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U.S. History 8 Syllabus

United States History
Grade 8
Mr. John Cooper

School year: 2020-2021
Textbook: The American Journey

Course Description:

Students will learn about the history of the United States from the colonial era through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Emphasis will be placed on the political development of institutions and traditions, the development of a unique American character, and the influences of sectionalism and nationalism. Special attention will be given to the Constitution, national government and trend towards centralization of political powers. The Civil War will be viewed primarily through the Theory of the Inevitable Conflict.


Grading will be based on a running total, expressed as the percent of total points earned out of the total number of possible points during the quarterly grading period. All points will be of equal weight and will constitute 85% of the quarterly grade. Grading opportunities will include tests and quizzes, homework assignments, projects, oral reports, and papers. A variety of extra credit opportunities will be offered. Class participation will account for 15% of the quarterly grade.


Students should expect to have homework almost every night. The majority of these assignments will be reading assignments. Reading assignments require the student to know and understand the material in the assignment, and may require more than one reading and the taking of notes. All written assignments must be typed/printed. Many assignments and projects will require internet use, and access to a printer (preferably color). If there are any questions or problems, see the teacher at the first opportunity.

The standing homework assignment will always be to review, correct, and if necessary, re-write notes from class or previous reading assignments. After the first test each semester, the standing homework assignment also includes reviewing the back tests as they will be the source of questions on the semester exam. Also, if unsure of the assignment, students should read the next section in the textbook, unless there is a test the following day.


Parents may contact me at the school by email. Parents will receive a reply at the first opportunity. Parents are encouraged to provide me with the email address at which they prefer to be contacted.

A special website has been established for students in this class. It will contain weekly assignments, instructions and information about projects and papers, links to other sites helpful for this class, a discussion area where students may find extra credit opportunities, and a chat room. The teacher will be available in this chat room most school nights at 7:30 p.m., or any another time selected by the students. This is a private chat room that can be entered only through this site, and requires a ppassword.

Extra Help and Tutoring:

I will make myself available whenever possible to help students. Please do not hesitate to ask for help whenever needed or desired. I am available for tutoring every day after class, excluding faculty meetings, school events and personal/medical appointments.

I will also be available in the chat room listed on my teacher homepage. This chat room will be open each school night at 7:30 unless otherwise announced. Special times can be arranged as needed. This is a secure chat room, requiring a password and open only when I am present.

Computers in the classroom will contain practice tests to help students prepare for upcoming tests and exams. Students will be able to make use of this resource during class and on free time during the day and after school.

I strongly encourage students to take advantage of these opportunities.


Students will need a notebook (not spiral) that allows pages to be removed, rearranged, or replaced.  Students may use pencils or pens (other than red) on tests, quizzes and assignments.  Students should bring their notebooks to class every day. In addition, students will need access to a computer and printer.

I hope you are looking forward to this year as much as I am. It is going to be a great year!

John Cooper

MS/HS Social Studies / Alumni Director

  • www.hopecharter.org/sites/johncooper (opens in new window)

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