The Boas & Braman Experience


January 2016

Improving our essay writing…

As we look to improve the ways in which we communicate our ideas in writing, we are going to expand our understanding of the Great Depression.  One underlying learning objective of the course is the ability to compare different historical contexts for the same historical era.

With that in mind, we are going to be looking at how the Great Depression affected different countries in the hemisphere.  Your task (before Thursday morning) is to figure out which country in the Americas will be best to use as a country to compare with the United States.  Your assignment is below:

One of the requirements of the IB curriculum is that students make connections between the history of the United States of America and the history of other countries in the Americas.  With that objective in mind, your challenge is to research the ways in which other countries in the hemisphere dealt with their own economic troubles during the Great Depression.

Once you have completed your research, you will respond to ONE of the following prompts in a multi-paragraph essay of <1,600 words. We will spend time in the lab on Thursday and Friday both researching and drafting these essays.   A printed-out draft of this essay will be due at the beginning of class on Monday, February 1st.  You will be using a modified paper 3 rubric (the same one we’ve been using for our in-class essays).  The final drafts will be submitted to on Wednesday, February 3rd.  

Basic timeline:

HW for Tuesday, January 26th: Research a country to compare with our own.  Create/refine a working bibliography so you have quick-and-easy access to the documents you are finding.  Be sure to look for primary sources as well as secondary ones.  If you can’t find information about the historian, you probably have a poor source.  Stay away from Wikipedia.

HW for Wednesday, Jan. 27th: Continue to gather sources.  You should have at least five quality sources from a historian and five (additional) primary sources.

Thursday in class: You will be in the lab producing a brainstorming and starting the first draft.  Thursday’s HW is to complete a skeleton first draft of your essay (without quotes).

Friday in class: You will be in the lab finishing your first draft. Monday in class: You will arrive with a printed version of your essay and we will peer edit in class.  Today, we will edit your essay to improve the quality of your work. IF – for whatever reason – you failed to get quality comments about how to revise your work, you must seek additional peer editing comments on your own.  You will be expected to show that you received quality editing comments on your first complete draft.  Be prepared to revise your work for Monday HW.

Tuesday in class: Bring both your peer edited draft and your improved 2nd draft (it is significantly better than the first draft and incorporates quality peer editing).  HW for Tuesday is to revise and polish your essay for Wednesday submission.

Before Wednesday am – Submit your essay to before class starts.

The Class Number is: 11970109      The password is: Spartans        

Don’t get creative with your name so that it appears alphabetically in the list of students.

Wednesday Night Homework: Revise your essay and submit a final draft to  It is due before class Thursday.  Be sure to save your draft with the prompt number in the title of your document.  The next step will be your reflection.  We will do the reflections (see below) in class Thursday.

Here are the two prompts.  You must choose ONE.  Your essay will be between 1400-1600 words. Do not think that exceeding the word count is exceeding expectations. Be precise. 

  1. Compare and contrast the proposed solutions to the Great Depression in two countries in the Americas.  
  2. Examine the social and cultural impact of the Great Depression in two countries in the Americas.

Please realize that you will need to evaluate the methods used by the historians you are consulting.  With this in mind, it is particularly important for you to know who crafted the history you are using as the basis of your response.  Know the historian and analyze her.

Keep in mind that you will (after you are done with your essay) produce a reflection (400 words).  It is modeled after the IA for history – an excerpt of the rubric is provided below.

This section of the internal assessment task requires students to reflect on what undertaking their investigation highlighted to them about the methods used by, and the challenges facing, the historian.

Examples of discussion questions that may help to encourage reflection include the following.

  • What methods used by historians did you use in your investigation?
  • What did your investigation highlight to you about the limitations of those methods?
  • What are the challenges facing the historian? How do they differ from the challenges facing a scientist or a mathematician?
  • What challenges in particular does archive-based history present?
  • How can the reliability of sources be evaluated?
  • What is the difference between bias and selection?
  • What constitutes a historical event?
  • Who decides which events are historically significant?
  • Is it possible to describe historical events in an unbiased way?
  • What is the role of the historian?
  • Should terms such as “atrocity” be used when writing about history, or should value judgments be avoided?
  • If it is difficult to establish proof in history, does that mean that all versions are equally acceptable?

Welcome to semester 2!

