Bruton High School

Bruton High School


History of the Modern World


Instructor: Martha Jane McArthur / Telephone #: (757) 229-6026 (school)
Fax#: (757) 259-1401 / E-Mail:
Office Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 3-3:45 in Room 111


A. World History(Prentice Hall: Ellis and Esler,2009: ISBN 0-13365191-6)

B. First Semester:

Term 1: The Red Necklaceby Sally Gardner (ISBN: 13:978-0142414880)1

Term 2: Either

Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850by Susan Campbell Bartoletti(ISBN-10: 0618548831)2


North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (Choice: the student may read the novel or watch the 6-hour BBC, 2004 video version.3 The latter contains 233 min. of viewing and another 120 min. of commentary on researching and making the film)

C.Second Semester

  • Term 3: Remembrance by Theresa Breslin (ISBN: 978-0440237785)1
  • Term 4: Project
  1. Course Description: This course is designed to serve as a foundation for the study of modern history at the secondary school level. Ten recurring themes (many of which reflect the Mercy Core Values) support the presentation of an otherwise chronological approach to the History of the Modern World (1700 C.E.-the present.) Although the coursefocuses on the Western Tradition, wherever possible other civilizations will be drawn into the discussion. As an introductory course, the instructor will be responsible for the presentation of a basic historical narrative. She will provide the students with an outline of her notes. She will reinforce the key concepts, terms and evolving timeframe with activities intended to help the student make connections-a key component to learning. The student’s responsibility is to personalize this process. Every class will emphasize, e.g. explain, describe, model, rehearse and reflect on how this is accomplished.The last month of school will focus on the contemporary period with students demonstrating their understanding of history by researching and presenting a technology-based, multimedia project based on an oral interview with a person of their choice. (A draft of this assignment is attached.)

3. Course Requirements

Bring to class every day:

  • Walsingham Ipad, charged adequately
  • Text(s)
  • Clear-View binder (3-ring, 2-3” deep) containing:
  • loose-leaf paper
  • handouts and class notes
  • all graded work (never throw it away)
  • writing instruments including colored pencils
  • media storage (USB) device

Access to PowerPoint

4. Attendance Policy:In accordance with school policy: “Students are obligated to attend class regularly” as “Regularity in attendance and diligent application to study are essential for achievement.”

Procedures for Making up Missed Work

  • When you are absent, check on SPA to see Class Notes and In-Class Activities. Also check with a friend to find out if any changes have occurred regarding what is due. (Choose a reliable friend!)
  • If you miss class for a reason other than illness, have the work ready upon your return to class.
  • If you miss a graded assignment or a test/quiz, be sure to see me as soon as possible. Delay usually results in lower grades.

I am here to help and you are:

  • To come and check to be sure that you know what to make up and to find out what was covered in class.
  • To avoid the temptation to make up work during class instruction. Please do not copy the work of others.
  • To make up all missed work in a timely fashion.

5. Evaluation

Tests / Quizzes10-30 points each (~50%)

Projects / Essays20 points each (~20%)

Participation grades0-5 points per activity (includes homework and represents ~ 15% of grade)

Student Choice Activities30 points (~ 15%)

For excused absences, all assignments may be made up according to the student handbook guidelines. In the event of a long-term illness, a student need not worry about graded work - One should concentrate on learning the material missed in order to catch up with his / her class as quickly as possible. I will stop the “grading clock” at the time of the onset of illness giving you time to catch up.

How Term Grades are Determined

  • Every effort is made by Mrs. McArthur to be as generous and fair as possible to each of her students. There are ample and varied tasks to enable the student to display understanding of key concepts. Student Choice Activities are intended to give the student an opportunity to receive credit for learning beyond the confines of the traditional, required curriculum. The key to maximizing this grade is careful planning and attention to deadlines.
  • Each assignment is worth a certain number of points. There is no “extra-credit” although on rare occasions, “bonus” points are awarded for exceptional performance.
  • At the end of the term, a student’s points are added together and divided by the total number of possible points.

Remember: Academic success depends on active engagement of all parties.

