Sophomore Integrated American Studies "The Combo!"
2009-2010 Outline (Blocks 1 + 4 / Academy Rooms 203-204)
Mr. David Nelson and Mr. William Papatassos (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)
Brief Description of Course: The American Studies Sophomore “Combo!” will fulfill the curriculum goals for Honors Language Arts
and Honors American Studies. The course will be team-taught by two instructors, and each unit will be integrated based on themes and a series of essential questions posed to the students. This course will challenge students to excel in writing, speaking, listening as they prepare for possible
entry into the IB Diploma program.
Course Goals: Students will utilize content, and materials, from both disciplines, to answer the essential questions for each unit. They will integrate the knowledge of history, culture, and political-economic systems in America, with the study of literature, language, and writing skills. Students will learn the elements, genres of literature, and modes of writing. Viewing, listening, speaking skills, PSAT/SAT vocabulary and grammar will be incorporated.
Textbooks: Textbooks include The Language of Literature: American Literature, American Odyssey, Writers Inc: A Student Handbook for
Writing and Learning.
Assessment Criteria: Language A assessment criteria will focus on Content, Organization, Use of Language, Oral and Listening Skills.
Social Studies assessment criteria will focus on Knowledge, Concepts, Skills, Organization and Presentation of Information.
Assessment Methods: Students are assessed through a variety of formative and summative methods. They include: Homework, Class work
(quizzes, writing, activities, reading), Major Assessments (tests, projects, essays, presentations, authentic assessment), Approaches to Learning. Formal Language Arts assessment will focus on essay writing, responding to literature, and creative writing. Formal Social Studies assessment will focus on essay writing, public speaking, projects, document based questions. Late work will receive a D- grade. Students receive separate grades for Language Arts and Social Studies.
Grade Calculation: 20% Class Work (Responses, reflections, reading, notes, quizzes, exercises); 20% Homework; 40% Major Assessments
(Tests, Projects, Essays, Presentations, Authentic Assessment); 20% Approaches to Learning (participation, organization, time management); 20% of the Semester Grade is based on the Final Exam.
OUTLINE OF COURSE
Unit I: Origins of American Values (September 3-21, 2009)
Theme: American Values, Birth of the American Ideology
Essential Questions: How does the world view America? Where did American Values originate? How does history and literature shape
one’s perceptions? What are the positive and negative facets of modern day America? (Year-long question)
Personal Connections: How have your life experiences shaped your view of America?
What do you seek in life and where did those values come from?
Interdisciplinary unit: American Values Abroad
Social Studies: Interviews, origins of American Values, subjectivity –vs- objectivity, artifact activity, topographic regions USA, “flying over USA.”
Literature: Silko “The Man To Send Rain Clouds,” Momaday “The Way To Rainy Mountain,” cultural objects of America, Equiano “The
Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano,” Angelou “My Sojourn in the Lands of My Ancestors”, Eyewitness Report.
Assessment: Language A - Creative Writing-Eyewitness Report. Social Studies/Geography – Application of Skills, Combo Writing Assessment
Unit II: Immigration (September 23-October 19, 2009)
Theme: American Immigration-Assimilation
Essential Questions: To what extent do immigrants assimilate to the American culture and what factors affect the degree of assimilation?
What values did the Puritans create and which of these values exist in America today? What is the American Dream & is it an illusion or reality? How did the American Dream affect immigrants? Is America a melting pot or salad bowl?
Personal Question: What factors affect one’s level of assimilation to another culture? What is your definition of success and failure? What
forces in your life have caused you to move or be moved? To what extent do people include or exclude other cultures?
Interdisciplinary unit: Modern Day Immigration Newspaper Features
Social Studies: Puritanism/work ethic, periods of immigration, theories of Push/Pull, assimilation, segregation, compromise, melting pot –vs- salad bowl, geography: demographic characteristics of North and South; graphing of Immigration patterns to US.
Literature: Bradstreet “To My Dear and Loving Husband” and “Upon the Burning of Our House,” Edwards “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry
God,” Miller “The Crucible,” Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter, Yezierka “America and I,” Jackson “The Lottery,” Immigration Newspaper Features, Literary Essay.
Assessment: Language A – Literary Essay; Social Studies – Extended Writing Response
Unit III: Legacy of the Constitution
(October 21–November 25, 2009)
Theme: Liberty and Social Responsibility
Essential Questions: To what extent should absolute freedoms exist? Does the U.S. Constitution guarantee absolute freedoms? To what extent is the U.S. Constitution effective and preserved?
Personal Connections: What kinds of liberty and freedom should people have?
