June 1

Blog #157 – Final Reflection on a Year in APUSH

This blog is part of your final exam, so please take some time and think about your answers.

400 words minimum for your total response of all of the questions.  Please number your answers in the comment section.

1. A lot of our time this year has been spent reading, writing, studying, watching videos, reflecting, and talking about American history.  Discuss what your favorite learning style was this year and why it was effective for you.  Also, explain which was your least favorite way to learn and explain why it doesn’t work for you.

2. We studied a lot of stuff this year – from the Pilgrims to the Revolution to Andrew Jackson (soon to be leaving the $20, or not) to Abe Lincoln to Alice Paul to the Depression and the Civil Rights Movement.  What did you wish we had spent more time on than we did this year and why?

3. Yep, we studied a whole lot of stuff this year, but I bet you wish there were some units that were shorter or didn’t go as in depth.  What did you wish we had studied less of and explain why (keep in mind that if the info didn’t make it onto the test doesn’t mean it won’t be there next year)?

4. Choose Your Own Adventure was a brand new wrinkle that I had introduced this year and never done something like this before.  What do you think were some of the strengths and weaknesses of this project?  Explain why.

5. People talk a lot about takeaways – a summary of an experience, distilled down to one or two sentences.  What is your takeaway from APUSH (or in other words, what did you truly learn about American history)?

Due by 11:59 p.m. on the night of your final exam.  

Posted June 1, 2023 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

61 thoughts on “Blog #157 – Final Reflection on a Year in APUSH

  1. Jacob G

    1. I hope that you keep doing articles, like for quizzes, because the impending doom of a quiz coming and having to cram the essay in the 20 minutes before class, luckily i had lunch right before, usually trapped the knowledge in my brain, but other than the articles and somewhat pop-quizzes the notes packets usually led to me learning a lot more, especially near the end of the year when we were in a crunch with the impending AP test in may. The notes packets, however rushed, still taught me all that I knew about the topic compared to many of the other means like the videos or the readings.

    2. I wish we spent more time on the entirety of the post WW2 era, I know it was almost impossible because of the time crunch but it would’ve helped me a lot if we covered it more deeply. Other than that I feel like we glossed over some parts of reconstruction that I ended up missing completely which I feel like my tests and written assignments are very. obviously reflected that.

    3. I feel like we over-covered the earlier years like just post revolution and until like 1830 and that we spent way too much time on those years and not the years that followed and actually showed up on the test, yes it changes from year to year, but it seems like those years were nebulous and just kind of unnecessary to the extent which we covered them this year.

    4. I feel like the Choose Your Own Adventure workload was way too heavy, especially to guarantee a solid, or even borderline acceptable grade. I also feel like if you require people to do one of each of the baseline assignments they’ll just kind of pump out mediocre work, which i feel is also the problem with the large number of assignments in general, and it leads to the first five, six, seven, assignments being mediocre and then they see the light at the end of the tunnel type situation and power through a couple of good or even great assignments near the end with the type of assignment they were most willing to do originally. With me it was the article summary and quizzes which I did in large numbers to get my credit.

    5. Off the top of my head I didn’t retain much information but that’s mostly due to the haze of finals, if asked i could answer many questions and most of the meaningful questions that anyone could ask me about most of america’s history following my time in this course.

  2. natehidalgo

    1. While I don’t have the patience to make quizlets, they are so good. If you can find quizlets for your students in the coming years, they’d love it. You should seriously recommend Julia Febers quizlets for the first three and a half to two tris. I can’t believe she stopped making them; it genuinely hurt my grade. Aside from Quizlet, I think Heimler is also a good option. Sometimes for me, it was hard to pay attention (some of his videos are unfourtanatley very boring), but he makes good stuff. My least favorite way to study was in the book. I hated reading the book, and to be honest with you, I never read it after the first month and a half of APUSH. Whoever wrote that book put genuine sleepy juice in there because it was another level of boring.

    2. This is such a cookie cutter answer but it’s the correct one. I wish we had spent more time on the World Wars. After learning more about the world wars on my own, they are so interesting. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of Dan Carlin, but he goes crazy in depth into the world wars. I know we can’t spend a really long time on it, but I think because of their significant impact on the world, they deserve more time.

