As you begin your junior year at La Quinta, I... to expect in your new US History class.

La Quinta High School
United States History/US HISTORY
Mr. D. Geil (
As you begin your junior year at La Quinta, I would like to provide you with a preview of what
to expect in your new US History class.
Mr. Geil Why Study United States History?
"History does not refer merely to the past,” said James Baldwin, “...the force of history comes
from the fact that we carry it within us... ​
History is literally present in all that we do.​
In the past few years, Baldwin’s insight has been seen all around us. Americans have clashed
over how history is presented in museums, what war memorials should look like, over the proper
names on school buildings, and whether Southern states should still fly the confederate flag.
Historical movies stir our passions when they tackle subjects like the American Revolution, Civil
Rights, Vietnam, and 9-11. Did you know that even the way your textbook presents United States
history has been the subject of debate?
Most importantly, though, history is the key to understanding the world around us. The
terrorist attacks of 9-11, for example, have historical causes, and studying history may provide insight.
Therefore, when it comes to understanding today’s biggest events – such as wars, elections, social or
religious conflicts, etc. – they can all be found in the past. In this sense, history is more than just
learning names, dates, and places from a long time ago. ​
What history really does is shed light on the
. Simply put, history explains why the world – and the United States - is the way it is.
What we study in this class, from Columbus to 9-11, can't change what happened in the past.
Yet our views about these topics say a great deal about who we are today. ​
History is ultimately about
our values as a nation, and the meaning we give to those names, facts, and dates we feel are
. In my opinion, no other class at La Quinta is more about us.
US History Course Outline:
US History is a year long course that follows the CA State Standards. Our focus is on the 20​
century, which
follows a quick review of colonialism to 1900 . ​
We will explore the major events, controversies, moral dilemmas, and
key individuals that relate to our topics, with particular attention to how the issues connect to today. ​
Throughout the
year, students will be encouraged to have critical conversations with their readings, lessons, and course assignments.
This will build students historical and civic literacy, preparing them for participation in our civic environment.
Required Materials*
1. The Americans: Reconstruction to the 21st​
(McDougal Littell, 2006), and
2. Students will be expected to have ​
3-Ring Binder and College Ruled Paper​
specifically for US
History to organize important assignments and study guides. This notebook will be checked
periodically to ensure students are staying organized.
3. Students may be responsible for completing/printing materials from the Internet on their own. If you
do not have Internet access at home it is your responsibility to schedule time to visit the library.
*If any student has any difficulty obtaining any of the above materials, I would be happy to help the
student get the supplies recommended for success. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the
teacher of any needs as soon as possible.
Highlights of the first quarter's review topics (1492-1900)
* Introduction to U.S. History:​
The Trial of Columbus - Was Christopher Columbus the first U.S.
hero? Or was he responsible for the deaths of thousands - ​
possibly millions​
- of Native Americans? * The Revolution and Constitution:​
Classroom Debate - How
should we view our founding fathers today (especially given their
views on slavery)? Also – Students analyze how “democratic” is
the U.S. Constitution? What did liberty mean to the founding
*Expansion, Civil War and Reconstruction​
: How did the role of Federal Government change
during Reconstruction?
More time and attention is paid to 20th
​​century topics, which are also explored
through lectures, discussions, group activities films, debates, videos,
occasional guest speakers, etc. Some big questions we will pursue in each unit
*The Progressive Era:​
How did immigration, industry and
urbanization change America? What did the Progressives hope to
reform about American society? And what effect did progressives
have on California and the United States?
*Imperialism and World War I:​
Should the United States be the world’s “policeman”? How
much involvement should we have in world affairs? Why didn't World War I - called the "war to end
all wars" –end all wars? And how did it affect the United States?
*The Jazz Age, Prohibition and the "Roaring" '20's:​
Why is this
decade often called the “Roaring 20’s?” Why did it take so long for women
to gain the right vote? And why was a high school science teacher put on
trial? Also, what lessons have we learned from prohibition?
*The Depression and New Deal:​
What did the Great Depression show about the nation’s
economy? In times of economic distress, what is the government’s proper role? Does "welfare" ​
or hurt​
those who receive it? And did the New Deal go too far or not far enough?
