United States American Government

"What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence." (Samuel Johnson)

United States American Government Syllabus

Instructor Information: John F DuBose MAED-TED  john.dubose@eu.dodea.edu

Work: DSN: 423:5715 


The link below is to the Powerpoints you will need complete the Guided Reading Reviews


You will be the next generation of voters.

Welcome to United States American Government 12, one of the most useful classes in high school.  This class is where you learn how your government works and teaches you to make important personal and political decisions. This syllabus is designed to help you navigate this course effectively. It is, like everything else in life, a work in progress.

My Expectations:

1.            You will arrive before the bell rings, sit down, take out any materials you need, and prepare for class.  Class starts on time and ends on time.  If you are late or need to get organized, don’t make a production out of it.  Be quiet and respectful.   If you are lost, because you were late, wait until I am done speaking and introducing the ideas for the day’s class, THEN ask your questions.  Don’t ask the person next to you or behind you.  Be patient, you will get a chance to catch up.  This kind of behavior is COMMON COURTESY.  I expect that you will listen to me, take notes, and not bother people trying to do their job—even if they are your friends.  I will note that you were late and deduct points on your grade accordingly.  If you have a pass, give it to me AFTER the introduction and explanations are made.  That is when I note the tardy students anyway.  All “housekeeping” matters can be handled after the introduction to the day’s lesson and before the group activity—yes, even if it is ten minutes before the end of class.  NOTHING is more important than learning in my class, which includes a pass from your last teacher with an excuse of why you were ten minutes late.  Repetitive tardy students lose ten points from his or her grade, unless there is a signed pass from their parent or previous period’s teacher.  I am not interested in an explanation, you either have a pass or you don’t.  Period.

2.            You will do all of the assignments and turn them in on time.  I don’t want to hear about Calculus or English homework.  You either have your assignment or you don’t.  I don’t want to discuss it.  Get a calendar set up an appointment with me and we work to manage your time.  Come see me if you are a wanton procrastinator, and I will map out a plan for you to GET MY ASSIGNMENTS IN ON TIME.  “On time” means any time before 5 p.m. on the day the assignment is due.  If you have an excused absence on the day something is due, you must turn it in on the DAY YOU RETURN TO SCHOOL.  If I am absent the day something is due, put it in the “in” box that corresponds with your period; it will not get lost or stolen.  I accept emailed assignments, in fact I adore them, BUT if you type in the incorrect email address, that is not my problem.  Please put the title of the assignment in the subject line.  If you do not do put the title in the subject line, it might get erased or blocked by my spam blocker, and I will not let you resend it.  Please write your first and last name in the body of the email.  Tell me what period you are in, and please write a professional email.  Abbreviations and characters are not appropriate in an email to your teacher.Bad Example of an Email to Mr. DuBose: hi, heres my assignment. J Good Example of an Email to Mr. DuBose: Dear Mr. DuBose, Attached please find my reading notes for the week of September 10th Have a good weekend, Joe SmithThird PeriodIf you do not

 know how to attach a document in email, please learn. It is the twenty-first century; learn to attach a document. 

1.            You will attempt/complete every assignment.  I know I sort of said this already, but many students fail, because they fail to turn in all the assignments.  Time and math are on your side.  You can still get a good grade without getting and ‘A’ on every assignment.  If you get a 100% on 50% of the assignments, you will get an ‘F’.  That’s just math.  I am a slave to my math.  If you have a 89%, you get a B+, period.  Don’t shoot yourself in the foot, and do everything.

2.            Come see me if you are having problems. I am on your side.  I want to help you.  If you don’t know what to do, you need an explanation, you need help getting organized, come see me BEFORE it is too late.  You know when you are not doing as well as you like to.  That moment is the moment you should schedule an appointment.

3.            You must follow all school and class rules.  Disruptive behavior (talking, singing, sleeping, and anything other than what I have asked you to do) will result in a warning then a detention if it continues.  Any behavior that violates school rules or the Military/ DoDEA education code (verbal assault, sexual harassment, physical violence, preventing other students from learning, etcetera) will result in a referral to the Assistant Principal’s Office.  Communication Policy:PLEASE email me homework or requests for help with your full name and period in the subject line.PLEASE include your name in any text messages you send me; I do not memorize the phone numbers of my students.PLEASE use correct spelling and punctuation in your emails and texts; I am old and do not understand all the abbreviations used in emails and texts yet.  Grading Policies: (Each Semester) Rubric will be given for all assignments  

    *20%  Essays and Group work     * Essential question essay  There is one for each chapter see chapters below. You can turn in up two at a time. One page, double spaced 1 inch margin 12 point, Time Roman font (no variations allowed)*   

* 20% Tests   and Quizes 

* 25% Homework    * Guided Reading reviews for all chapters we cover in class.

