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Government/Civics

Mr. Schoonover
mrschoon.weebly.com
Course Syllabus
Spring 2015
FEW

WILL HAVE THE GREATNESS TO BEND HISTORY ITSELF; BUT EACH OF US CAN WORK TO CHANGE A SMALL PORTION OF EVENTS,
AND IN THE TOTAL OF ALL THOSE ACTS WILL BE WRITTEN THE HISTORY OF THIS GENERATION.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY

TEACHER INFORMATION:
My name is Mr. Schoonover and this is my third year teaching at Troy Athens High School. I love all
aspects of social studies and love that I get to share this passion with my students every day. I find
that a classroom that is organized, challenging and purposeful is most beneficial to students and I
will push myself to meet these goals. I expect students to be respectful, positive and engaged in
activities; this will help to make learning more meaningful and fun, will ensure that I respect my
students and have as much fun as possible to help students meet course goals. If you are ever
confused, have questions or need additional support, please contact me.
cschoonover@troy.k12.mi.us
248.823.2900 ext. 3686
th
5 Hour Prep Period (12:08 1:03)
Room Number: 250i
COURSE ESSENTIAL QUESTION:
How can/will you impact our Government?
CLASS WEBPAGE:
One of the greatest resources that I have this semester is my classroom webpage
(mrschoon.weebly.com). My webpage has everything we do in class on a daily basis including notes
for each unit, what we do in class each day, what we handed in each day and what we have for
homework. My webpage should always be the first place you go to if you are looking for
assignments, are absent from class or forget what we did in class. Please, use this resource as
much as possible.
OVERVIEW:
The Government and Civics course prepares students for informed and responsible participation as
citizens of our constitutional democracy. Students deepen their understanding of the democratic
values expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other foundational
documents of the United States. They learn the purposes and structures of government within the
federal system, how citizens exert influence on public affairs and decisions, the importance of
participating in politics, as well as an understanding of the potential that all individuals have to make
a difference in our country. As a result of this course, students are prepared to exercise the rights
and responsibilities of American citizenship.
OBJECTIVE:
The point of this course is not to learn abstract principles of government, but to have a better
understanding of the forces that affect you every day. The value of understanding how government
works is in helping people comprehend the modern world and to identify and evaluate the
consequences of individual decisions and public policies. Our study will allow students to employ
the skills of critical thinkers, noting significance, change over time, cause and effect, and continuity
and change. The goal of such analysis is to employ procedures to help us think like investigators
and make connections from lessons learned inside the classroom to current issues on a global scale
in order to extend the level of student thinking and increase the depth of knowledge by analyzing
and interpreting text, and applying it to the over-arching unit question.

SUGGESTED SUPPLIES: No supplies are mandatory; all assignments are constructed using materials the school
can provide.

Two Pocket Folder (or three-ring binder) to hold ALL classroom assignments
Pen/Pencil on a daily basis
Textbook: Magruders American Government 2013 - Brought to class daily - (see image on
top of this page)

CLASSROOM RULES:
SHOW RESPECT IN THE CLASSROOM : This includes towards me, your fellow students and the
school. This classroom will not tolerate disrespect, bullying or a lack of courtesy.
BE IN YOUR SEAT FROM BELL TO BELL : I will mark tardies throughout the semester and report
them accordingly. If you are not in the classroom by the time the bell rings, must leave the
class to use the restroom, gather class materials, etc. you will be marked tardy. Students will
also not pack up materials or leave their seat until they are dismissed by myself.
COME TO CLASS PREPARED: This includes using the restroom and having all materials needed for
class with you when you arrive. Passes will not be used during class unless it is an emergency.
FOLLOW ALL STUDENT HANDBOOK RULES: This includes the use of inappropriate language, the
use of phones, tablets, and additional technology in class as well as all other school and district
expectations of you.
HOW YOU WILL BE GRADED:
SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS
o Tests Tests never escape you. It will be my job to help make sure you are ready for
these tests. You will always get a review several days before a test to help you study.
See me before or after school if you need help studying or reviewing for your tests.
o Projects We will have several projects throughout the school year that range from
papers, to posters to group work. Staying on task and working with others is part of your
project grade.
o Papers At the end of each unit we will complete one paper that will answer that units
essential question. These papers will be graded in a way that will reflect your
understanding of broad topics and ability to argue a point using facts and ideas from our
unit. The rubric for these papers is at the end of this syllabus.
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS 40% of your final grade
o Quizzes Quizzes will be given throughout the semester to assess your understanding
of specific topics. This may be given without notice.
o Class work Class work is made up of assignments that are done both in class and are
sent home. The purpose of class work is to supplement and build off things done in the
classroom. Doing your class work will help you in all other areas of this course.
GRADING SCALE
o 40% of your grade will be from semester one, 40% from semester two and 20% from
your final exam
A+ : 97% and above
A : 96.9% - 93%
A-: 90% - 92.9%
B+: 87% - 89.9%
B: 83% - 86.9%
B-: 80% - 82.9%
C+: 77% - 79.9%
C: 73% - 76.9%
C-: 70% - 72.9%
D+: 67% - 69.9%
D: 63% - 66.9%
D-: 60% - 62.9%
F: 59% and below
CLASSROOM PROCEDURES:
LATE WORK
o Any work handed in after the time it is due will receive 50% of. Any extreme
circumstances please see me.
o I will accept late work up to the end of each quarter but it will be up to you to find
missing work on my webpage. I will not be printing off late work for your own error.
STUDENT ABSENCES

