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March 24-30, 2024
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March 29, 2024
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April 18, 2024
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Middle College
U.S. History Syllabus 2016-17

Mr. Michael Clardy, San Mateo Middle College

Office: East Hall Building 17, Room 203
Office Hours: Monday-Friday: 8-9 am, 10 am - 12 pm, 1-3 pm
Office Phone: (650) 574-6468
Fax: (650) 574-6233

Thomas Jefferson"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure." - Thomas Jefferson, 1787

This course will be challenging in terms of the level of work I expect from you.  You will work on complex essays, collaborative projects and oral presentations.  It will also be challenging in terms of how we will actively construct our own assessment of our country's past.  We will then use history as a lens through which to see our future.

The two most important foci will be explaining why events happen and understanding how they are relevant to us today.  We will study facts and dates in this class.  However, we will spend most of our time reviewing major theories and rationales.  Through these two foci, I hope to make this challenging study of United States History interesting and current.

While we examine our past, we will use many sources.  These include music, literature, speeches, primary documents, our text, YOU, art and many other "artifacts" to enhance our understanding of this evolving nation.

Despite the benefit of the historical perspective, the United States (and the world-over) frequently repeats itself.  Wars continue to happen, entire ethnic groups are still marginalized and we continue live beyond our carrying capacity.  My hope is that, by taking an honest and critical look at our collective history, we will acquire the insight that will enable each of us to make positive changes.


The following is a general outline of the units and themes we will cover during the first semester.  I have estimated the amount time allotted to each unit.  These times may change slightly.  You should expect to see much overlapping of the ideas and projects between your English and history classes.

Fall Semester
Unit 1 (Aug- Sept)
Becoming Americans: Context for understanding why the colonists revolted when they did.
Culminating product: Essay that discusses the causes of the American Revolution

Unit 2 (Sept)
The Constitution and Its Applications: Freedom for All (eventually)
Culminating product: Students will debate a specific Supreme Court ruling

Unit 3 (Oct-Nov)
Manifest Destiny and Civil War (The Song That Never Ends)
Culminating product: Essay that describes why the political compromises that preceded the Civil War did not work.

Unit 4 (Nov- Dec)
Industrial Revolution and Social Darwinism
Culminating product: Create a museum exhibit that judges the actions of the United States

Unit 5 (December)
World War I
Culminating product: Re-enactment of trench warfare and the game "Power and Pride"


Final grades in this class are based on a weighted system.   Your grade will be comprised of the following percentages:
1. Homework -- 25%   
2. Tests and quizzes - 35%
3. In-class Community Service- 15%
4. Final Examination or portfolio -- 25%

A    >90%
B    >80%
C    >70%
F    <70%
Please note that you cannot earn D's in this class.  Therefore, anything less than a C is considered failing.

Do's and Don'ts

Please do the following while in class:
  • Be sure that your words and actions respect every member of the class- apologize if this does not happen
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Do the homework—this will make everything much easier (this is what the "real world" calls preparation)
  • Get to class on time—I begin promptly at 1:10 pm—you may miss a quiz!
  • Actively participate in class discussions
  • Stay on task during class time
  • Keep all returned work as though they are receipts
  • Actively seek help from Mr. Clardy if you feel yourself getting behind
  • If in doubt, ask questions
·Please do not do the following while in class:

  • Leave on your cell phone—I will relieve you of it.
  • Be late—if you are, make no noise. If this is a habit, we will need to discuss the issue in private
  • Eat in class
  • Use foul language
  • Wait for others to take the lead—he who hesitates is lost!

Final Note

I thoroughly enjoy working with students your age. I appreciate your energy, your curiosity and the various challenges that you face. Please know that I am committed to helping you succeed. If I am hard on you it is because I have high expectations of the students in this program. So long as you commit to putting forth honest effort, I will give you all the support I can.