Spann/May-Beaver American Studies 2011-2012

Welcome to Mr. Spann's Period 3 American Studies Class!

external image Easy-Rider-WS.JPG

Course Description:
This course will combine the concepts of American history and American literature in an interdisciplinary format. Classes will utilize a variety of methods, including lecture, group and independent analysis, writing, exploration and understanding of current events and discussion. Students will learn to research primary and secondary source materials in pursuit of thinking critically and better expressing their ideas in writing. Students will learn to understand literature in its historical context and comprehend how the historical context influences the literature. Students will gain a better understanding of the connections amongst literature, history, art, culture, and music in creating “America.”

Easy Rider (1969),
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Mount Rushmore,

The American Tradition In Literature, edited by George and Barbara PerkinsNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass (excerpts)The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain.The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien (to be determined)
Various Handouts provided by the teacher
*The teacher reserves the right to add or remove texts from the syllabus at any point in the school year.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama
President Obama,

Objectives: 1.To facilitate students in taking ownership of their intellectual lives.
2.To help students understand the complexity of American culture and how history, literature, art, music, and architecture tell the stories of “America.”
3.To examine the “what” and “how” in American history and literature and to learn to think and write critically and analytically.
4.To help students analyze historical evidence, literary works multimedia, and current events, and how they contribute to the struggle to create a national identity and unity amongst the cultural diversity and conflict present in American society.
5.To recognize the various schools of thought present in the academic study of American history and literature and gain sufficient knowledge and skills to identify and discuss these competing yet complementary points of view.

Class Policies:
external image ginsberg_rally.jpgAllen Ginsberg,

1.No Hand-Raising Policy--This year I will be implementing a "no hand-raising policy" in the hopes of creating a more lively and engaging classroom dynamic. Students will be called on randomly and consistently throughout each unit. I will keep track of student participation by granting them with +'s (thoughtful, perceptive response), checks (adequate response), or --'s (inadequate response). Their contributions will be tallied every two weeks to determine a participation grade. The value of this grade will be determined at the end of the first grading period. Students will have a chance to contribute to discussions after random students have been called on.
2.Students must maintain a three-ring binder containing all class notes and handouts and any other course resources. Students must also own a jump drive (at least 1 GB) on which they save and keep their electronic documents for the duration of the year. Do NOT throw away handouts or homework until the end of year (and you should even consider saving them for college).
3.There will be nightly or weekly reading and homework assignments as indicated in the reading syllabus and/or announced in class. Students are expected to remain current on all assignments. Late homework assignments will be reduced by 50%. Failure to complete assigned readings or timely homework will make it virtually impossible to receive an A.
4. Students are responsible for checking this class wiki for information regarding materials and assignments for class as needed. The materials will be accessible within the unit tab links on the main page. If students want to print out handouts or questions that are not given out in class, they may do so from the wiki.
5.Students should be prepared for pop quizzes at any time.
6.Students will be accountable for information in media presentations shown in class. If a student is absent on the day of viewing or listening, the student is responsible to make arrangements to view it on his or her own time, copy another student’s notes on the material, or both.
7.Major tests will be given and other major projects and assignments may be given during the course of each chapter or unit. If a major test is missed due to an excused absence, the test will be made up according to the instructions of your teacher(s). If a student is absent the day a major assignment or project is due, the student is expected to turn the assignment in the day of his or her return to school.

external image wildstyle.jpgWild Style (1983),

8. Classroom Walls. My classroom walls are as much yours as they are mine. At any point in the semester if you find a picture or postcard that relates to American Studies, please feel to post it on free wall space in the room (after I have approved it).
9.All policies and procedures of The Lovett Upper School are in force in this classroom, particularly policies regarding the Honor Code, the dress code, and personal electronics (including cellular phones, pagers, and ipods as described in The Lovett School Parent/Student Handbook 2008-2009).

external image duke_ellington.jpgDuke Ellington,
55% Major Tests and Assignments
30% Daily Work, Reading and Vocabulary Quizzes
15% Mid-Semester Exam
45% Major Tests and Assignments
25% Daily Work, Reading and Vocabulary Quizzes
20% Research Paper
10% Final Exam

Photo of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island
Photo of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island

Unit Test Grades vs. English/History Semester grades

In American Studies, students will receive separate grades in History and English. You will receive a joint unit test grade which will be comprised of an English section, a History section, and a writing section. The grade given for each unit test will go in your major assessments grade for each class, but your average for each class will likely vary.