Before we go too far, I’d really like to hear from you.  As Ms. Boas and I move to plan 2nd semester, we want to incorporate things you are interested in learning and utilize instructional methods that work well.  Please click here and work through this survey to clue me in.


It would be ideal to prepare for the final now…

As you go about it, remember that you should prioritize certain parts of this list of terms on the final.  The attached list is in word format, or you can see the list here below.  On the attached list, events in blue should be prioritized as you decide what to study first/most.  Remember, WE WILL HAVE AN IN CLASS STUDY SESSION ON JANUARY 19TH  .   For the most part, you should know these things about each of the concepts/events:

  • the literal info – who, what, where, when
  • the implications – how, why
  • the ways this is connected to a broader narrative
  • the ways this evidence could be part of an argument

IB American Studies  B2

Semester 1 Final

Study Guide


Colonial America & Revolution

The Declaration of Independence

Causes of the Revolutionary War

Nature of the Revolutionary War

Foundations of US Politics

Articles of the Confederation

Branches of government

Checks and Balances

Electoral College

Amendment Process

Bill of Rights

Federalist vs. Democratic-Republicans

       Political beliefs/divisions

Marbury v. Madison àJud. Review

Alien and Sedition Acts àNullification

Jefferson –      Political beliefs

Election of 1824

Split of Democratic Republican

“Corrupt Bargain”

Jackson’s politics and legacy

Change and Reform

Second Great Awakening

Education Reform

Prison/Asylum Reform

Temperance Movement

Cult of Domesticity

Early Women’s Rights Movement

Manifest Destiny

Texas Revolution

Mexican-American War

Long Term Causes of Civil War

Sectionalism; Economics N & S

Entrenchment of Slavery


Missouri Compromise

Abolition Movement

    Conditions of Slavery

    Evolution of Racism

    Racial Stereotypes

Compromise of 1850

Fugitive Slave Act

 Bleeding Kansas, John Brown, etc.

Dred Scott v. Sanford

Civil War

Election of 1860

Southern Secession & Confederate States of America

Military str. & weak. N & S forces

Key military events of the civil war (turning points)

Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Economic consequences of War

Reconstruction Plans

13th, 14th, 15th Amendments

Fall of Reconstruction

Race Relations 1865-1929

Ku Klux Klan

Jim Crow laws

Plessy vs. Ferguson

Lynching Epidemic

Harlem Renaissance

New Deal and Minorities

Gilded Age

Gilded Age- Gilded vs. Reality

Reasons people went West


Robber Barons vs. Captains of Industry

Social Darwinism

In Late 19th Century:

  • Working conditions
  • Labor Unions
  • Immigration

Treatment of Immigrants

Mass culture at turn of the century




Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson

Preservation & Conservation

Election of 1912

18th & 19th Amendments

Imperialism and WWI

US Imperialism

Causes & Results of Spanish-American War

Platt Amendment

Evolution of Am. Foreign policy

Washington’s Neutrality

Monroe Doctrine

Roosevelt Corollary

Wilson’s Missionary Diplomacy

Causes of WWI

US Neutrality & Involvement

Wilson’s 14 pt. Plan

Treaty of Versailles

1920s & 1930s

Causes of the Great Depression

Psychological effects of Great Depression

Herbert Hoover v. Franklin D. Roosevelt

The New Deal

Critics of the New Deal

Legacy of the Great Depression & New Deal





Homework/Reading Schedule – 20’s and 30’s

For all of the assigned readings below, you should take quality notes (unless noted otherwise in parentheses).  Each of the evenings below, you should do the following homework:

  • January 4  Ch. 25, pages 1006-1019 The Bolsheviks to End of 25
  • January 5  Ch. 26, pages 1022-1039 Beginning of 26 to Modernism
  • January 6  Ch. 26 (skim 1048-1057) 1057-1066 The New Era to Hoover
  • January 7  Ch. 27 pages 1067 (President Hoover)- 1077 End of 27
  • Weekend  Ch. 28 pages 1080 (Beg. of 28) to 1096 The Social Cost…
  • January 11 Ch. 28 pages 1096 (The Social Cost) to 1102 and 11051112
  • January 12 Ch. 28 pages 1112(Roosevelt’s 2nd Term) to End of Ch. 28
  • January 13 Ch. 29 pages 1141 (The Storm…) to 1153 (End of 29)
  • January 14 Ch. 30 pages 1156 (Beg. of 30) to 1168  Research/sort 15 New Deal Programs; read handout on economy.  

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