Honor American History

Mr. Winkler, Instructor

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Nature of Course

This course examines American history from Reconstruction up through the 1980’s and is an honors course meeting the requirement for American history for graduation from Liberty High School.  We will examine the same units as the regular American history course and will stay on the same timeline for the year in relationship to assessments.  You will also be required to take the  End-of-the-Course Exam created by the state of Missouri for the American history course. The course differs from the regular course in several important ways:  1. You will be expected to read more independently and learn the basic content on your own.  2.  You will be expected to be curious about everything and constantly ask questions. 3. You will be expected to be willing think deeply about history. 4. You will be expected to write clearly and concisely about history.

The reality of this course is that you will be doing most of the work.  My job will to help guide you into thinking and investigating history, but this way you will learn how to do history and I believe that you will find this a much more enjoyable process than listening to me lecture about history, fascinating as I am.

Teacher Bio

I am starting my 29th year in the classroom.  I graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, certified to teach both social studies and English.  I am a rabid Jayhawk fan and will let you know about the Jayhawks on a regular basis whether you want to hear or not. I have a master’s in American History from UMKC.  I have taught in the North Kansas City School District, Shawnee Mission School District, and Liberty Public Schools.  I have taught history for 22 of my 28 years of teaching while teaching English for the other 6 years.

I come from a family of nine people and have 3 brothers and 3 sisters.  I have been married for 13 years and have two kids (6 and 10 years old) who attend Lewis and Clark Elementary.  I live in Liberty and am committed to the community and school district because I do not just work here, but I live here.


Your grades will be weighted in this course to insure that assessments receive more weight in your final grade than other assignments.  In the current education environment, schools, states, and colleges use assessments to rate students and schools so students must become proficient not only in content and skills, but also in taking tests.  

To a certain extent your grades for all “homework” are really assessment type grades because you will always get a practice assignment of the type of assignments you will be doing for a grade.  All homework or assignments will involve some type of skill and never be just do learn content--although learning content is a major part of this course.

Grading Scale:







Tests / Assessments—50%



Participation (discussions and seminars)—20%


I use BlackBoard extensively in this course.  All tests will be taken on BB.  I keep a calendar on BB that has what do on a daily basis, and you are responsible to check it if you are absent to see what you missed. 

You are expected to check your student email on a daily basis for messages from me or other teachers.  I also use Remind 101 to communicate about assignments and tests.  If you have unlimited texting on your phone, the expectation is that you will sign up for this in class.

Be aware that even if I forget to put a reminder out via Remind 101, you are still responsible for assignments that are due.  You always have your BB calendar to check, and you are responsible for listening in class.

Late Work Policy

The following is the late work policy for the entire social studies department at Liberty High School:

Homework or in-class work will be accepted for 50% of its original value starting the day after its due date until the day of the exam or assessment for that unit.  After the test or assessment has been given, no work from that unit will be accepted for credit.

The reasoning behind this policy comes from the nature of homework or in-class work.  Homework or in-class work is designed to help students learn or master material for an exam or assessment, not to “boost” a grade in the course.  In the social studies department, exams and assessments are derived from specific learning goals set for the unit and are, therefore, the most important and culminating feature of measuring a student’s success in the course.  Accepting homework or in-class work after the exam or assessment might raise the student’s grade but would not support the belief that homework and in-class work serve to help a student succeed on an assessment or exam, which in turn shows proficiency in meeting learning goals.

Classroom Expectations

The purpose of this class is to discover the history of United States and examine the nature of the discipline while improving academic skills in written and oral communication, in reading, in study skills, and in research.  For these goals to be met by every student, the classroom must be a safe place to share ideas, to fail in pursuit of knowledge and skills, to succeed in pursuit of knowledge and skills, to experiment with new ideas, and to be curious.  In order for this classroom to be a safe environment, all students must meet the following expectations every day:

Be respectful of yourself and others. This includes common courtesy and appropriate language. No food or drink other than water is permitted. Come prepared for class--have your work done, laptop charged, and most importantly, be ready to participate in class whatever that looks like for the day. Be on time to class.  LHS tardy policy will be enforced. Use class time for history work and historical thinking. Seek help when you need it from the teacher or fellow students. No cell phone or mp3 use during class time. Be responsible for you own learning.

Units of Study

Reconstruction Westward Expansion Industrialization and Gilded Age Immigration Reform and Reaction:  Progressive Movement Imperialism World War I Between the Wars World War II Civil Rights Movement Cold War 1970’s / 1980’s

Major Essential Questions of the Course

What is history and how is it done? Why does history matter? How does US history shape our present? What are the major themes and events in US history?

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