*World War II​
: How did the U.S. mobilize an entire nation so quickly? As the U.S. fought Nazism
and fascism abroad, how were minorities treated at home? Was using the atomic bomb against Japan
justified? And should the US have done more to stop the Holocaust?
*The Cold War and 1950's:​
How did Americans try to “contain”
Communism - both at home and abroad – during the Cold War?
Was Joseph McCarthy a heroic patriot or on a communist
witchhunt? Are the 1950s the "golden age" of American society?
And where did rock 'n' roll, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe come from?
*Civil Rights, Race, and the 1960's:​
What were blacks, women, and others fighting to "liberated"
from? What ultimately led to a civil rights movement for all these groups? Was the counterculture a
serious reform movement or just pleasure-seeking "hippies"? Should more be done to improve race
relations today? And should it include busing or affirmative action?
*Vietnam and the Recent past:​
How should Vietnam be
remembered today? Did Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal destroy
American's trust in their government? How did issues in the 1970's
and 1980’s create a rising conservative movement in the US? What
role did Ronald Reagan play in the conservative movement and in
the end of the Cold War? How will 9-11 change the US?
Grading Policy​
The traditional grading scale will be used ​
(A = 90%, B = 80%, C = 70%, D = 60%)​
. "A"
work represents scholarship that requires consistent excellence. Points are earned in the following
categories: *​
Textbook Homework: 10% of the grade
*Formative Assessments (Quizzes, Unit Packets, selected classwork):
30% of the grade
*Summative Assessments (Essays, Unit Exams and Finals, selected
projects): 60% of the grade
Because of the excellent opportunity for lively discussion in this class, some classroom participation is expected and ​
it will be the deciding factor in borderline grades!​
Also, I reserve the right to call on students to monitor their learning. Homework and Test Make-Up/Late Policy:
Late work is only accepted in the case of an excused absence or if the student has pre­arranged ​
with the teacher to turn the work in late. Students have the same amount of days they are excused absent to turn in the late work. So if you are absent for one day, you have one day to turn it in (ex. Absent on Monday, turn in on Wednesday). Tests and Quizzes:​
Tests and quizzes can only be made up if the absence is excused. It is the student’s responsibility to set up a make­up time with the instructor. No more than a week can go by after the absence for a student to make up a test or quiz. Teacher and Student Expectations
Class Rules​
: 1. Be respectful: to the teacher, your classmates, yourself, and the classroom 2. Come to class prepared (Bring your notebook, textbook, workbook, pens, pencils, and highlighters everyday) 3. Participate in good faith 4. Keep an open mind Consequences st​
Violation: warning nd​
Violation: teacher conference and detention rd​
Violation: parent contact and detention th​
Violation: parent meeting th​
Violation: all of the above plus a referral to your counselor or Assistant Principal Policy on Academic Honesty While students are encouraged to help each other and work together, cheating will not be tolerated. According to the La Quinta Discipline Code, ​
is defined as, but not limited to “Submitting for class credit any project or material which is partially or totally the work of someone else, including copying papers, homework assignments or a test.” ​
is defined as, but not limited to “the copying or use of materials or ideas of others without citation of the original author.” Any student found to be committing any of the above academic dishonesty will receive a “zero” on the assignment without the possibility of a makeup, and he/she will likely also be suspended from class pending a parent conference. About the Teacher​
: ​
Mr. Geil is an Orange County local from Fountain Valley. He attended UC Berkeley where he majored in History and Native American Studies. It was there that he realized he wanted to be a teacher. After completing his B.A. he moved back down to Southern California to earn his teaching credential at Cal State Long Beach. He did his “student teaching” at Pacifica High School and has been teaching at La Quinta since 2013. He still resides locally and enjoys surfing, reading, travel, music, camping, rock climbing, trying new foods, and spending time with his family (which includes Mr. G. Geil, who you may have had English with). My Philosophy on Teaching US History
"I believe that what I teach is important and will benefit my students. I promise them a good mix of activities ­ reading from different sources, watching film clips, moving around the classroom, interacting in groups, and especially discussing ideas. My goal is for​
students to become more knowledgeable, more thoughtful, and more mature ­ as well as learning the essentials of US history. That is why I believe this class can benefit them." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Parent/Guardian Verification:​
I have read and reviewed the above syllabus with
my son/daughter.
_____________________ Student Name (Please Print)
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Is there anything you’d like me to know​