Ms. Curtis & Mr. Schumann's Foundations of World History


Sammamish High School     *      Ms. Curtis  &  Mr. Schumann       *      Spring 2010

Foundations of World History is the first social studies course that students take at Sammamish High School.  The course is designed to support students in their continued development of historical thinking and reasoning skills with the ultimate goal of advancing to Advanced Placement World History.


Foundations of World History represents the first 20% of what students must know in order to successfully complete the AP World History Exam.  In order to support students in their preparation for that class, Foundations focuses on some key content areas and building historical reasoning skills.

The course is broken up into two units that are roughly a quarter in length.

Unit One: Geography, early human settlements, and early civilizations.  This unit culminates in the first comparative essay:  comparing two river valley civilizations.

Unit Two: Empire building, networks of interaction, and religions of the ancient world.  This unit culminates in the second comparative essay: comparing the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty in China.

To successfully complete Foundations of World History, students will know:

·      Geographic forces that caused human events
·      The development of early technology including fire and agriculture
·      The gradual transition from hunting and gathering, to settled agriculture, to empire building
·      Basic information about early civilizations including Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus River Valley, the 

      Yellow River settlements in China, the Olmecs and the Chavin in the Americas
·      Codification of early religious traditions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Chinese  

      Schools of Thoughts
·      Information about early civilizations including the Persian Empire, the Qin and Han Dynasties in China, the 

      Mauryan and Gupta Empire in India, the Mediterranean empires including the Phoenicians, the Greeks 
      and the Romans, the Teotihuacan and Mayan city-states, and the Moche in South America.
·      Key trade routes that connected these cultures including the Silk Road, the Trans-Saharan Caravan Routes, 

      Indian Ocean sea lanes and Mediterranean sea lanes

To successfully complete Foundations of World History, students will be able to:

·      Organize and distinguish between cultures according to their political, religious, economic, and social   

·      Be able to articulate causation of historical events
·      Be able to accurately identify the locations of major geographical features of the world
·      Be able to accurately place cultural groups on a map
·      Be able to make an historical argument using evidence
·      Increase their public speaking abilities and inquiry skills through structured debates and Socratic discussion
·      Increase their writing skills through completion of two comparative essays
·      Increase their reading skills through appropriate textbook use and primary sources
·      Increase their organization skills through the creation and use of graphic organizers and note taking    

      systems to speed their recall of key facts and dates
·      Increase their collaborative skills through working as a team to accomplish tasks on a deadline with strong 

     communication and shared workload.

Throughout this course, students will be able to refer to this list of skills and monitor their own progress to our shared goal of supporting all students to be ready for AP World History in their sophomore year. 


Students will need specific tools for success in the class.  They are expected to have these tools for every class and utilize them for class projects as well as their own organization.  These tools are:

·      pencils
·      a blue pen, a black pen, and a red pen
·      a highlighter
·      colored pencils or markers
·      their SHS planner or some other way to track their assignments
·      a folder that can be used to turn in work
·      a USB key (available in the library for check out)

For your notebook this year we are going to be using an Interactive Notebook (INB).  The INB is designed to give students a place to collect both their class work and their processing of class work that is easily manageable.  You will get more information about this in class, but in order to make it work you’ll need:

·      A spiral bound notebook with at least 120 pages.  This notebook will be helpful if it also contains pockets 

      but you can work around that.
·      A glue stick

We will beginning our INB on Tuesday, September 7th so please have your supplies ready to go!

If your student needs help gathering these supplies they should work with me in tutorial to get set up.  We can help!

The transition from middle school to high school can be a challenge.  You can help your child succeed by talking to them about the expectations and making proactive plans to succeed.  Questions?  Please get in touch!

Before Class:

Before class students will complete any homework that has been assigned to the best of their ability.  We give credit for trying when we can see that a student has really given their best effort.  Perfection is not the expectation, demonstration of growth and effort is! 

During Class:

We expect all students to be in class, on time everyday.  We have a very short semester to cover a lot of ground and students who miss significant time will see that reflected in their grades.

Upon arrival to class students should pick up their handouts for the day and take their assigned seat.  They should copy the homework into their planner and take out their homework, their warm up sheet, a blank sheet of paper and a pen or a pencil.  They should begin the warm up on the board.  These are collected weekly and student with unexcused tardies or absences will not be allowed to make up the assignment.

We expect all students to give their best effort every day.  We expect all students to participate, to share their ideas and to work towards accomplishing the daily objectives.  They will treat each other, their learning environment, and us with respect. 

After Class:

Students are required to attend tutorial 4 times each quarter with their assigned group on their assigned date.  If they are unable to make their assigned tutorial they must have a plan to make up the time.  This time is structured and part of the students grade.  If they have grade concerns or need to make up an assignment, they need to either see me before school, after their tutorial assignment is complete or in another tutorial.

We encourage proactive students!  If your student is struggling to complete assignments, we can be flexible and will happily work out a plan if we know about it in advance or as soon as possible after the fact. 


Student grades are broken down into three categories of roughly equal weight:

Tests and Quizzes:  33% (examples include chapter quizzes and quarter exams)

Writing Assignments:  33% (examples include prep work for the two essays and reflections)

Citizenship: 34% (examples include warm ups, in class assignments, and homework)

Late Work: At times all students need to complete work late for various reasons.  Daily assignment such as homework can be turned in for 70% credit until the chapter test.  After the chapter test they can be turned in for 50% credit until the end of the quarter.  Assignments from the first quarter of the class will not be accepted in the second quarter.  Major assignments are docked 10% for being late for each day they are late beginning after they are collected.  For example, if a paper is due during 1st period on Monday, it would be penalized 10% if turned in on that day after 1st period, 20% if turned in on Tuesday, 30% if turned in on Wednesday, and 40% on Thursday.  It will hold at 60% until the end of the quarter at which point it will not be accepted.

Retakes and Making Up Work: Students who score less than 70% on quizzes and tests will have one week from the posting of the grade to retake the quiz or test.  They may re-take as many times as they wish and their highest score will stand.  If a student is absent, they have 2 days for each day they missed to come to tutorial to make up assignments.  We encourage students and parents to email me if school is missed so as not to fall behind.

Dishonest work: I expect all students to complete their own work.  If a student copies the work of another, that is plagiarism.  The first offense will result in a zero for the assignment.  The second offence will be referred to the office and may cause the student to lose credit for the class. 


The best way to contact us is via email at or  We can also be reached by phone at 425-456-7708 or in our classroom, room 802.  We look forward to working together to help your student succeed!