o
o
o

If you are ever absent please see my webpage (mrschoon.weebly.com) to see what work
you have missed.
You will have the school allotted days to make up your work, if it is not turned in by then,
you will receive a zero for that assignment.
If you are absent for a test/quiz you will have one week (or as many days as you were
absent) to make up any test/quiz that you miss during class.
Test make-ups will be before or after school. Please see me to get these dates and
times.
After one week you will receive a zero for that assessment.

TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM


o I will allow the use of technology at certain points throughout the semester for academic
purposes.
o If you care to use technology this semester please ask me before using.
o Any non approved technology use will result in confiscation of technology.
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY
o Students caught cheating will receive a zero on their assignment. This usually includes
two or more individuals.
TEXTBOOKS
o Bring your textbook with you to class on a daily basis and keep it safe. We have very
new books that are very expensive and I can assure you that purchasing a textbook is
not what you would like to do with your money. Online versions of the book are available
upon request.
EXTRA HELP
o Sometimes 5 or 10 minutes of individual help makes a big difference in understanding
and learning the concepts that are misunderstood. Please do not wait until the day of a
quiz or test to get extra help! Rather, talk to me as soon as you do not understand
something. I will be available for extra help at the following times:
Before school Monday through Friday beginning at 7:00 am.
After school until 2:30 pm.
Other accommodations may be made if you talk to me ahead of time.
Course Outline:
THE COURSE WILL BE ARRANGED INTO 7 UNITS THROUGHOUT THIS SEMESTER. EACH UNIT WILL HAVE AN
ESSENTIAL QUESTION THAT WE WILL ANSWER AT THE END OF THE UNIT. THIS WILL BE THE GUIDE AND PURPOSE
OF EACH UNIT. WITHIN EACH UNIT A SERIES OF GUIDING QUESTIONS WILL HELP US TO ANSWER OUR ESSENTIAL
QUESTION EACH UNIT.
1st Quarter Topics
Unit 1: WHAT SHOULD BE THE GOALS OF GOVERNMENT?
Time Frame: 2 Weeks
Reading: Chapter 1, Chapter 5 Section 1, Chapter 2 Section 2
Guiding Questions:
Is government necessary?
What events and ideas led to American independence?
What are political parties, and how do they function in our two-party system?
Unit 2: HOW HAS THE CONSTITUTION LASTED THROUGH CHANGING TIMES?
Time Frame: 2 Weeks
Reading: Chapter 2 and Chapter 3
Guiding Questions:
How does the constitution reflect the times in which it was written?
How has the Constitution changed throughout history?
Unit 3: IS THE FEDERAL SYSTEM THE BEST WAY TO GOVERN THE UNITED STATES?
Time Frame: 1 Weeks
Readings: Chapter 4
Guiding Questions:
How is power divided between the Federal Government and the States?