Should all people have the same liberties and freedoms? How can citizens and leaders demonstrate social responsibility?
Interdisciplinary unit: Constitutional Debates
Social Studies: Founding Fathers, Constitutional development, Revolutionary War, the Three Branches of Government, modern constitutional
questions and debate.
Literature: Henry “Speech in Virginia Convention,” Jefferson “Declaration of Independence,” Wheatley “Letter to Rev. Samson Occom,” Adams
“Letter to John Adams,” De Crevecoeur “What Is An American,” Franklin “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” Persuasive Writing and Speaking.
Assessment: Language A and Social Studies: Constitutional Debates
End of First Quarter (November 6, 2009)
Unit IV: Conflict and Expansion (December 1 -December 11, 2009)
Theme: Costs and Benefits of an expanding nation
Essential Questions: What were the impacts of American expansionism? What are the costs and benefits of modern globalization? What
were the origins of civil disobedience among American intellectuals? What is the role of the individual in society? (Year-long question)
Personal Connection: To what extent is civil disobedience a part of society? How can you expand your own analysis of costs and benefits
within your decision making process? What power do consumers have to promote civic responsibility?
Interdisciplinary unit: Civil Disobedience in the modern world
Social Studies: Manifest Destiny, modes of expansion, Imperialism, the Native American question, Industrialization, Progressivism, sustainable
development, modern globalization, neo-imperialism; Geography: tracing expansion of infrastructure, cause/effect, renewable –vs- non-renewable sources.
Literature: Emerson “Self-Reliance,” Thoreau “Civil Disobedience,” Gandhi “On Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau “from Walden,” Whitman “I Hear
America Singing,” “I Sit and Look Out,” “Song of Myself,” Keillor “Gary Keillor,” Poe “Masque of the Red Death,” “The Raven,” “The Fall of the
House of Usher,” Hawthorne “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” Melville “Bartleby,” Twain “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” “Life on the
Mississippi,” Cather “A Wagner Matinee,” F.Scott Fitzgerald “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Response Writing.
Assessment: Language A – Response Writing; Social Studies – Case Study
Unit V: World War I and A Changing America (December 15, 2009-January 11, 2010)
Theme: Militarism & Nationalism
Essential Questions: What roles did nationalism and militarism play in World War I?
In what ways did U.S. nationalism change as a result of World War I? To what extent is life and history cyclical?
Personal Connections: How nationalistic are you?
What actions does your country take to make you more or less nationalistic?
Social Studies: Causes of WW I/simulation, military strategies of WWI, Self Determination, Alliances, American Neutrality and its myths, Wilson’s
Fourteen Points, and the League of Nations; Geography: interpreting graphs, maps, charts, nations –vs- states.
Literature: Dickinson poems, Wilder “Our Town,” response writing.
Assessment: Language A – Response Writing; Social Studies – Self Reflection of Own Nationalism
(End of Quarter 2 and Semester 1 on Jan. 22, 2010)
Unit VI: Changing Times: The Roaring 1920s & The Great Depression (January 25, 2010- February 19,2010)
Theme: Success and Quality of Life
Essential Questions: How do Americans define success? Prosperity? Happiness?
Do good times lead to overindulgence and complacency?
Are there any similarities between the decades of the 20s and 30s and today?
Personal Connections: How do you separate your needs from wants?
What brings you the most happiness? Why?
Interdisciplinary unit: 1920s Happiness Essay
Social Studies: Standard of living, the Roaring 1920s, Great Depression, Jazz Age, Prohibition, Mafia, Stock Market Simulation, Dust Bowl, FDR
and the New Deal; Geography: interpreting graphs of standard of living in 1920s-1930s.
Literature: Hughes’ “I Too,” “Harlem,” “The Weary Blues,” Hurston’s “How It Feels to be Colored Me,” Walker’s “The Welcome Table,” “The
Flowers,” Baldwin’s “My Dungeon Shook,” Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby.
Assessment: Language A and Social Studies – Happiness Essay. Language A: Commentary Writing.
Unit VII: World War II (February 23-March 24, 2010)
Theme: Nationalism and Propaganda
Essential Questions: Is there such a thing as a Just War?
How is propaganda used in the modern world?
Why did the United States refuse to enter the War for so long?
Was Truman justified in dropping the Atomic bomb?
Personal Connections: Is conflict ever justified? Can our world be free of propaganda?