Art Presentations

external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRCA6qQMqrhyZg7m2gyGHurFmHyEEjKt4lzb-3SpScRjIbeZMo&t=1&usg=__197f7st5-CFl6joUcx_xuEmVwfY= Jackson Pollack,

Beginning in the 3rd Unit (October), students will research specific works of art and connect them to both the literature and history of the time period we are studying. Students will give an oral presentation as well as a written essay for these assignments which will count towards their unit test grade. They will be expected to research the artist and the art they have chosen in addition to providing their own personal and critical interpretations to their selected pieces.


external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS22TAF2nDTurP4yoay3mLZtwHOcpQYMafJR1UVMnjYyEcApsc&t=1&usg=__CGM__UsU8LbORW0tdWgmWA1WmAg=Mark Twain,

The American Studies Department has worked together to develop a series of written assignments that will develop your interdisciplinary writing abilities and help you to improve your ability to incorporate research and scholarship into your essays. You will have several assignments each semester that will test your analytical and creative writing abilities. Writing assignments from unit tests will vary in an attempt to help you develop a writing process that is aimed at improving your ability to write, support, and proofread your ideas. There will be an acute emphasis on analyzing history and literature in conjunction with art as well as implementing sources in conjunction with MLA format.

external image Asher_DurandKindred_Spirits.jpg"Kindred Spirits", by Asher Durand (1849),
Laptop Policy:
In the event that a student is using a laptop in my classroom and is utilizing ANY function other than that of taking notes when I am giving notes, or is performing any function other than one I explicitly request:
· I reserve the right to fail the student in his/her class participation grade;
· I reserve the right to contact the student’s parents;
· I reserve the right to contact the student’s other teachers in case of abuse in other classes;
· And unless it is specifically and absolutely recommended by the ARC that a student must use a laptop for note-taking, the student will be unable to use a laptop again for note-taking in my class for the duration of the semester.

external image woodstock06.jpg The Woodstock Festival of 1969,
Tutorial Policy:
Tutorial will be held on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday after school from 3:10-3:40 pm. However, tutorial may also be arranged at a mutually convenient time between teacher and student as needed. My planning periods are 2, 6, and 7; please feel free to come and see me during those times as well. You are encouraged to come to tutorial with specific questions or issues. If your grade drops below a 75 at any point in the school year, you may be required to come to tutorial once a week.

external image ntm10-1-8.jpg"The Cotton Pickers", by Winslow Homer (1876),
Contact information:
Mr. Spann can be contacted via email at or at the home telephone number listed in The Lovett School Directory. Calls are welcome prior to 9 pm in the evening.

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Non-combat U.S. soldiers from the War in Iraq,

2010 WORLD CUP RULES: Yellow and Red Cards

Landon Donovan of the United States celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Algeria
Landon Donovan of the United States celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Algeria

Landon Donovan,

In honor of the U.S. Soccer team's performance in this year's World Cup and in my attempt to endorse a greater appreciation of soccer in this country, I will equip myself with an official soccer referee's kit and will book students for any academic or discipline infractions.
Yellow card
Yellow card

Yellow Card:

A student may receive a yellow card infraction for late homework, failure to bring proper materials to class, disruptive behavior, or failure to engage in class activities. In addition to being penalized a for lateness, action may result in an email home and/or a detention. Two yellow cards in the same week result in a red card.
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Red Card:

A student may receive a red card for failure to turn in a major assignment on time, a gratuitous act of disrepect, a repeated offense of inappropriate behavior, plagiarism, cheating, or earning two yellow cards in the same week. A booking of this sort results in an automatic email home and an automatic detention (unless the punishment called for requires more severe action).

Achieve Your Dreams

external image MLK.jpgDr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1963),

With consistent responsibility, motivation, and work ethic, you will achieve your American Studies dreams. This year promises incredible academic and intellectual growth, exposure to a tremendous amount of content related to your country and culture, and serves as a threshold which you can cross through in order to step into adulthood. I look forward to a challenging, exhilarating, and unforgettable year with you all!!!!

Your fearless leader,
-Mr. Spann