The first aspect of this course you should be aware of is that it is not lecture-based.

The role of the instructor is to help students reach their goals, meet the objectives of the class, foster a collaborative learning climate, and serve as a guide when necessary. Therefore, develop a consistent, effective, and personal way of taking notes in class. Presentations by the instructor will only take place when they are necessary in order to move group discussions forward.

Instead, weekly reading assignments and blog postings will be the focus of your time. This approach allows us to engage with each other online. You will then be able to share your understanding of the readings as we “de-brief” in class. Thus, reading ahead of time is essential for constructive conversations that take place in class and online.

For a primer on reading like a historian, see “How to Read a Book in One Hour” by Larry Cebula (Week One reading assignment).

** Remember: When it comes to online or in-class participation the goal is not to speak more (quantity); rather, you should strive to provide substantive comments (quality). In other words, engage in meaningful discussions. **

Blog / Zotero Curator: Over a 12-week period, students will complete one of the following tasks related to their weekly readings: A) blog their thoughts, and provide reactions, to the weekly reading selections and their relevance to the topic of the week; or, B) provide a concise review of the weekly readings in the “Notes” tab for each item in the Zotero group library “IssuesTeachingUS History_AppState”

  • Blog: Consideration will be given to those who marry their initial reactions to larger, more thoughtful, considerations about US History and the teaching of US History. When possible, students are encouraged to go beyond the readings by signaling out interesting “finds”: useful websites, other interesting articles, replying to other people’s blog posts, or even using Twitter to promote a good blog post from a classmate.
    • Responding to at least TWO classmates’ blog posts is a requirement of the semester-long blog assignment.
    • Please remember: The best bloggers are those who have something to say, not those who simply want to fill up space on their sites. In other words: quality over quantity
    • Blog posts each week are due by Sunday at 11:59pm.
    • Peer comments (min. 2) are due by Monday at 11:59pm.
    • Please observe respectful etiquette online and stay focused on the topic of the week.
    • Each week’s posts will be worth up to 3pts (total of 21 pts. for 7 weeks of blogging)

Note: Life happens. Not every week is easy to handle. As such, there are 11 weeks of blogging, but you only have to participate in 7 weeks. This means you have 4 weeks you can take off without penalty. Please notify the instructor when you plan to take a week off. You can complete extra weeks, but only the lowest 2 weeks of evaluations can be discounted.

Final week of Blogging: Week 13/16 (last posts for evaluation due by Sunday Nov 6th/ Nov 27th at 11:59pm)

  • Zotero Curation: If you select this second route, you will participate in the creation, organization, and maintenance of a Zotero group library. Beyond providing a concise review for one of the weekly readings, you will also contribute TWO new entries each week. This new item (article, book, book chapter, tool, website, newspaper item, etc.) will expand upon the topic at hand in interesting ways. But instead of providing a review of this new entry, you will briefly explain why you added it to the collection
    • Zotero reviews are due by Sunday at 11:59pm.
    • New entries are due by Monday at 11:59pm.
    • Each week’s reviews and entries will be worth up to 3pts (total of 21 pts. for 8 weeks of work – see Note above on “Life happens.”)

Secondary Assignment: Students will assess the film The Conspirator as a teaching resource and analyze the film’s corresponding teaching materials. This assignment includes a required screening of the film (with a potential guest speaker). Although a special blog post is the default requirement, other options include posting a podcast (or vodcast), digital short film review, etc. See instructor if you have questions.

  • Due date: by October 5th (last day of first half of the semester)
    • The Center for History Education conference room is available in the month of September to watch the film in groups of 4-5.
    • Please reserve the room with Dr. Sibaja or Mrs. Bly.

End-of-course Curriculum Portfolio & Presentations

Curriculum Portfolio

You will submit a first draft, revised draft, and final draft of your curriculum portfolio. The first draft will receive feedback from the instructor and colleagues via your portfolio website. You will discuss revisions in individual conferences and present your entire portfolio in class in November. Final versions of your work will be posted on your website.


  • A yearlong curriculum map, prioritized, and in snapshot form
  • A Unit Map
  • 5-6 Lesson Plans for your unit
  • History Content Notes for your unit (the US History content you will teach and cover in your unit)
  • Assessment Samples – both summative and formative

End-of-course Curriculum Portfolio Presentations

Presentation should include

  • 8-10 minute presentation: a reflective, personal assessment of your work
  • 5-6 minute class feedback and Q&A
  • Physical portfolio with printed versions of materials (bound, clear plastic sleeves). Similar to what you would take on a job interview.
  • Presentation dates: Nov 15, 17, 22, and 29.

Final exam paper

Students are expected to develop a personal philosophy of education; if applicable, include references to course readings that influenced your teaching philosophy. But above all, this about why you want to teach, how you would promote historical thinking with students, and what is the value of a social studies education. A brief, additional essay will be included separately. It will detail the ways in which this course altered their perceptions – and expectations – of being a secondary school history teacher.

  • Final Exam Day: Tuesday DEC 6th
    • Paper copies of your philosophy and essay will be submitted, in-person, to my office before 5:30pm this day
    • Digital copies are to be emailed before 5:30pm as well.
    • Your website will be considered final at this time as well.


Grading Summary

  • Participation = 10 pts.
    • Includes: attendance, meaningful participation in class discussions, and quality contributions to class and group projects. Attendance is crucial…but it is not enough to get 9 or 10 pts.
  • Weekly blogging/ Zotero assignment (7 total) = 21 pts.
  • Midterm Assignment = 5 pts.
  • Presentation, guided discussion, and physical curriculum portfolio= 10 pts.
  • Final exam paper = 10 pts.
  • Semester Project: Curriculum Portfolio = 44 pts. total [First drafts (# pts.) / Final Drafts (# pts.)]
    • World History curriculum map = 2/2/3 pts. (7 pts total)
    • Unit plan = 2/4 pts. (6 pts. total)
    • Lesson Plan 1 with history content notes = 3/5 pts. (8 pts. total)
    • Lesson Plans 2 & 3 with history content notes = 5/6 (10 pts. total)
    • Formative and summative assessment samples=2/4 pts. (6 pts. total)
      • Total pts for 1st draft submissions: 16 pts.
      • Total pts for final portfolio (including Lesson Plans 4-5(or 6): 28 pts.


Total=100 pts.

  • A 100-94/ A- 93-90
  • B+ 89-87 / B 86-83 / B- 82-80
  • C+ 79-77 / C 76-73 / C- 72-70
  • D+ 69-67 / D 66-63 / D- 62-60
  • F = 59 or lower

** Due dates are the last day to turn in work without penalty **