• United States Government Syllabus

    Contact information

    Name: Andrew Bouska

    E-mail: andrew.bouska@ankenyschools.org

    Phone: (515) 965-9630

    Room: 1410


    U.S. Government is a one semester required course that all students must take and pass to graduate. 


    How students will be graded:

    • A 0-100 percent scale will be utilized at the secondary level in the Ankeny Community School District.
    • Letter grades will continue to be assigned for all courses at the secondary level based on the 0-100 percent scale.
    • The 18 week grade is worth 90% of the final grade and the semester final is worth 10% of the final grade.
    • The three units of study students will focus on are:
      • Unit 1 Political Ideology/Underpinnings
      • Unit 2 Political Behavior
      • Unit 3 Branches
    • Students will be graded on summative, formative and independent work.


    Missing assessments/assignments:

    -All missing assignments will be assigned an “M” in Infinite Campus.

    -Assignments turned in more than ONE WEEK after the DUE DATE will not be accepted for credit.

    -Students must turn in any/all missing/late work prior to the summative test date in order to be eligible for a re-take.


    Board-Approved Standards:

    • Apply knowledge gained from current events and political cartoons to interpret public policies, political issues, and actions by local, state, national, and international governments.
    • Analyze the U.S. Constitution to determine the roles of the legislative branch, judicial branch, executive branch, and the bureaucracy
    • Assess the impact of U.S. Supreme Court decisions on civil rights and civil liberties
    • Examine the linkage between citizens and their government in terms of interest groups, political parties, mass media, campaigns, and elections.
    • Critique the role of the Iowa Caucuses in the presidential nomination process.
    • Analyze charts, graphs, maps, and tables for information related to government and politics.
    • Demonstrate the value of lifelong civic action through participation in the political process
    • Integrate information from a variety of primary and secondary sources into a coherent understanding of an idea or event.
    • Communicate to a variety of audiences using a variety of formats.
    • Evaluate current events to determine credibility and test the validity of information
    • Produce writing through the use of online information.


    Multiple and Varied Assessment Opportunities (including Retakes)

    All students should have multiple assessment opportunities to demonstrate higher levels of achievement. The opportunities may be initiated by the instructor or the student, but always at the instructor’s discretion. Additional opportunities may include retakes of an alternate form of an assessment (e.g., Form B instead of Form A), student revisions of work products based on descriptive feedback, or alternative methods of assessments (e.g., an oral response rather than a written test).




    Guidelines for retakes include the following:

    • Students will be provided the opportunity to be reassessed (i.e., retakes and homework).
    • Teachers determine appropriateness and authentic need for reassessments.
    • Generally, reassessments will be limited to one retake per assessment. Additional reassessments will be provided at the discretion of the teacher.
    • Retakes will be taken within a reasonable time frame that the teacher determines and informs students of in advance.


    Homework/Independent Practice

    • Homework is an opportunity for students to:
      • Practice skills;
      • Apply knowledge;
      • Review and build on past learning;
      • Extend learning.


    Homework is individualized and based on each student’s progress towards established standards.


    The purpose of the assignment will determine whether or not a grade is given and will be clearly articulated to students. Through independent learning tasks (homework), students assume more responsibility for their learning and are given opportunities to apply what they have learned to new situations or experiences.


    Extra Credit and Bonus Points

    To ensure that grades reflect progress toward and achievement of the standards, giving extra credit points or bonus points will not occur in this class.


    Behavior Expectations

    The work habits/behavior standards are for grades 6-12 courses in our district. These work habits/behavior standards will be reported throughout the semester and are as follows:

    • Organization and Readiness
    • Productivity and Accountability
    • Collaboration Skills

    For those of you accessing this document electronically, the work habits tool can be accessed here. We will be using the following performance levels:


    Performance Levels for Work Habits/Behavior Standards





    Meets Standard

    Partially Meets Standard

    Doesn’t Meet Standard

    No Evidence


    These descriptors are intended for feedback and communication and do not impact a student’s GPA.


    Formative and Summative Assessment:


    • Formative Assessment: Formal and informal processes teachers and students use to gather evidence for the purpose of improving learning.


    • Summative Assessment: Assessments that provide evidence of student achievement for the purpose of making a judgment about student competence or program effectiveness.







    U.S. Government                                                                          Name:_______________________

    Article                                                                                                Date:________________________




    To facilitate the study of government, we will analyze current events. You will be responsible for selecting an article that relates to government, then completing an analysis of said article. You will complete the analysis of your article by annotating the article directly.  


    Rubric (Total Points: 8)

    Connections: Show TWO relevant connections to classroom instruction or discussion (C1 & C2)




    Questions: Ask TWO in-depth questions that show your understanding of the issues (Q1 & Q2)



    Responses: Write TWO responses that demonstrate your opinions or feelings on the topic (R1 & R3)



    Annotations: All the above are properly coded in your article!




    List of Approved Sources: (If you would like to select a source not on this list, please check with instructor.)

    ABC News                                                                           CNN.com

    CBS News                                                                            FOXNEWS.com

    NBC News                                                                           Slate.com

    Wall Street Journal                                                        Salon.com

    Time Magazine                                                                Politico.com

    Newsweek                                                                          Huffingtonpost.com

    U.S. News & World Report                                           National Review

    The Economist                                                                 New Republic

    New York Times                                                               Washington Post or Washington Times

    The Hill                                                                                Newsmax

    Des Moines Register                                                       The Daily Beast

    The Guardian                                                                    The Telegraph






    U.S. Government – Political Cartoons                                                                                                                                            


    To facilitate the study of government, we will analyze political cartoons. You will be responsible for selecting a current political cartoon that relates to what we’ve been discussing in class or state, local, and/or national political parties, candidates, politicians, or campaigns – you will then complete an analysis of said cartoon



    Name:_________________________________________________        Date:________________________


    1. List the objects, dates, numbers or people you see in the cartoon.





    1. Locate three words or phrases used by the cartoonist to identify objects or people within the cartoon.





    1. What do you think each symbol means and explain why?





    1. Which words or phrases in the cartoon appear to be the most significant? Why do you think so?





    1. Explain the message of the cartoon.





    1. What special interest groups would agree/disagree with the cartoon's message? Why?





    1. What are the Constitutional connections?





    1. Does it have a Liberal or Conservative slant? WHY?











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