* 15% Court Sessions*  Retrial of Supreme court cases  )

* 20% Final exam ( ½ power point presentation, ½ paper exam)

In short, you have to do it all and do it well to pass.Contracts:Contracts are written to ensure that if a student falls below passing at any time the teacher and student have worked out a plan and a process by which the student can utilize to raise their grade. Contracts are not a negative. They are insurance for the students that the teacher is working with them for their success.  Contracts will be given if a student reaches 60%; if a student doesn’t achieve 60% (66% -69%), then contracts are at the teacher’s discretion.  Under ALL circumstances, a student must request the contract themselves.  They will not be given unless a student asks for one.  Contracts must be completed one week before grades are due to give me time to grade them.  My Grading Scale:

The computation of grades is determined as follows:

A - Excellent 90-100

B - Good 80-89

C - Average 70-79

D - Passing 60-69

E - Effort

I - Incomplete None

F - Failure Below 60

P - Pass (Pass/Fail Course)

My Grading Policy: 

1.            Only exceptional work gets an ‘A’, read those rubrics that are given to you carefully!

2.            If you have a B+, that’s what you have.  Don’t ask me about extra credit.  I give opportunities for extra credit through out the grading period.  If you don’t take them, don’t ask me to create special assignments just for you later.  In all cases, extra credit counts only if you have turned in all of the regular assignments

3.            I make mistakes, if there is a mistake on your paper, or you disagree with a grade, come see me at  lunch, right after school, or a prearranged time.  I honestly can’t deal with it while I am trying to teach class.  I want to give you a fair hearing, not thirty seconds while I am distracted with other things.

Other Items: 

1.            Read assignments and rubrics carefully, I spend a lot of time writing assignments, so I can avoid spending too much class time going over them.  If you have questions, by all means, ask!

2.            I assign a lot of reading and writing in this class, if you are struggling with the reading and/or writing, talk to me the first week of class, so I can give you some tips to stay afloat.

3.            It will be a good idea for you to have access to a computer at home for this class.  An i-Pod/MP3 player would be helpful (some of the material from the web site can be downloaded), again, but not required.  If you do not have access to a computer, come see me so we can strategize about you can use the school’s resources.

4.            I know you have jobs, and practice, and sweethearts, but I fully expect that you will devote at least 3-5 hours a week for my class.  Some weeks will be harder than others

5.            Some work can be “made up” and some cannot.  All class work can be made up.  Homework, essays, presentations, and projects cannot be made up, unless there is a medical excuse.  If you know you are going to be absent on the day something is due, you must arrange for an extension at least 48 hours ahead of time. (Example: Your favorite great aunt has died and the funeral is on the day of your presentation, you will know ahead of time that you will be absent, so arrange an extension!)  Occasionally, there are exceptions: hospitalizations, alien abductions, etc. Those cases will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

6.            At the beginning of each chapter there is an essential question that must be answered in paragraph form with at least 2 quotes from the chapter and turned in on quiz day.

7.            We will begin each chapter by going over a PowerPoint chapter revies. You are required to use these to answer the questions to the guided reading reviews. We will then break up into groups and collaborate on any notes taken as a way of building collaborative working groups. You are not allowed to stay in the same group throughout the course. You must work with others in the class. I will be observing.  

Communication Policy:   

Tardies:                   The school policy is that students are given detention if they are late 3 times. No exceptions.   


You must have a DoDDSnet account for this class.     

You must have flash drive for this class.  PLEASE put your name on it.

Rules of the (Pond) class:

1. You give respect. You get respect. You are in high school and are soon will be responsible for your action. Begin this journey in this class

2. No gum chewing, no headphone dangling. You are in this class to learn about the laws and rules of the US Government that you, as an adult must follow. Start by following the rules of the school

Technology: In this class you will need access to the Internet regularly.  You will be researching, and collaborating--all online.  If you lose your technology privileges at home or at school, it will make it difficult for you to do your homework, so please bring  a note or have your parents send an email that lets me know if you will not have access to the Internet for more than a week, so I can assist you.  I will not accept any excuses that have to do with--"I sent it---didn't you get it?" or "My email does not work; the server was down."  If you send an important email, you should check if it bounces or not.  The bounce notice usually comes within 15 seconds.  Furthermore, when email servers go down, it is usually just for a matter of minutes, occasionally hours.  So you should resend it.  If you have a outside account (google, hotmail etc.), which you should, you can go to anyplace with the Internet and send me an email--the library or the Bay Street Café Argentina or wherever.  If you are faced with an unanticipated problem--solve it!  That's what I have to do!  Excuses are not the same thing as accomplishments.

Textbook:§  This year we will be using the   http://glencoe.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0078799821/o    Here is the link to the site if you have any difficulties with the link let me know as soon as possible (ASAP).  

