Kagan, Donald, Ozment, Steven and Turner, Frank. The Western Heritage: Since 1300. 9th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson-Prentice Hall, 2007
Wiesner, Mary, Wheeler, William, and Ruff, Julius, Discovering the Western Past: A Look at the Evidence, Volumes I and II, McDougal-Littell, 1996
Ancillary Lesson Books
Advanced Placement European History I: The Modern World: New Directions and Advanced
Placement European History II: Westernizing the World, 1870 to the Present, The Center for Learning, 1991 (documentary evidence periodically used in class discussions)
AP European History is primarily offered at the sophomore year; however, it is also open to juniors and seniors. This is a year-long, college level course, therefore I prepare my students to analyze documents, construct organized essays-both thematic and document-based questions, engage in critical reading/thinking, and interpret historical materials, including written documents, art, graphs, maps, and statistical information.
Students are expected to understand and interpret the important geographic, political, economic, religious, social, intellectual, and artistic themes of European History from approximately 1450 to the present.
Class Discussions and Inner-Outer Circles are designed to engage students in an active student learning environment. For example, I ask questions concerning the principal themes of European history to ensure that students are analyzing evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship (such as how accurate is the source, what specific evidence does the author utilize, was there anything left unsaid, etc). Class discussions occur approximately 2 times a week.
Group Work is intended to allow students to engage in a cooperative environment. It is also important for students to use successful communication to achieve a designated goal. Group work consists of students working with documents, analytical questions, debates etc. We have group work approximately once a week. Examples of documents students analyze/interpret as groups include an excerpt from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, industrial growth statistical charts, and post-WWI map changes.
Megalunch are intended to give students extended time to engage our course and are nonrequired. Our 90-minute class periods somewhat limit activities that need more than 90 minutes, such as DBQ’s, full-length movies and guest speakers. We have Saturday sessions approximately twice a month starting in February until the national exam.
Quizzes are designed to engage students in critical thinking and offer an analytical approach to assess student progress. Quizzes are typically 5 short answer questions or a quick-write in their essay/writing journals. Quizzes occur approximately once a week. An example of a quick-write is: From our discussion yesterday, which were the two most important causes of New Imperialism; defend your choices.
Thematic (Free-Response) Essays allow students to analyze prompts, marshal evidence, propose an argument, write a cogent essay in response to a wide variety of prompts. Essays are assigned approximately every 3 weeks. Examples of FRQ essays include: To what extent were the revolutions of 1820-1848 a response to nationalism and/or liberalism? and To what extent was the work of the artists and writers of the Renaissance a reflection of Renaissance ideals?.
Document-Based Questions are designed to allow the student to analyze documents (primary & secondary) and construct an essay using skills such as analysis of different points of view and bias. I assign both teacher-generated and released AP DBQ’s periodically throughout the year, generally offered in a timely manner based on the current topic of discussion. Students write the DBQ essays in timed, in-class formats (both during the regular school day and during evening sessions) and as homework. An example of a sample DBQ would be: Analyze the causes that led to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Sample documents from this particular DBQ include excerpts from Luther, Erasmus, Calvin, Pope Boniface VIII etc. Another example of a DBQ would include: How did the French, including Marshal Philippe Petain, view the Vichy regime that he led from 1940-44. Sample documents from this DBQ include excerpts from: Petain, Charles de Gaulle, Pierre Laval etc.
Writing Improvement Time (WIT) is a time that allows students to discuss with me ways in which to improve their writing. I require my students to have at least two WIT’s per semester, but otherwise WIT’s can be scheduled at any time during the semester (before school, during our tutorial period, during lunch or after school) and are totally open to fit each student’s needs. I have found that having personal time with my students through WIT’s adds much to the effectiveness of what I write on their essays and is especially helpful for my students since they are sophomores and mine is generally the first AP course that they encounter in high school.