Mr. Burhenn


Bonney Lake High School

Contemporary World

2015-16 Syllabus

Graduation Requirement Credit

Room 152

Office: 351C

Plan Period: 12:15-1:15

Course Overview

Welcome to Contemporary World. This year-long course is designed to increase understanding of the roles of United States citizens in a global community. The units focus on understanding causes and effects of contemporary world events and are often dictated by what is happening now. This course also has a literacy component and encourages civic responsibility. I look forward to an exciting and challenging year!

Computer Lab

Students will have daily access to a computer lab in order to keep up to date on the most current events occurring throughout the world. The majority of classwork will be completed on the computer. Students will be instructed on how to access this work on their home computer or any computer with internet access. All students must agree to follow the district's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) each time they log on to the computer. Students who use the computer for personal use, such as playing games or surfing the internet will lose computer access. All course work will then need to be completed with notebook and paper. Any assignment that requires internet access will be modified.

Course Objectives

Deliberation of Public Issues

Media literacy, media bias, credibility and citation of sources, respectful discussion and public discourse, and vocabulary.

Globalization and the Economy

Standard of Living, Governance, global financial organizations, scarcity of resources, international trade and an International Economic Summit simulation held sometime in the Spring.

Environmental Issues

Climate change, international migration and change in the environment, Kyoto Protocol and Copenhagen Climate Conference, Food Sources, GMO, Government subsidies, Food Security, Oil, Natural Resources.

World Conflicts

Conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia, North Korea, Iran. Sanctions, Impact of World Religions, Scarcity of Water.

Human Rights vs Political Systems

Human Rights: UNDHR vs. Different countries. Role of United Nations. Governance: Rule of Law, Control of Corruption, Political Stability etc.


Cultural Movement/Cultural Interaction

Civic Action and Literacy

Take action at local, state, or global level, “Out-of-school reading habits of students have shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year”(Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding).

World Events

As they happen. CNN Student News.

Teacher availability

If you need to see me for tutoring, to discuss a grade, to pick up make-up work, and/or schedule a test/quiz make-up time; you may do so before or after school (7:00am – 7:20) or (2:20pm – 2:50pm). I can either be found in Room 152 or office 351C after school and in the mornings. Please contact me the day prior to schedule an appointment, as meetings, conferences, and other school activities may prevent me from meeting with you during the aforementioned times.

Email is the best way to contact me. I am happy to answer student (and parent) questions. I will usually get back to you within 24 hours on weekdays (may vary on weekends). Students: I will only answer emails which open with a salutation (“Dear Mr. Burhenn” or “Hello Mr. B.”) and which conclude with your name (“Sincerely, Respectful Student”). Emails which are formatted like a sloppy text message (“heyy, when is ur exam because i’m gunna miss class on thursday. Sent from my iPhone”) are not appropriate and would need to be rewritten.

Classroom Expectations

  • Students should expect to read and write daily.

  • Students should expect to be held responsible for knowing and following all school rules.

  • It is expected that students will arrive to class with the appropriate materials and prepared to work.

  • It is also expected that students use the principles of POWER.

  • Students need to sign out and in when leaving the classroom during the class period. Unless Admin approved or medically necessary there will be no passes during the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes of class.

  • Students are NOT ALLOWED to eat or drink, except clear, plain water in the classroom unless they have a specific medical  need documented with the school nurse.

ATTENDANCE:  Attendance is extremely important to achieving success.  School rules will be followed and all students are encouraged to be in class everyday prepared to learn.  Students arriving later than 10 minutes after the bell rings are counted absent.

TARDIES:  Any student not in their assigned seat and prepared for class when the bell stops ringing will earn a tardy.  Tardies will be enforced.

CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR: Respect and Courtesy is expected at all times.  This includes respect and courtesy toward your fellow students, classroom guests, and your instructor.

SEATING CHART:  There will be a seating chart.  Assigned seating facilitates attendance procedures and helps to ensure that you will be in a seat that can allow you to do your best work and not be distracted by others.


Grading Category One (10%): Participation/Citizenship

Daily Assignments & Participation:In order to receive credit for daily work and participation students must attend class. Some of the daily participation activities students will be engaged in includes: answering daily entry questions, watching CNN Student News, provide feedback to both students and on a news blog, and holding classroom discussions. Students will also be asked to evaluate and comment on student presentations, class simulations and current events media. Because the learning from these assignments can not be recreated in alternate assignments and can not be made up for credit, it is crucial for students to attend class daily. Points will be removed for turning in late work, being tardy, not being prepared for class with appropriate materials, disrespectful behaviors etc.

Grading Category Two (20%): Classwork

Classwork/Literacy: This category includes any assignment that does not rely on student-to-student interaction for completion. These assignments include, but are not limited to independent research, current issues vocabulary, PowerPoint presentations, map identification, reflections, online activities, short essays and the literacy component. Plagiarism on any assignment will result in the steps outlined in the student handbook.

Grading Category Three (60%): Assessments

Tests:  Comprehensive assessments will be given throughout the course.  The format will include some of the following:  multiple choice, matching, true/false, short answer, and essay. There may also be intermittent quizzes to check for understanding prior to unit assessments.

Grading Category Four (10%): Competency (Classroom Based Assessment)

Classroom Based Assessment:  Students are required to complete the C.B.A. competency with a 70% or higher grade, or “Proficient” on the state rubric in order to meet standard. Students will be allowed to re-do the C.B.A. with a maximum grade of “C” awarded for re-dos.

Make-up/Late Work

  1. If a student misses a day (with an excused absence) when classwork is due and he/she was present the prior day, the classwork is due the first day back to class. Students who are absent should first ask their classmates about what was done the day they were absent.

  2. Absent students that are excused have 1 day per day absent in order to make up classwork that occurred during their absence.  Participation/Citizenship assignments can not be made up for credit. Students who are absent for an extended amount of time will be given additional days to make up work.

  3. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with the teacher to pick-up make-up/late work at an appropriate time.

  4. Make-up assessments may not be the same as the original given in class.

  5. Late work will be lose points (up to 50%) depending on how late. Assignments turned in after the end of the unit will not be accepted.

  6. Student needs that require extended periods of absence for family, bereavement, or illnesses will be accommodated accordingly.

Family Access: Grades, Attendance, Lunch Accounts and more!

To make it easier for families to be involved in their child's education, we provide a Web-based tool to view student information anytime by using Family Access! Families can view class schedules, grades, attendance, fines, fees, lunch account balances and other student information. 


UPDATE EMAIL: When you login, you will be prompted to add your e-mail address if the district does not have one on file. Please make sure your “Family Access” email is current as I will be sending student email progress reports throughout the year.