American History and Literature

Course Outline and Course Guidelines

Integrating U. S. History with Educational Technology
Deborah T. Aufdenspring
New Technology High School
Napa, California

Our Classroom - 66 students, 2 teachers, glass walls (for visitor observation) and 66 Hewlett Packard Pentium computers connected with an educational version of Lotus Notes on which almost all work, individual and group, is done.


Course Outline and Guidelines

Class Title: Integrated United States History and American Literature

Length: 2 semesters

Grade Level: 11th.

Graduation Requirement/Elective: Required

Credits: 5 units/semesters

Description: The primary focus of this curriculum is the integration of United States History, Language Arts/American Literature through technology. Secondary foci include the integration of visual art, music, and mathematics. The integration will provide students an opportunity to develop a thorough understanding of US culture and history from multiple perspectives.

The course will review material from the 1500's through the Civil War, but will focus on the events of the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century. Students will use critical thinking skills to analyze and evaluate historical and cultural information with particular emphasis on the development of American democratic ideas and ideals.

The primary goal of this course is to develop an understanding of the way the past affects the present and future. Students should see history and culture, past and future, as the stories of individual lives woven together in a tapestry of humanity -- a story that both belongs to, and is written by, each of us.

Why students need to learn the material covered in this course.
By learning that the past affects the present and future, students will develop an appreciation for the importance of participating in American institutions. Informed and wide participation in governmental and cultural institutions is the most effective way to ensure the furtherance of the democratic principles of the United States.

Course Outline:


THE NATION'S FOUNDING (9/11 - 9/20) Theme: Freedom and Liberty

CIVIL WAR AND STATES' RIGHTS (9/23 - 10/4) Themes: Diversity, Conflict and Resolution

NEW FRONTIERS (10/8 - 10/20) Themes: Immigration and Disenfranchisement

ROOTS OF THE MODERN NATION (10/23 - 10/27) Theme: Industrialization

THE NEW ERA OF THE TWENTIES (10/30 - 11/15) Themes: Responsibility, Success and Power

ECONOMIC CRISIS AND THE NEW DEAL (11/18 - 12/19) Theme: Loss and Recovery

THE UNITED STATES AS A WORLD POWER (1/6 - 1/24) Themes: Conformity and Business Cycles

THE POST WAR WORLD (1/27 - 3/21) Themes: Vision, Ideals and Human Rights

TOWARD EQUALITY AND SOCIAL REFORM (3/24 - 4/11) Themes: Courage and Resistance

TROUBLED YEARS (4/14 - 5/2) Themes: Change and Violence

CHALLENGES (5/5 - 5/23) Themes: Truth and Lies



Instructional Materials: Materials will include a variety of information sources, most of which will take advantage of the technology available to students and staff at New Technology. They include at least the following:

The American Odyssey Gary B. Nash, McGraw Hill Publishers

CD-ROMs: Our Times ; DISCovering Authors ; Who Built America ; 3D Atlas ; American Journey ; TableTop; American Poetry ; History Through Art ; Our Secret Century; Poetry in Motion; Time Almanac; EncartaEncyclopedia ; Vietnam; Lest We Forget: A History of the Holocaust

The Internet:
Various sites that have historical and cultural information

Electric Library: An online library with search engine access to hundreds of newspapers, magazines, radio and television transcripts and other information sources.


Grading Policy: I believe all students can learn, and that they can earn good grades that are a reflection of that learning. I see my job as working with students to help them obtain that learning and those grades. The assignments that are part of this course are not designed as ways to fail students. They are designed as:

1. Ways to encourage students to use skills

2. Ways for students to continue their learning

3. Ways for students to share their new-found knowledge with classmates, the community and me

Students will be graded on the following activities:

Activity and approximate percentage of grade

Class participation - includes individual and group work 10%

Chapter Projects - includes projects, brief quizzes and writing assignments 20%

Unit Projects - includes individual and group projects and essays 30%

Journal Writing - individual work 10%

I may include Portfolio Projects - Students will select 25% of their work to include in a portfolio. This should be a student's best work, and the portfolio grade will be additional to the original grade. It will be like being able to count your best work twice. 20%

School-wide Interdisciplinary Projects - 10%

Each assignment will have a given point value:

90 - 100% = A

80 - 89% = B

70 - 79% = C

Students with less than 70% will be encouraged to do their work over for a higher grade.

I expect homework done on time, but also know that our lives are not always perfectly organized. If you cannot complete an assignment on time, you need to call me, or send an e-mail and let me know. Just like on a job, if you cannot meet a deadline, you need to let your employer know ahead of time.

I am always available, by appointment, to discuss any questions or concerns students or parents have about grades. If you think a grade should have been higher than what you received, I encourage you to discuss the grade with me. I retain the right, however, to determine the final grade on any assignment.


Class Policies:

My goals for this classroom are

To have it be a safe place for students to express ideas, to consider opinions and to learn together.

To have an orderly classroom where students can learn in an efficient way. The classroom does not need to be quiet, just orderly.

In order to make the above things possible, I need the following policies:

Respect every one in the room and don't put people down.

Come in on time, ready to start class immediately. Have your materials with you.


Keeping in Touch:

If you (parents or students) need to contact me, you can do so by phoning 259 - 8493, my number at school, or 254-TECH (8324), my number at home. 254-TECH (8324) is also a fax number. You can reach me by e-mail at school at - , or, by e-mail at home at

This class is co-taught by Sandra Mings-Lamar, who teaches the literature element. You can reach her by phoning 259-8492, her number at school. You can also reach her by going to her web page or by e-mail at



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