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Social Studies

Overview

In the spring of 2014 the Board of Regents approved the new K-12 Social Studies Frameworks. This 21st Century curricula blended the Common Core Learning Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies with the 1999 New York State developed social studies core curriculum.

The five Social Studies Standards remain the same:
1. History of US and NY
2. World History
3. Geography
4. Economics
5. Civics and Citizenship

In addition, the 2014 frameworks adopted and featured elements of the C3 curriculum written by the National Council for Social Studies, especially its Inquiry Arc.

Social Studies at the Elementary Level

At the elementary level, not only does the district focus on key ideas and conceptual understandings of social studies content, but also works to develop cross disciplinary skills in critical reading, writing, and research, as well as essential skills and habits of mind used by social scientists and historians.

Social Studies at the Junior High School Level

Social Studies 7

Beginning in seventh grade, a two-year study of American History is initiated. The Social Studies 7 course is a chronological exploration of American History from the pre-Columbian era through the period of Reconstruction. The units of instruction include “America Prior to 1500”, “Exploration and Colonization,” “A New Nation,” “Experiments in Government,” “Life in the New Nation,” and “Division and Reunion.” Important historical, economic, geographic, and governmental features of this period are studied. As part of this program, specialized social studies skills are taught. They include the following:

  • Reading maps, charts, and graphs
  • Interpreting political cartoons 
  • Reading, speaking, and listening skills
  • Analyzing primary source documents
  • Essay writing
  • Analyzing current events
  • Research skills
  • Studying a given historical period or theme through an interdisciplinary lens

The teaching of lifelong skills is an important part of the social studies program.

Social Studies 8

The exploration of history in eighth grade concludes a two-year study of American History. The course begins with the post Civil War Era and continues to the present including the following units: “An Industrial Society,” “The United States in Interdependent World,” The United Between the Wars,” Worldwide Responsibilities,” and “World War II to the Present.” Students are involved in the historical, social, geographic, political, and economic themes as they relate to the people and events of this time period. The teaching of specialized social studies skills continues in eighth grade and will include the following:

  • Reading maps, charts, and graphs
  • Interpreting political cartoons 
  • Reading, speaking, and listening skills
  • Analyzing primary source documents
  • Essay writing
  • Analyzing current events
  • Research skills
  • Studying a given historical period or theme through an interdisciplinary lens

Social Studies at the High School Level

The primary purpose of the Shaker High School social studies department is to help students develop reasoned and informed decision making processes for the public good, as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society. Within an integrated grades 9-12 program of study that incorporates history, the social sciences, humanities, geography, sociology, political science, psychology, civics, and criminal law, scholarship is developed through a comprehensive multi-disciplinary approach.

At the high school level, the social studies program prepares students with core knowledge as well as authentic, real world skills while simultaneously addressing the New York State Learning Standards. Students in grades 9 and 10 study Global History and Geography, a 2 year chronological sequence culminating in the Global History and Geography Regents examination. The focus shifts to United States History and Government in 11th grade, a course that also ends with a Regents exam. The senior year blends two required courses, Participation in Government and Economics with several elective opportunities that deepen student’s historical thinking and help students assume their role as responsible citizens and active contributors to a world that is globally diverse and interdependent. Social Studies emphasizes and explores themes and concepts such as change, nationalism, culture, environment, belief systems, justice, and political systems.