According to the Constitution, what must the National Government guarantee to


each State?
How do the States work together to preserve the image of our Founding Fathers?
Unit 4: WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL CONGRESS?
Time Frame: 2 Weeks
Readings: Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12
Guiding Questions:
What qualifications are needed to be a member of Congress?
What should be the limits on the Powers of Congress?
Whose views should members of Congress represent when voting?
2nd Quarter Topics:
Unit 5: WHAT MAKES A GOOD PRESIDENT?
Time Frame: 2 weeks
Readings: Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15
Guiding Objectives:
Is the bureaucracy essential to good government?
How much power should the President have?
Does the current electoral process result in the best candidates for President?
Unit 6: WHAT SHOULD BE THE ROLE OF THE JUDICIAL BRANCH?
Time Frame: 3 weeks
Readings: Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20, Chapter 21
Guiding Questions:
Does the structure of the federal court system allow it to administer justice
effectively?
How did the judiciary balance individual rights with the common good?
To what extent has the judiciary protected the rights of privacy, security, and
personal freedom?
Project: Landmark Supreme Court Case Presentation
Unit 7: IN WHAT WAYS SHOULD PEOPLE PARTICIPATE IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS?
Time Frame: 3 weeks
Readings: Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9
Guiding Questions:
How can you participate in civics?
Why do voters act as they do?
How fair and effective is the electoral process?
What is the place of the media and public opinion in a democracy?
To what extent do interest groups advance or harm democracy?
Essential Question Rubric
This rubric will be used to judge each paper that you write in this class. Use this as a way to prepare
and assess each paper before turning it in.

1 - Below

2 - At

Focus or
Thesis

The thesis statement does not


name the topic AND does not
preview what will be discussed.

The thesis statement outlines


some or all of the main points
to be discussed but does not
name the topic

Support
for Topic
Content)

Includes 1 or fewer pieces of


evidence (facts, statistics,
examples, real-life
experiences).

Includes 2 pieces of evidence


(facts, statistics, examples,
real-life experiences) that
support the position statement.

Evidence
and
Examples

Evidence and examples are


NOT relevant AND/OR are not
explained.

Most of the evidence and


examples are specific, relevant
and explanations are given that
show how each piece of
evidence supports the authors

3 - Above
The thesis statement names
the topic of the essay and
outlines the main points to be
discussed.
Includes 3 or more pieces of
evidence (facts, statistics,
examples, real-life experiences)
that support the position
statement. The writer
anticipates the reader's
concerns, biases or arguments
and has provided at least 1
counter-argument.
All of the evidence and
examples are specific, relevant
and explanations are given that
show how each piece of
evidence supports the author\'s

position.

position.

Accuracy

Most supportive facts and


statistics were inaccurately
reported.

Most supportive facts and


statistics are reported
accurately.

ll supportive facts and statistics


are reported accurately

Grammar
and
Spelling

Author makes more than 4


errors in grammar or spelling
that distract the reader from
the content.

Author makes 1-2 errors in


grammar or spelling that
distract the reader from the
content.

Author makes no errors in


grammar or spelling that
distract the reader from the
content.

THERE

ARE THOSE OF WHO LOOK AT THINGS THE WAY THEY ARE, AND ASK WHYI DREAM OF THINGS THAT NEVER WERE, AND ASK
WHY NOT?

ROBERT F. KENNEDY

MR. SCHOONOVERS CLASSROOM RULES FORM


Please sign below after reviewing the rules, requirements, attendance policy, and grading policy
within this syllabus. Please feel free to contact me at anytime if you have any questions or concerns.
Also, please include your email address (if you have one) and phone number so that if necessary I
may reach you. Thank you, and I hope to meet you soon!
We have read, discussed, and understand the rules, requirements and procedures for Mr.
Schoonovers class.
Student

Name:

(please

print)______________________________________________________Hour:

______________
Student Signature: _____________________________________________________________ Date: _____________
Student email address: _________________________________________________________
Parent/Guardian name: _________________________________________________________
Parent/Guardian

signature:

______________________________________________________

Date:

_____________
Parent/Guardian phone #: _______________________________________________________
Parent/Guardian email address: __________________________________________________
Does the student have internet connection to access the classroom webpage
(mrschoon.weebly.com)?

YES

OR

NO

If your student has any additional information or needs that I should be aware of please
list them on the space below.
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Please tear off this page and turn in. The due date for the syllabus is Wednesday January 28th,
2015 and will count as the first grade of the card marking.