Course Expectations American Thought



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Course Expectations

American Thought

2013-2014

Mr. Dulin and Mrs. Tracey

dulint@northandover.k12.ma.us x 50095

traceym@northandover.k12.ma.us x 50131


Course Overview
American Thought is an Honors interdisciplinary, theme-based course grounded in American literature and American history, enriched with art and music of emerging American culture. American Thought assesses its students through multiple intelligences, helping each student fulfill his or her maximum potential intellectually, socially, physically and emotionally. Lessons, activities and assessments revolve around a balance of teacher/student-centered classes, a seamless blend of content and style in all aspects of work and an emphasis on the student as a life-long learner.
Philosophically, American Thought invites students to become a community of learners as they explore history and literature through three broad “lenses.” They will be asked to digest the content through journaling and annotations, to discuss their findings in seminar format, and finally to synthesize their ideas to create new meaning, constantly reshaping their ideas. The course is entirely thesis-driven, challenging students to question their thinking and encouraging students to take academic risks when expressing their understanding. Through the aforementioned multiple intelligence work, students are given an opportunity to engage in large groups, small groups, as well as independently, culminating in an exhibition at the end of each major unit and at the end of the school year.

Philosophy and Reform Unit: This unit explores the major philosophical paradigms and various sub-categories such as Puritan Thought, The Enlightenment and Neo-Classicism, Deism, The Great Awakenings, Federalism /Anti- Federalism, Romanticism and Republicanism, Transcendentalism, Pragmatism, Social Darwinism and Capitalism. Reform movements such as Puritanism, Abolition, the Women’s Movement, Civil Disobedience and Utopian movements will as be examined.

Expansion Unit: The human response to the Frontier, Expansion and Nationalism and their effects will be investigated. Through these themes we will explore the early settlers, Native Americans, Manifest Destiny, war, economics, art, imperialism, and the Monroe Doctrine as they apply to the emergence of the American identity.

Immigration and Industrialization Unit: Expansion, Nationalism, and the appropriate philosophies and reforms continue to serve as a backdrop for immigration and industrialization. Attention will be given to the driving forces of Capitalism and Labor reforms. The predominant philosophies of Pragmatism and Social Darwinism as manifested in literature and history will also be emphasized. The emergence of the machine and the urbanization of the country will be analyzed in the development of Realism/ Naturalism in American Literature. Other areas of investigation will include “nativism,” ethnocentrism, racism, sexism, classism and isolationism.

Textbook(s)/ Supplementary Materials

*In addition to the following list, students will be given over 100 supplementary readings to compliment the texts. A complete list of works may be found on student grids.

*Books in bold are core texts and all other titles are outside reading requirements, depending on assigned home group selections.

American Poetry and Prose- Grabo The American Pageant- Bailey

On Writing Well- Zinsser Vocabulary Workshop H- Sadlier-Oxford

The Scarlet Letter- Hawthorne The Crucible- Miller

Our Nig- H.E. Wilson In White America- Duberman

Ethan Frome- Wharton The Rise of Silas Lapham- Howells

The Ad. of Huckleberry Finn- Twain Sister Carrie- Dreiser

The Invisible Man- Ellison Song of Solomon- Morrison

Their Eyes Were Watching God- Hurston The Awakening- Chopin

Native Son- Wright The Crying of Lot 49- Pynchon

Uncle Tom’s Cabin- Stowe The Oversoul- Emerson

Ex. from Essay in Pragmatism- W. James The Age of Innocence- Wharton

In Dubious Battle- Steinbeck Grapes of Wrath- Steinbeck



The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail- Lee/Law Looking Backward- Bellamy

The Gilded Age- Clemens The Dollmaker- Arnow



The Jungle- Sinclair McTeague- Norris

On the Road- Kerouac Dharma Bums- Kerouac

Travels With Charley- Steinbeck Travels With Lizabeth- Eighner



My Antonia- Cather Maggie- A Girl of the Streets- Crane

Working- Terkel R.U.R.- the brothers Capek

Life in the Iron Mills- Harding Davis Into the Wild- Krakauer

The Great Gatsby- Fitzgerald Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl- Jacobs

The Autobiography of Malcolm X…Haley- X
Necessary Materials Provided By Students
Students should have a large three-ring binder with loose-leaf paper for journaling. Students are also responsible for writing utensils, highlighters, and post-it notes. For the art synectic, students need to bring in their own “raw” materials from home. For the expansion masks, students must bring in their own flour, etc. to create their foundations.

Grading Policy/ Assessment

Student work is processed for assessment through seven intelligences (verbal- linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, body kinesthetic, musical rhythmic, interpersonal and intrapersonal). Both process and product are integral to course work. There is no one source for the correct answer, but rather a flexible and creative appreciation of the community of learners evolves and refines thesis ideas. Along these lines, in critical thinking practice, students are asked to develop diverse perspectives when processing information. This can be approached in written journal work, “kraals” (seminar discussions), formal writing assignments (both expository and creative) and formal exhibitions.

Students will be required to develop a synthesizing thesis, defend the position with substantiation from the course work, and select a stylistic “vehicle” to communicate their ideas for each of the major units of study as well as a culminating exhibition at the end of the school year.

Homework Policy

It is an expectation that students annotate, highlight, and/or journal for every reading assignment.



Attendance/ Make-Up Information/Extra Help

Attendance is crucial to the course, as we are a community of learners.

American Thought students will be expected to follow the absence/ tardiness and make-up policies delineated in their student handbooks.

It is an expectation that students will complete any and all homework by the assigned due dates. Students may refer to their monthly grids to anticipate upcoming work and to budget their time.

Extra help is available before school and on selected afternoons.

Class Behavior

In order for the students to grow personally, academically, and socially, they must be willing to meet high expectations for their individual levels of achievement. Two concepts in particular that are valued in this classroom are: Accountability and Respect.

Students should feel a sense of ownership for their work and accept personal responsibility for their words and actions. Not only do they need to demonstrate tolerance and respect for others, but they also need to cultivate a sense of self-worth.

It is also important for students to respect their environment. Please refrain from writing on chairs and tables and pick up any empty bottles or trash before leaving the room.


The mission of North Andover Public Schools is to cultivate a respectful community of engaged learners, insightful thinkers, and effective communicators.


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