Court SessionsCourt Sessions count as 15% of your grade.  The object of court sessions if for the class to take landmark court cases in US History, reexamine them and present them in a moot court. These sessions are designed so that the class can gain greater knowledge of the US political process and the court system.


EQ: What should be the goals of government?

Chapter 1: Principles of GovernmentSection 1: Government and the State Section 2: Forms of Government Section 3: Basic Concepts of Democracy 
Chapter 2: Origins of American GovernmentSection 1: Our Political Beginnings Section 2: The Coming of Independence Section 3: The Critical Period Section 4: Creating the Constitution Section 5: Ratifying the Constitution  
Chapter 3: The ConstitutionSection 1: The Six Basic Principles Section 2: Formal Amendment Section 3: Informal Amendment
Chapter 4: FederalismSection 1: Federalism: The Division of Power Section 2: The National Government and the 50 States Section 3: Interstate Relations 


EQ: In what ways should people participate in public affairs?

Chapter 5: Political PartiesSection 1: Parties and What They Do Section 2: The Two-Party System Section 3: The Two-Party System in American History Section 4: The Minor Parties Section 5: Party Organization
Chapter 6: Voters and Voter BehaviorSection 1: The Right to Vote Section 2: Voter Qualification Section 3: Suffrage and Civil Rights Section 4: Voter Behavior
Chapter 7: The Electoral ProcessSection 1: The Nominating Process Section 2: Elections Section 3: Money and Elections
Chapter 8: Mass Media and Public OpinionSection 1: The Formation of Public Opinion Section 2: Measuring Public Opinion Section 3: The Mass Media
Chapter 9: Interest GroupsSection 1: The Nature of Interest Groups Section 2: Types of Interest Groups Section 3: Interest Groups at Work 


EQ: What makes a successful Congress?

Chapter 10: CongressSection 1: The National Legislature Section 2: The House of Representatives Section 3: The Senate Section 4: The Members of Congress
Chapter 11: Powers of CongressSection 1: The Scope of Congressional Power Section 2: The Expressed Powers of Money and Commerce Section 3: Other Expressed Powers Section 4: The Implied Powers Section 5: The Nonlegislative Powers
Chapter 12: Congress in ActionSection 1: Congress Organizes Section 2: Committees in Congress Section 3: How a Bill Becomes a Law: The House Section 4: The Bill in the Senate 


 EQ: What makes a good President?

Chapter 13: The PresidencySection 1: The President's Job Description Section 2: Presidential Succession and the Vice Presidency Section 3: Presidential Selection: The Framers' Plan Section 4: Presidential Nominations Section 5: The Election
Chapter 14: The Presidency in ActionSection 1: The Growth of Presidential Power Section 2: The President's Executive Powers Section 3: Diplomatic and Military Powers Section 4: Legislative and Judicial Powers
Chapter 15: Government at Work: The BureaucracySection 1: The Federal Bureaucracy Section 2: The Executive Office of the President Section 3: The Executive Departments Section 4: Independent Agencies Section 5: The Civil Service
Chapter 16: Financing GovernmentSection 1: Taxes Section 2: Nontax Revenues and Borrowing Section 3: Spending and the Budget 
Chapter 17: Foreign Policy and National DefenseSection 1: Foreign Affairs and National Security Section 2: Other Foreign and Defense Agencies Section 3: American Foreign Policy Overview Section 4: Foreign Aid and Defense Alliances 


EQ: What should be the role of the judicial branch?

Chapter 18: The Federal Court SystemSection 1: The National Judiciary Section 2: The Inferior Courts Section 3: The Supreme Court Section 4: The Special Courts
Chapter 19: Civil Liberties: First Amendment FreedomsSection 1: The Unalienable Rights Section 2: Freedom of Religion Section 3: Freedom of Speech and Press Section 4: Freedom of Assembly and Petition
Chapter 20: Civil Liberties: Protecting Individual RightsSection 1: Due Process of Law Section 2: Freedom and Security of the Person Section 3: Rights of the Accused Section 4: Punishment
Chapter 21: Civil Rights: Equal Justice Under the Law 


EQ: How should a government meet the needs of its people?

Chapter 22: Comparative Political SystemsSection 1: Diversity and Discrimination in American Society Section 2: Equality Before the Law Section 3: Federal Civil Rights Laws Section 4: American Citizenship
Chapter 23: Comparative Economic Systems Section 1: Capitalism Section 2: Socialism Section 3: Communism 


EQ: What is the right balance of local, State, and federal government? 

Chapter 24: Governing the StatesSection 1: State Constitutions Section 2: State Legislatures Section 3: The Governor and State Administration Section 4: In the Courtroom Section 5: The Courts and Their Judges
Chapter 25: Local Government and Finance Section 1: Counties, Towns, and Townships Section 2: Cities and Metropolitan Areas Section 3: Providing Important Services .Section 4: Financing State and Local Government