SPA: Using the On-line Electronic Gradebook

Walsingham’s electronic grade book system is a terrific communication tool that allows you and your family to keep track of your performance throughout the term.At the same time, you are required to keep all graded work. If you feel that a mistake has been made, all you need to do is produce the original, graded assignment. If you can’t show this proof of your grade, the electronic record will stand. Obviously, it is in your interest to keep your documents at hand!SPA also allows me to communicate special contributions made by you in the course of our work or areas that need improvement. Refer to the What is Citizenship? checklist at the end of this packet for details. This piece gives you a means to reflect on how you are doing in aspects of citizenship that, while not assigned a grade, affect your learning and specifically your citizenship grade assigned at the end of each term. It is your responsibility to monitor SPA so that you are not caught unawares of poor performance in citizenship. As a general guide, 4or more comments indicating difficulties posted in a quarter may be grounds for a C3.

Tardy Procedure

Attendance is taken electronically every period so it is important to get to class on time. If you are late to class, you must have a pass: please make sure I am aware of it. Tardies to Period 1 are handled by the school’s administration. Tardies to all other classes will result in demerits and recorded on SPA; you need be concerned if a pattern of tardies emerges. As with other violations of the student Code of Conduct, this may lead to the student receiving a C3 as a citizenship grade.

Special notes about technology:

Technology is a wonderful tool in learning: researching, writing, and communication. However,

  1. If any outside source, research or collaboration is used in completing any assignment, bibliographic information about the source must be noted at the end of the paper or assignment; otherwise, the work will be considered plagiarized. It is considered plagiarism to cut and paste material from the internet into your own paper.
  2. I encourage the use of grammar and spell checks; even so, proofread work carefully. You are responsible for all spelling and grammar NOT THE COMPUTER!
  3. Computer Difficulties and/or error is NOT an excuse for a late assignment or a late communication.
  4. Save your work in SEVERAL places: USB drive, hard drive, on-line, etc.
  5. For any assignment, be sure to do a practice run on a school computer in advance of the due date. This will be your “safety copy” in the event of a last minute technology failure.
  6. SCHOOL STAFF IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR PRINTING YOUR WORK! If you don’t have access to a printer at home, use the school’s resources but do so before the start of class.If you would like to have a color copy, set up a time with office personnel to have it done before the day the assignment is due. Set personal deadlines.
  7. IF you e-mail me, I will send a reply; if I do not send a reply, I haven’t received it.

6. Class Procedures and Expectations: Mercy Core Values inform the class rules

Respect, Responsibility, Reflection: Citizenship

Daily procedures and activities in history class are chosen to match the maturity and academic progress of the students. There are a couple of basic expectations:

  • Students will conduct themselves in such a manner as to ensure individual and group success. Refer to the What is Citizenship? checklist at the end of this packet for details.
  • Students will help maintain the attractive physical environment. (Please note the school’s prohibitions against gum, snacks, drinks, etc.)
  • Homework is assigned every day and is available to students and parents in several forms: a hardcopy given out on Mondays and posted electronically in the weekly Classnotes on SPA. Because projects, tests, and other major assignments are announced well in advance, deadlines are to be respected by sending work to me by email in the event of an absence. To respect family time, no homework is given over term breaks or school holidays.

If you have a concern, come see me…

Learningis a shared venture and it is also a cumulative process. If you are having difficulty, seek help immediately. Feeling frustrated and/or letting things build up is always counter-productive. I am usually available outside my door between classes for a quick question or available after school if you need more time. So as not to be inconvenienced, let me know when you’d like to see me. If you need on-going help, I will try to find a student tutor or I will be happy to work with any outside tutor.