    3. Let me tell you what deserves no extra time, though, and honestly, whether this is realistic or not, I don’t care: the unions. I hated the union unit so much. I will say, usually I’m not that bored in APUSH, but during that unit the class felt like it lasted twice as long. It also felt like the unit went on for weeks. I really didn’t like “The Jungle” either, but that’s just me. I mean, how can one guy get so unlucky? It makes it so hard to root for him when every page just has this guy continuously losing in life.

    4. Although I really didn’t like doing this project, I did like the viewing questions. I thought once you watched the episode, those were pretty easy. I did do the viewing questions usually  like a couple days if not a week after I finished watching the episode I based them off so that was pretty dumb. Other than that blunder on my part, it was pretty easy. Another thing I thought was okay were the quizzes. They were pretty easy. One thing I really didn’t like was the primary source one. I didn’t really get what we had to do, and I also forgot what HIPP was. This made it really annoying to do.

    5. I learned way too much American history for one lifetime. I liked the teacher, the material was okay, and the stress of essay tests still haunts me today. Overall…5/10.

  3. Spencer

    1. My favorite style of learning throughout the entire year was doing interactive things like having a Socratic seminar regarding the subject. I just felt that I was able to get a better understanding of a lot of the material if I could look at it from multiple perspectives. I am a hands-on learner and I think that talking through something instead of just listening to a lecture on a topic is much better for me. My least favorite way of learning things was taking notes on PowerPoint. The powerpoints were funny and helpful but when you have to do that every other day for a whole school year, it gets repetitive.
    2. I think an overlooked topic from this year that if I had to do it again I would focus more on would be culture in the 60s through the 2000s. We covered a considerable amount of material on the past 60 years (not close to as much as other periods) but I think I would love to take a deeper dive into what life was really like within the periods that are not so far out of reach we can’t imagine them today.
    3. I wish we had studied much less about the time before America was founded. I completely understand setting up the history of our country is important and I think that a majority of things in the second half of the 18th century are completely valid, but I wish we had spent much less time on things like the Spanish in South America. Of course, context is important for understanding our country but in all honesty that unit is so far towards the front of the curriculum that it is almost completely forgotten by testing time.
    4. I think that some of the strengths of this project were just continuing to teach us how to be more independent, especially when we weren’t in the classroom. I had difficulty using the time you gave us which is something that I won’t be forced to do in college so I thought that was cool. A weakness of the project was how drastic the difference in time and effort the different modules took. The movie questions took forty minutes and the relevancy discussions took 15.
    5. Throughout this class, I gained an understanding of the history of my country, good and bad, that a large majority of people, especially adults, won’t understand. This sort of understanding gives me an upper hand in politics or social debates. This is the most challenging class I have ever taken and I think that you do it incredibly well.

  4. Christian Pearson

    1. Because of their inclusiveness, Socratic seminars and class discussions have been my preferred learning methods this year. They encouraged participation, teamwork, critical thinking, and even the exchange of viewpoints. We could speak up, actively participate, and improve our communication abilities. A deeper understanding is encouraged by analyzing various points of view and challenging beliefs. However, learning through readings and slide shows was very engaging and another great form of learning.I believe that everything was made clearer and simpler to understand because you were lecturing and presenting to us. Overall, I believe that the slide show and Socratic seminar teaching methods were very effective.

    2. One thing I wish is to spend more time on individual presidents. Our understanding of their motivations and the environments in which they governed would have been strengthened had we looked into their histories, policies, and difficulties. We could have understood the complexity of their leadership and established significant connections to the larger historical narrative by looking at their successes and failures. Our understanding of American governance and its significant influence on the course of our country would have been improved by an additional review of the presidents.

    3. I think we studied Andrew Jackson way too much. Even though he was a significant figure, focusing too much on him prevented us from investigating more important aspects of our history. We wasted time on Jackson by not paying enough attention to the experiences and contributions of other significant individuals and movements that shaped our country. A wider exploration of people, events, and ideas would be possible with a more balanced approach to historical education, leading to greater awareness of the complexity and diversity of our nation’s past.

