12th Grade Civics

“…So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.”



The end is near! Kind of. The senior level study of civics will be broken into two classes – government and economics. As seniors it is an exciting time but don’t rush it; there is much to learn and prepare for. On the brink of full immersion into the adult world it is best to be informed. The role of citizen bears great burden and responsibility especially in a country like the United States. My hope is that throughout the semester we will develop a strong sense of our role in government, our rights, our responsibilities, and take a great leap forward towards understanding our own convictions – our strongest beliefs. There are more powerful issues to discuss than one half year allows us to so we will build a foundation and examine issues that matter to you.

Target Skills to Develop:

  • Writing – Expository writing, creating claims, justifying statements with factual evidence from texts.
  • Reading – Critical analysis, text coding and annotating.
  • Social studies literacy elements – Maps, tables, charts, graphs and diagrams.
  • Character – The mental and moral qualities of an individual. Tolerance and empathy will be developed through out study of human history including tragedies and great acts of kinds and sacrifice.

Methods of Instruction:

Throughout this year we will be exploring social studies through many forms. At the senior level, many of the lessons will be based on your inquiry into topics, revolve around discussion and debate, and critical analysis of a variety of texts that challenge you to question your own thoughts and the credibility, bias, and “facts” presented. Be prepared to work from bell to bell every day. Class begins and ends when dismissed.

Key Classroom Policies:

  1. Be respectful of everyone in the classroom (peers, aides, substitutes, guests, administrators, myself, and yourself as well)
  2. Come prepared.
  3. Go to the restroom between periods. You may sign out but if data shows you’re leaving “often” I will be forced to investigate the issue further.
  4. Don’t cheat! It’s just not worth it. If you’re honestly struggling, let me know, we will get through it together!

Attendance and Make Up Work:

Students that are absent should do their best to contact me using the class website, email, or phone (call the school!) in effort to find out what assignments they are missing and where they can find the course materials. To begin the year, overdue work will be accepted with no penalties until the fifth late assignment is turned in. After the fifth assignment, overdue work will receive point deductions and ultimately result in phone calls home. This policy is under my discretion and extenuating circumstances are considered as they occur. While homework and content may be completed outside of class I believe the majority of learning comes from in class participation and group activities.

  • Chronic absenteeism will be reflected by the school’s policy.

Course Requirements:

The grading system used will follow the same schedule as noted in your student handbook as determined by the district.

The class will be graded on a 0-100 scale and assignments are weighted as shown below:

  • Exams: 15%
  • Current Events & Reading Journals: 20%
  • Papers: 25%
  • Projects: 20%
  • Homework: 20%

Academic Integrity:

Any plagiarism and/or academic dishonesty will be handled in accordance to the school handbook.

Please see me if you have any questions about academic dishonesty including plagiarism.

Course Resources:

Several supplemental resources for students can be found on the class website, ilovesocialstudies.com, to help improve literacy skills and organizational skills.

  • 2.5” binder, D-Ring
  • Binder dividers with labels
  • Loose leaf paper (college or wide ruled)
  • Black/Blue pens
  • Pencils (#2 and colored)
  • 2 Pocket folder
  • Composition Notebook

Final Thoughts:

The study of government is more than just politics. To shake your head and turn your back on domestic and global issues is too easy and leaves communities vulnerable. Being informed, sharing opinions, and standing up for what you believe in requires strength and courage – I hope to see it develop throughout the year.

“What, then, is the government? An intermediary body established between the subjects and the sovereign for their mutual communication, a body charged with the execution of the laws and the maintenance of freedom, both civil and political.”

– Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract