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    Holmes Middle School

    Eighth Grade American History

    Course Syllabus (1st Semester)

    2023 - 2024

    Mr. John Strzempka Rm. #16




    Hello and welcome to my classroom!  This is my 24th year teaching for Livonia Public Schools.  I have been at Holmes Middle School since the fall of 2009.  Prior to teaching at Holmes, I taught elementary school at Hayes Elementary in Westland.  I look forward to working with all of you this year!  Please look over the following information about my class and expectations:


    Schedule & Google Classroom Codes:

    Before school starts at 7:15 am (by appointment).

    First Hour Planning Period. 

    Second Hour American History:  Google Classroom Code:  uwgpmwc 

    Third Hour American History:  Google Classroom Code:  5dtpzjk

    “A” Lunch - Help available by appointment.

    Fourth Hour American History:  Google Classroom Code:  b6vyasp

    Fifth Hour American History:  Google Classroom Code:  fh3cxf6

    Sixth Hour American History:  Google Classroom Code:  idiljzp

    After school help ends at 4:00 pm (by appointment).  

    Course Description:

    Students will enhance their knowledge and understanding of American History.  The course will focus on the growth and development of the United States from Colonial America (circa 1763) through the Reconstruction after the American Civil War (circa 1870).


    Course Topics:

    *  Colonial development and tensions - First Semester.

    *  The American Revolution and developing a new nation - First & Second Semester.

    *  Early American government - First Semester

    *  Regional growth and Westward expansion - First & Second Semester.

    *  Challenges to American society - First & Second Semester.

    *  Relationships and interactions with foreign nations - First & Second Semester.

    *  Reform Movements - Second Semester.

    *  The differences between the North and the South - Second Semester.

    *  The American Civil War - Second Semester.

    *  Reconstruction - Second Semester.


    Classroom rules and expectations:

    1. Be respectful. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

    2. Be responsible.  You always get to make the first choice…think before you act.  

    3. Be ready.  We only get to spend a little time together and there is a lot of material to cover.   

    4. Food, drink, & gum.  Keeping a clean and safe environment is of paramount importance.  Only water will be allowed in class.  Please refrain from food while in room 16.  Gum is allowed as long as it does not become an issue to the learning environment.

    5. Sending an email.  When sending an email please put your hour in the subject line to avoid confusion.  Emails that are properly formatted are appreciated and will be responded to in a timely manner.

    6. Turning in work.  Please turn all work in on time to avoid late penalties.  If you require more time to complete an assignment, do not hesitate to ask.

    Course materials:

    Students will be expected to have following materials ready EVERYDAY unless instructed otherwise:

    * Pencils

    * A blue or black pen.

    * A highlighter. No preference on color.    

    * 1 binder or folder dedicated to American History. 

    *  One notebook for notes.



    National Geographic Learning:   American Stories Beginnings to 1877.

    Students will be granted on-line access to the textbook for a more interactive approach in the first week of the semester.  Additional textbook resources used in my class will be made available via PDF download or printed individual materials.


    Student evaluation:

    Grades will be compiled from the following:

    1. Assignments (40% of overall grade):  

      1. Classwork that is assigned during the class period is due at the end of the class session.  Additional time to complete classwork will be granted upon request and individual circumstance.  

      2. Homework is done independently and will have specific due dates and times.  Please look to Google Classroom for the exact due dates and times for independent homework.  

      3. Late work WILL be penalized points. 

        1. Once an assignment is over 3 class days late, it will NOT be accepted.

        2. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to check Google Classroom.

      4. Work that students would like to resubmit for a better grade is always accepted and encouraged.

      5. Many assignments are completed using Google or other computer based applications, therefore, correct spelling, punctuation and grammar is expected.

        1. Work will be returned to fix grammar and spelling issues.

      6. Work must have a student’s first name, last name, hour and date in order to be accepted for grading.

      7. Any work turned in that has been plagiarized will result in a zero and will not be allowed to be redone.  

        1. Plagiarism will also be followed up with a behavior referral.  

    2. Assessments (50% of overall grade):  

      1. Assessments will occur every four to six lessons and will cover the learning targets presented in each lesson.  

      2. Assessments will be announced well in advance to help students prepare and review their learning.  

        1. Study guides will be issued for all tests one week prior to the test.

        2. The class day before each test will be devoted to a review session.

        3. Quizzes will also be announced. 

      3. Questions will follow the same order of lessons and activities that are covered in class.

      4. If you miss a test or a quiz, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to schedule a make-up session.

        1. Once tests and quizzes are over 5 class days missing, they will be counted as a zero unless other arrangements are made.

      5. Assessment corrections will be offered once all students in all hours have had the opportunity to initially take the assessment.  

        1. The first and the second assessment will be averaged together and entered into Student/Parent Connect.

    3. Common District Assessments (10% of overall grade):

      1. These pieces help provide LPS with needed information on how the 8th grade curriculum is being delivered as a whole throughout the district.

      2. One per quarter.

      3. A study guide will be issued one week prior to each assessment.


    If there are any questions about anything covered in this syllabus, please contact me and I will be happy to help out.  Looking forward to a great semester!



    Mr. Strzempka

    Comments (-1)



Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Strzempka


Email:  jstrzemp@livoniapublicschools.org


Enjoying a nice day on the lake!