    4. This new Choose Your Own Adventure project, in my opinion, was a really interesting way to learn about things we never had the chance to. There are some topics that may be more interesting to some people than others, and I appreciated the wide range of assignments we could do. The amount of time we had to work on it was a strength. The amount of effort required for each adventure was a weakness. The video questions and article summaries were much easier for me to understand than the primary sources and quizzes.

    5. APUSH helped me learn key topics in our history such as the founding of the United States, westward expansion, slavery and the Civil War, Reconstruction and Civil Rights, industrialization and the Progressive Era, World Wars and the Cold War, and the Civil Rights Movement. It explores the ideals of freedom and democracy, struggles with racial inequality, the growth of industrialization, America’s role in global conflicts, and ongoing social and political challenges. The course was interesting and fun for me. It was also a good introduction to AP classes.

  5. Anaiah Green

    1. My favorite learning style was watching videos. This was my favorite learning style because watching videos help me retain information more so it was easy for me to recall it when needed. Also videos gave good simplified explanations that were easy to learn. My least favorite way to learn was going around to the different stations with documents on the tables because I think teacher instruction would be better than that. Himmler was a really good resource and his videos were actually extremely good for review or just learning a subject in apush that you missed out on that day. But in order to watch himmler you definitely would need background knowledge gived by teacher instruction. But a lot of the videos we watched in class were good for learning certain things.

    2.I wish we could have learned more about the civil rights movement. I wish this because there are so many events apart of the civil rights movement and I’ve heard many of the common ones that are well known many times. We learned about some new events in the civil rights movement that i hadn’t heard of before but I wish we learned more because i feel like i learn about the same civil rights things every year in history.

    3. I think we could have studied less of the Thomas and Andrew era. Although it was my favorite unit and I think it’s the only period in apush that I actually retained information really well from and that I can actively recall, but we were on it for too long. Our class is very comfortable with speaking our opinions and asking questions and i feel like a lot of that took away a lot of time because we went really in depth with some conversations about this period.

    4. I think this was actually a very good project that offered students to take their time into their own hands. So if you needed a better grade in the class then you would have to work harder and longer on this assignment but if your grade was ok and you didn’t really need all the points on this assignment you wouldn’t have to do the whole thing. But it also was given so in advance that we had enough time to do all fifteen if you are an avid worker.

    5. I really enjoyed APUSH some periods because it was really entertaining. I disliked other units because they might have been more boring. I would only recommend this class if you have a good work ethic outside of the classroom and are up for a lot of homework.

  6. Ray Glory-Ejoyokah

    1)It’s a hard choice between Watching JOCZ APUSH review videos or Reading the Test Review terms. The best method for studying with these 2 is watching the Video first. Watch the video and whenever you see new information you’re not confidently familiar with rewind back by 1 or 2 minutes repeatedly until you can recite nearly word for word what the narrator is saying about this topic. When you finally finish the whole video, Rewatch it 1 more time and in a way quiz yourself about what is about to be said on a topic. Then After that go to the test review terms and for each subject listed make sure you know what’s going on, because everything on the test review terms will be on the test. The method I disliked the most has to be reading from the book, me personally I have a huge problem with focusing overall in general, whether it be from someone whispering or just a tiny noise it throws me off when reading (that’s why I always got my AirPods in to block out the small noises). Reading the book is great and has everything you need but it’s too long and easy to forget without picture examples like in a video.
    2)I wish we spent more time together studying the topics in the 90s or near the present day because they feel more relatable or feel like something that could possibly happen in the present day. For example, the issues on terrorism in the 90s with the OKC bombing and Unabomber; I just find it so crazy something so evil and personal could be thought up and if my family had come to the US earlier they could’ve experienced it. I just really liked hearing the motives behind these people and if these motives could’ve pushed anyone from anywhere into doing what they did. For example the OKC bomber Tim McVeigh, and his reason he was upset with the government was because of the deaths at the Waco massacre, even though it wasn’t immediately the government’s fault. I feel like everyone should know about this topic considering it was the 2nd biggest act of terrorism in the US and it being so overlooked is just insane to me.
    3)The topic I liked the least this year was all of the Indian wars, wars in the Pacific Islands, and the annexation of Cuba period. I just found the majority of the topics to just be boring. I hated actually that i spent around 11 hours the day of the 2 tri-final studying the latter topic.
    4)Some Strengths of choose your own adventure is that you finally get to dive into topics that you’re interested in studying that aren’t covered in class. Some weaknesses are just because it’s seems as a final exam grade people don’t really care to dig deep enough to really understand the topics, when theres a lot of valuable information to gain from it.
    5)A real pain in the ass, but the knowledge you gain from it is irreplaceable, it might be inconvenient, but being educated on topics most people don’t know about is great.

