7th Grade Course of Study
Text: Creating America, 2001, McDougal-Littell
Units of Study:I. HistoriographyII. Early Native American CulturesIII. World Cultures Who Influenced American SettlementIV. African American Culture from 1600-1876.
The 7th grade course in American history will cover the years 40,000 BCE to 1600. While the chronological time span for the course ends 400 years before the present, it is taught in a way that emphasizes the relationship between what happened in America's past and its importance for today and the future. The year begins by examining how history has been studied throughout the years. We trace this movement from Herodotus to Van Ranke and study the use of primary and secondary sources in the creation of the history textbook. Emphasis is placed on the idea that primary sources are more than just old bones and writings - that they include music, popular entertainment, and literature.
In the unit on America's Beginnings, we will take a close look at the early native cultures that flourished in North America before the age of European exploration and compare them to the civilizations that "discovered" them after the year 1492. We will examine Anasazi, Mayan, Incan, and Aztec cultures. We will then look at world cultures that eventually influenced European and American history such as Islamic and Western African cultures. The latter unit will serve as starting point to trace the African American experience from 1600 to 1965. This unit looks at the origins of the slave trade, life in slavery, and the move towards civil rights in the latter half of the 20th century.The course will necessitate an engaged reading of the assigned text. To insure that the text is read, daily quizzes based on the reading might be given the day after a section of reading is assigned. Class time will be spent analyzing the information read for homework and working on a variety of exercises that will clarify the nature of the questions we will be asking.
At no time should a student feel as though they have reached an absolute truth in this course. While the rote memorization of important names, dates, and events are important in the study of history, this course will emphasize an analysis of the events in the American past. Critical writing is an absolute must in order to accomplish this goal.
A student's grade will be based on their performance on quizzes, tests, brief research projects, class participation, classroom activities, and homework. I will also maintain a journal folder for each student in the class that will collect their written class work throughout the year. The completion of daily homework assignments is essential in attaining a satisfactory grade. All assignments worked on in this class are important. To help students organize their materials, I require each student to use an assignment sheet that I provide for each chapter. Each assignment is given a number and must be written down on the sheet. At the completion of each unit, the assignment sheet and the completed assignments themselves are turned in by the students. The keeping of an organized notebook will permit students to be better prepared for tests and brief research projects.
Last Modified on September 4, 2018