-ring binder (may be shared with another class; I would advise at least 1-1.5”) 
  • Plenty of loose-leaf paper or a spiral notebook with perforated pages
  • Black/blue pens and #2 pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Colored pencils/ markers

Course Summary:

Date Details Due