  7. Brock Kusiak

    1. My personal favorite way to study and to learn was to watch videos like himlers history. Not only does he give good information that helped me on many tests, he delivers it in a fun loving attitude. Another thing that isn’t specific to himler is the fact that I just have an easier time learning with YouTube videos. The speaking combined with visuals just sticks in my brain really well. The worst way to learn for me was just plain reading from a textbook. There was a lot of good information but I didn’t really retain anything from just reading. The lack of something special really makes reading not as effective for me.
    2. I think that we should’ve spent more time on the 60s and forward. I know that we didn’t have a lot of time left to go over it but I think there should be some way to fit it in. I felt like I couldn’t answer the prompts in the AP test that were about the newer subject because I just wasn’t familiar with it enough. There wasn’t a lot of multiple choice questions on the test about very new topics so it wasn’t devastating that I didn’t know much. The review sessions we had about the newer time periods was very helpful and I think I would’ve done worse on the test without it.
    3. I think a time period we should’ve spent less time on is the early and mid-1800s. I understand that it was a time that was filled with events that shaped out country’s history but I felt like we went into so much detail that it disregarded other units. By a general standpoint, the amount of time we worked on it was perfectly acceptable, but I’m looking at it through the lens that we ran out of time for some other topics.
    4. This project was both interesting and a little bit fun. School has always been whatever the teacher gives you to learn, so to assign something that completely shifts that narrative and allows you to work on what your interested in was a great idea. That was one of the major strengths, the fact that it left the learning up to the students and the project was very flexible in what you wanted to do. I think one weakness of this project was the limit on time period. If this project were to span the entirety of what we learned, I feel as though it would be an almost perfect project idea.

  8. Emily Kruntovski

    1. I think my number one learning styles this year were by taking notes on the powerpoints and taking notes on recordings. This is the most effective way that I for one learn on the grounds that composing causes me to recall it and the powerpoints were extraordinary review assets. I additionally truly preferred AP composing style tests and I want to have accomplished more and begun doing them sooner since they undoubtedly assisted me with understanding what they AP test planned to seem to be and how to explicitly rehearse for that. My most un-most loved style was presumably things like pictures since I would continuously stand by till the somewhat late to do them and afterward not actually learn anything since I was hurrying and just perusing to search for the responses to the inquiries.

    2. I wished we had more time to talk about the 2000s. I would have enjoyed learning about this era because of its technological advancements and historical events, such as presidential elections, hurricane Katrina, the 2007 market crash, and 9/11. I didn’t feel like I was learning the material as well and had to spend additional time at home learning about any period we learned about starting around the 1940s or 1950s. Although it was understandable that we needed to learn as quickly as possible for the AP exam, it would have been nice to know more about that period of the 1900s and 2000s. Additionally, the 1920s have consistently intrigued me so it would’ve been ideal to become familiar with that due to intrigue. Lastly, I wish we had learned more about how to answer all written questions.

    3. I wish we had spent less time on a few topics. The colonial era is first. I felt like we had been learning about the colonial era for a very long time after learning about Columbus at the beginning of the year. That unit seemed so long, not sure if it was just me or what. Then, is the nationwide conflict and recreation time. In my opinion, all of these units appeared to blend together during this time, making it extremely time-consuming. I also thought this unit was too long because it started right around the time we started doing LEQs.

    4. The fact that we could learn more about subjects we didn’t have as much time to study but were interested in was one of the projects’ strengths. I personally worked extensively in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. The variety made the work less overbearing, which I appreciated. I didn’t like the fact that it appeared to be like busy work to me. Given that we still had a month of school left and the exam was already completed, it appeared as though the work was just to fill in the gaps because we worked on it for so long alongside other tasks.