7. Suggestions for Successful Results in Modern History

  • Use the school’s on-line resources
  • SPA: Go to Class Information and choose this course from the drop down menu. Class notes (using PowerPoint,) homework, announcements, test overviews, etc are posted here. I also use SPA to communicate about student progress, performance and citizenship matters by attaching comments to assignments/tasks listed.
  • Email: Have a concern? Send me a message and I’ll get back to you asap.
  • Maximize your class time
  • Tune in to the day’s objective(s); what’s the point of the lesson?
  • Participate in class; that’s a key component of learning.
  • Ask questions to clarify understanding, make connections, and create extensions.
  • Answer questions mentally; even when it’s not your turn.
  • Avoid multi-tasking; it’s rarely conducive to learning difficult concepts.
  • Study daily and actively; do your homework meaningfully
  • Memorize (especially major themes, key terms and time frames.)
  • Practice and rehearse aloud your lecture notes.
  • When you read, make connections to the class lectures, activities. Quiz yourself.
  • Make use of study aids and study buddies.
  • Break down your study time into small units - Don’t cram.
  • Prepare effectively fortests/quizzes
  • Keep up with class and homework and seek help at the first sign (e.g. a poor grade) of difficulty. Don’t wait until the night before.
  • Use the text’s resources: outlining patterns of material presented, Quick Study Guide at end of each chapter, on-line practice quizzes/tests.
  • When you prepare, make connections to the class lectures, activities. Use your notes to analyze what the teacher has emphasized in order to anticipate what she will put on the assessment. Prepare accordingly.
  • Study as you will be evaluated, e.g. to prepare for a presentation, rehearse it at home before an audience. Invite your parents, your siblings (your dog?)
  • Plan theSCA carefully so you don’t find yourself coming up short for activities at the end of the term.They are intended to help you acquire key knowledge and skills and thus are carefully scheduled and coordinated with the instructional program outlined in the curriculum. These activities are intended to accommodate your preferred learning style, to tap into local resources, to emphasize connections being made between the past and current events/ concerns. Students who use effectively this portion of the term’s assessments to improve their grades set personal deadlines in advance of the posted ones, collaborate with the instructor to elicit constructive criticism and integrate it in their final submission.

1The Red Necklace and Remembranceare British titles, which may be purchased new or used and in multiple platforms. Check out both

2Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (ISBN-10: 0618548831) is available on-line from Amazon in both new paperback ($6.08-9.95) and used ($5.92 and up) editions. 15 copies have also been ordered at Barnes and Noble, New Town. It is also available from

Two copies are on reserve in Walsingham’s library and may be checked out overnight.

3North & South: 1 copy of the DVD is available for check-out from me. If you choose this format and wish to borrow my copy, please do not wait until the last minute.

Performance Satisfactory /

What is Good Citizenship? Desired Behaviors

/ Anecdotal Comments
Placed on SPA
Yes / No /

Classroom Comportment

Minimizes absences from /tardies to class
Arrives on time with all required materials
Observes dress code
Maintains a positive, respectful and constructive attitude
Bears or endures difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness; Is tolerant, understanding, persevering
Engages in learning activities
Works effectively at collaborative tasks
Eschews distracting or disruptive behaviors (food, gum chewing)
Remains on-task for full period
Helps maintain an orderly, pleasant work environment
Yes / No /

Academic Expectations

Completes assignments per instructions
Incorporates reflection as a tool for self-improvement
Accepts constructive criticism from adults and peers
Incorporates others’ suggestions to improve performance
Is consistent
Is productive to accomplish academic goals
Uses technology resources made available, e.g. SPA, email
Yes / No /

Personal Accountability

Is prepared daily for tasks, discussions, etc.
Assumes personal responsibility for understanding and executing instructions
Refrains from redefining projects/expectations to pursue personal goals/agenda
Sets goals that ensure the avoidance of last-minute work and crises
Meets deadlines
Accepts responsibility for one’s own actions and performance
Refrains from whining, quibbling, offering excuses, blaming others
Seeks timely advise from teacher to address a concern
Yes / No /


Offers appropriate constructive criticism to teacher and peers
Adds more challenging components to projects after first meeting basic requirements
Accepts responsibility for ensuring the success of individual and team assignments/activities
Assumes leadership roles but does not monopolize opportunities to learn by engagement
Identifies obstacles to success and offers suggestions
Provides academic and/or logistical assistance to peers/staff
Classroom engagement enhances culture of civility and learning.
Classroom demeanor and performance encourages excellence from all

Note: Inasmuch as the checklist above is intended to monitor developing skills, it is not expected that all students will manifest all behaviors. However, unsatisfactory performance, as indicated on SPA, constitutes a warning and should be interpreted as an area that needs improvement.