Interdisciplinary unit: The Trial of Truman
Social Studies: Just War Theory, Theories of Conflict & War, Propaganda, Holocaust, Nazism, Fascism, Japanese internment, Two Theaters of
War, Blitzkrieg, unconditional surrender, island-hopping, civilians –vs- non civilians, conventional warfare, war bonds, deficit spending, weapons
development and technological advancement; geography: impact analysis of population centers.
Literature: Malamud “Armistice,” Levi “Survival in Auschwitz,” Jarrell “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner,” Steinbeck “Why Soldiers Won’t
Talk,” Didion “Letter from Paradise,” Okita “In Response to Executive Order 9066,” Miller “Death of a Salesman,” “Milgram Experiment.”
Assessment: Language A and Social Studies – Truman Trial Language A: Comparative Literature Essay Test
End of Third Quarter (March 24, 2010)
Unit VIII: The Cold War (April 8-April 30, 2010)
Theme: National Security and Foreign Policy
Essential Questions: Was communism a threat to the U.S. National Security?
Who caused the Cold War?
Where in today’s world could a witch-hunt take place?
Personal Connections: Is fear of another culture or political system justified?
Interdisciplinary unit: Cold War Simulations
Social Studies: National Security, Cold War, modern parallels to the Cold War, Red Scare, communism –vs- capitalism, containment, Brinkmanship, Escalation, Balance of Power, Domino Theory, escalation, analysis of Cold War causes: Orthodox, Realist, & Revisionist. Geography: visual displays of a bi-polar world, Cold War Incidents Game, Prisoners Dilemma Simulation.
Literature: Miller “The Crucible,” Salinger Catcher in the Rye, The Hollywood Ten, “Good Night and Good Luck,” “Guilty By Suspicion.”
Assessment: Language A – Creative Writing; Social Studies – Essay Assessment of Causes of Cold War
Unit IX : The Civil Rights Struggle [1945-1980] (May 4-June 4, 2010)
Theme: Developing a Social Consciousness & Affecting Change
*This Unit will be conducted as a pre-IB course. Students choosing to enroll in IB History will be able to utilize all materials for exam prep.
Why does racism and inequality exist, and how do societies perpetuate it?
What methods did civil rights protesters use and how effective were they?
Can racial intolerance and inequality be done away with?
How did the US government react during the civil rights struggle?
How can you help influence the social consciousness of younger students at ACS?
How can you become “socially conscious” and civically responsible?
Interdisciplinary unit: Media Analysis
Social Studies: Social Consciousness, Civil Disobedience, Racism, Civil Rights, Segregation, Jim Crow Laws, Boycotts & Protests, Civil Rights
Leaders; Geography: demographic displays of race, economic status, and education. US Supreme Court & Legal Challenges, Black Panthers, Black
Power, Harvey Milk, & Feminism.
Literature: Irving A Prayer for Owen Meany, MLK Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Doctorow “The Writer in the Family,” Updike “The A&P”,
MLK Jr. “Stride Toward Freedom,” Malcolm X “Necessary to Protect Ourselves,” Marie Brenner “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” “The Insider,” Native Americans and Civil Rights.
Assessment: Presentations: Impact of media in affecting social change
Approaches to Learning
Skills and Attitudes
Personal and Social Skills and Attitudes
A. Listen (Listening to teacher’s directions and instructions as well as to the opinions and questions of fellow students in
class or group work. Listening also implies that the mind of the student is not wandering and that s/he is not “messing
B. Show respect (Self-respect, respect for materials, property, the environment, others – teacher, staff, etc. –, subject-
specific and library rules, as well as respect for other cultures and viewpoints)
C. Cooperate in groups (This includes groups from pairs to many students in subjects, special projects, activities, as well
as in sporting events; cooperation in a positive and constructive way)
D. Persevere (This requires concentration and is necessary to complete tasks or solve problems as independently as
possible both inside and out of class. This attitude must be viewed independently of the success of the student with
the task.) Time Management Skills and Attitudes
E. Be punctual and prepared (This includes timely attendance to classes and other activities as well as being prepared
for classes by having the appropriate equipment, books, Planner to write down homework, dress/shoes for sports, etc.)
F. Use time effectively (This involves the management of class time by handling practical and theoretical tasks in an
organized way without unnecessary time wastage or interfering with others working.)
Study Skills and Attitudes
G. Plan and meet deadlines (Organizing time between classes, using homework diaries or Planner as well as adhering to
deadlines for short-term homework assignments, longer-term projects as well as other general activities)
H. Research effectively (Using a range of acknowledged sources, e.g., internet, books, TV, radio, people, magazines,
newspapers, personal visits and investigations, being able to judge their effectiveness, not plagiarizing, and being able
to document them using accepted ACS format.)