    5. This class taught me a lot. Evidently, I gained a wealth of previously unknown knowledge about American history from the first. What’s more, the subjects I knew all about extended my insight. I additionally figured out how to organize segments of composing which will help me in later ap classes. Since this was the first ap class I took, it gave me a thought what’s in store going into my senior year. I additionally thing my understanding abilities and my capacity to break down records got better which will likewise monstrously help me in years to come. All things considered I’m happy I took apush and I trust that future understudies will have a positive encounter very much as I did.

  9. Manny Scobie

    1.I really enjoyed the notes taking portion of this class. I loved the interaction between the students and the teacher. To me at least, It was a great way of learning and consuming information. I genuinely enjoyed coming to 3rd hour to take notes and just be in a fun learning environment. My least favorite part was the reading part of the class. However, it did improve my knowledge about history as a whole, Many of the readins/portions were not as interesting to me. I also really enjoyed doing the article quizzes. Especially toward the end of the year, as we werent super focused on learning about anything super specific. They were a really fun part of the class as well.
    2. I wish we spent more time learning about the wars. Especially WW1 and WW2. So many interesting things happened inside the war, but unfortunaltry we kind of just skipped over it entirely. While I do understand why we couldnt have gone over it, it was still a fun part of history that we werent able to go over. Especially WW1, because Airplanes were used more and re-invented and all the heavy artillery/weaponary that came ou during the war, its really interesting to learn about.
    3. I also wish we hadnt gone over the columbus and pre-america (america). Because we spent like the first 2 or 3 weeks talking about it, and there were only a couple qyestuons about it on the AP test, I think going over it less would be more beneficial to the class.
    4.Me, and my classmates ultimately think that the “Choose your own adventure” is way too much. Especially at the end of the year. Maybe if it was earlier in the year or we were given more time, it would be interesting. But because of the time frame and the amount of work we were expected to do, it was extremely tasking, and time consuming. It made studying for other classes difficult aswell. And thinking about it in the long run. If you task students with a butt-ton of work at the end of the year, and with everyone being super burnt-out; then most likely mediocre work is gonna be the output. With majority of students cramming for final exams as well, it’s no surprise that the work is not going to be as good. Personally, if the choose your own adventure was dialed down, it would be a cool addition to the final exam.
    Mr. Wickersham is amazing. And also history is really really cool. Definitely something ill always be interested in.

  10. Jayda Evans

    My favorite way to work was when we would break down essays from other students and talk about why they got the grades they got. I liked that we talked about what they did in their essays that we could put in ours to improve, and what to never ever put in our essays. My least favorite way of learning was probably the powerpoint. It was hard to follow along sometimes, and I didn’t like that we had the sheet in front of us because there wasn’t much room to write.
    I wish we had maybe spent more time on the roles of women and how those roles were changing at the beginning of the 1900’s. I think it would’ve been really interesting to know more about what women were doing throughout history. History usually revolves around men and I think that women played a huge role in our history and we just don’t know it because they are never talked about. I know this wasn’t really part of the curriculum, but I would have loved it if we had learned more about the LGBTQIA+ community and how they fit into history.
    Something I wish we had spent less time on is Columbus and the really really early times. I think that we should most definitely talk about Columbus’s impact and how he slaughtered innocent Native Americans, but I think we should focus more on the Indigenous people instead of what Columbus did to them because I think it gives him more power and credit than he deserves.
    I think this project was a really cool one. I liked that we had a ton of time to do it. I think a major strength is that you can turn assignments in, get them graded, then if you didn’t get the grade you wanted you could revise it. I honestly don’t think there are any weaknesses. There were weaknesses on my part, but the assignment itself should have been an achievable A for just about everyone.
    I think the thing that APUSH really taught me was about my people. About slavery and how it still affects people today. I don’t have much of a connection to the black side of my family, so I don’t really know any history of it. I think this class really filled in those gaps for me. I feel more connected to myself and my past more than I did before, and I feel like I can tell the story because it’s part of me, and not just because I know about slavery and the treatment of black people throughout history.

