• Syllabus for APâ United States History

    Teacher: Daniel Rivera

    E-mail:  drivera2@houstonisd.org

    Tutorials: M-W-F 7:30 – 8:15


    The Course: The APâ program in United States History is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in United States 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, their reliability, and their importance-and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. An APâUnited States 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.


    The course will be studied chronologically but seven main themes will be woven into each unit:


    • Ideas/Ideologies, beliefs, and culture
    • America in the world: Global context
    • Geography and Environment-Physical and Human
    • Peopling: Movement/Migrations
    • Identity: Gender, class, racial, ethnic indemnities
    • Politics and Power
    • Exchange, work and technology


    Course Objectives

    Students will:


    • master a broad body of historical knowledge
    • demonstrate an understanding of historical chronology
    • use historical data to support an argument or position
    • interpret and apply data from original documents, including cartoons, graphs, letters, etc.
    • effectively use analytical skills of evaluation, cause and effect, compare and contrast
    • work effectively with others to produce products and solve problems
    • prepare for and successfully pass the AP U.S. History Exam


    GT course differentiation of APâ United States History

    Texas requires a differentiated curriculum for Gifted and Talented Students. In APâUnited States History students learn how people, events, and issues from the past have influenced the present and the future. Students study the history of the United States from the pre-Columbian era to the present. Historical content focuses on the political, economic, and social events and issues related to exploration, colonization, revolution, expansion, civil war, reconstruction, industrialization and urbanization, major wars, domestic and foreign policies of the Cold War and post-Cold War eras, and the reform movements including civil rights. GT course differentiation will give students the opportunity to explore the above topics with more depth and complexity. The students are required to be in charge of their own education using the teacher as a facilitator. To achieve this, the students will be required to use a variety of rich primary and secondary source material such as biographies and autobiographies; landmark cases of the U.S. Supreme Court; novels; speeches; letters and diaries; poetry; songs; and artwork, as noted in the Course Outline.


    Course Text and Readings:

    • Brinkley, Alan. American History: A Survey (10th Edition).  McGraw-Hill College, 1999.
    • Newman, John J., Schmalbach, John M. United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination.  Amsco School Publication, 2015.

     Course Materials:

    • One binder and a spiral notebook
    • Blue or black ink pens,
    • USB flash drive

    Course Requirements

    1.         Reading-In order for students to be successful in a college level course, it is essential that students maximize their time through proper organization and time management strategies and complete all assigned reading prior to class. The required reading, along with lectures and class discussion, will figure prominently in your formal evaluation on quizzes, examinations, and essays. In addition to the survey text, students will be assigned significant supplemental readings. There will be frequent reading quizzes.  Plan on spending at least 3-4 hours a week on reading for this class.


    2.          Reading Quizzes – All assigned reading will be subject to reading quizzes. The quizzes are necessary to ensure that the students keep up with the demanding reading schedule.


    3.      Homework – Homework is designed to help the students organize written material and clarify the facts. It relies heavily on the vocabulary of U.S. History.


    4.          Essays – There will be one essay assigned per grading cycle (example topics: American Revolution, Lewis & Clark Expedition, Election of 1896).  Some of the essays will be Document Based Questions (DBQ). The DBQ is an extended essay in which the student is given several documents (writings, charts, graphs, etc.) and must answer a question using these documents and their knowledge of US History.


    5.          Unit Mastery Tests- Unit Mastery Tests are designed to assess the student’s mastery of the topics assigned. Each Mastery Test will consist of multiple-choice questions of varying degrees of difficulty and an essay.


    6.          Academic Integrity- Academic honesty is vital to the success of any school and its students. Cheating is defined as copying work, using notes or electronic devices to assist the student on tests, giving test information to other students, or any other activity banned by the teacher. You are to become familiar with the HISD Student Code of Conduct.


    A student caught violating the Student Code of Conduct will be given a zero on the assignment, a “U” in conduct, and being a Level II violation, sent to the principal for administrative discipline. Furthermore the student caught cheating will lose the trust and confidence of their instructor.


    7.      Class rulesYou must come to class on time and prepared each day. School is not a hobby, it is what you do. If outside activities interfere with school, your grades will suffer. Being prepared includes your notebook everyday. It also means you must be mentally prepared to actively learn each class period.


    The APâ Exam

    The APâ US History Exam is given in May of each year. The exam is an extensive test of your knowledge of US History. It consists of 55multiple choice questions, two short answer questions, a long essay and a document-based question (DBQ).  The APâ Exam is scored 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.  Any student scoring a 3 or higher may, depending on the university, receives six hours of college credit in US History.


    Grading Procedures

    The following is a breakdown of how you will be graded in this class per HISD and WHS guidelines:


    • Homework                                                            10%
    • Quizzes                                                  10%
    • Classwork                                                             40%
    • Tests, projects                                      40%



    The following is a topic outline of the APâ United States History curriculum. The textbook chapters covering the individual topics are listed. As you can see there are more topics than there are weeks in the school year so speed is of the essence. I will also assign a significant amount of supplemental reading. I strongly encourage you to keep up with the following reading schedule. You are responsible for every bit of the assigned reading. Forming study groups and sharing notes should ease your burden. There will be frequent reading quizzes.


    Semester 1


    • Period 1 1491-1607
    • Period 2 1607-1754
    • Period 3 1754-1800
    • Period 4 1800-1848
    • Period 5 1844-1877


    • Semester 1 Final Exam


    Semester 2


    • Period 6 1865-1898
    • Period 7 1890-1945
    • Period 8 1945-1980
    • Period 9 1980-Present
    • Final Exam