  11. Eli Haenick

    What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?:
    Martin Haenick, he was 29 going on 30
    What is your first memory of when you first heard about the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)? Why?
    He had a coworker tell him about it and he went into a room with a TV on and it was talking about the attacks, all of the major news channels had it. He had more questions than conclusions and relied on the news. The news told him that they were planned and coordinated attacks.
    Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?
    He was working at Great Lakes health plan. Around him everybody was really shocked, the atmosphere was really odd. Most people were really distressed and distracted. However a few people said that there was nothing that anyone could do about it an for everyone to get back to work
    Have you ever been to New York City or Washington D.C.? If so, how did that affect your reactions to the attacks? If not, how did the attacks alter / change your views of the cities and their inhabitants?
    He had not been to D.C but had been to New York with his family and had some family there but they were not really anywhere close to the place of the attack, going to New York really didn’t have much of an effect on his view on the attacks. He felt really concerned for the people and a connection because “we are all Americans”.
    Did you know anyone in the cities? If so, did you try to contact them to see if they were o.k.? What was the conversation like?
    Even though he did have some distant cousins they were out of harm’s way so he didn’t talk to them.
    If you were stranded in another city after 9/11, how did you cope with being away from family?
    He was not stranded so he didn’t have to worry but said that he traveled shortly after and security was really tight and security lines were very long.
    What were other peoples’ reactions like in the days after the attacks?
    Everybody was shocked, angry and confused. He remembers driving to work and saw somebody throwing up on the side of the road and he said that it made everything feel different. The atmosphere shifted, everybody was connected. He said that it was a tragedy that unified everyone similar to a president’s assassination. It was in everybody’s mind for weeks.
    Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?
    Watching the news reports in the conference room and feeling absolutely shocked.
    How did life change for you in the immediate aftermath of the attacks?
    He traveled quite recently after the attacks and he recalls the travel being really messed up. He also said that it was on every news channel for a while after and it was all anyone could think and talk about. He just felt really afraid, anxious and angry. But it didn’t really affect any daily routines
    Did this make you feel similar to the insurrection, would you liken it to anything recent.
    He said that he would liken it to the pandemic. He said that it was in no way similar to the insurrection because it was horrible and internal. While 9/11 was external and unified the insurrection was internal and dividing and was not exactly unpredictable. The insurrection was a disgrace while 9/11 brought us all together
    What do you remember of the media coverage of the attacks?
    It was everywhere, he remembers being devastated by the footage and correspondence and the praise of the first responders. He remembers how people twisted 9/11 into a reason to invade Iraq and to build weapons even when the terrorists were Saudi Arabian.
    What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night? (Show them the transcript here or video below.)
    Everyone was supportive because it was unifying and people like Bush and Guliani had crazy popularity because they were rallying Americans.
    How did life change for you and your family in the weeks and months immediately after 9/11?
    The Department of Homeland Security was created and people learned about hope to protect themselves from terrorists, he recalls watching the news a lot more and being more reluctant to get on an airplane.
    What are your opinions about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Explain.
    He thinks that they were just to get oil and uranium and although they were strategically important the justification for the war was a blatant lie to gain wealth. He thinks that the afghan war was more necessary because The U.S needed control of the uranium depots and for a time brought control.
    Now that it’s been over 20 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why? Has America stayed the same since then? In what ways?
    There have been many changes directly because of the attacks one big thing was racism towards Arabs and people have used the attacks to better their racist agendas, (confirmation bias). Since then travel is much different, since then TSA became a thing and there is a lot more emphasis on using technology for safety which competes with the right to privacy. As unfortunate as it was, we as a country are safer because of it and we are at a lower risk of an attack similar to it, however we have new exposures to terrorism (computer) which makes it more difficult to identify our enemies.

    Before this interview I truly didn’t understand how surreal the whole experience was. I didn’t really know how unexpected all of the attacks were and I was truly shocked to find out how much the devastation united the American people. The most shocking detail in my opinion was the man puking on the side of the road and what that represented for my father. I also thought that it was incredibly interesting how the conversation ended up at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how cyberwarfare is becoming a threat. Throughout the whole interview I was really intrigued by his stories and really enjoyed talking about his experience.

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