Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Social Studies

S is for Social Studies
Today, the students got a break from writing. Their teacher gets to write “S”.  As such, S is for Social Studies.  I have enjoyed teaching Social Studies at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School.  Each class brings a new group of boys and girls that can learn about the world that they live in and become more familiar with where they came from.  Each subject area: World Geography, World History, U.S. History, and Government give the students an opportunity to expand their knowledge.  Each course taught in a blended learning format with a rigorous curriculum prepares them for their future lives in career, college, or life.

World Geography really helps the students to learn about the world that they live in. The class starts out with a unit on the basics of geography and the five themes of the class.  These five themes are: Location, Place/Region, Impact of the Individual, Movement, and Human-Environment.  The students then go through the regions of Europe, South and Central America, North America, and Russia to focus in on these themes and aspects of these areas.  Each region discusses the climate, resources, and make-up of that area.  Students can choose to take the second semester, which covers the rest of the world. We reinforce this in class as students connect their learning to the current events of the area and as we focus on an activity with each of the themes.

World History covers the major events of the world as the students start with the initial civilizations of the Egyptians, Sumerians, and Greeks.  As the material builds they learn about the civilizations that expand, fall, and the impact that they have on future civilizations and the civilizations of today.  If the students take both semesters, they come all the way to the present-day.  We reinforce this learning in class with current events that are often influenced by historical events. We also practice reading primary sources to gain a greater picture of how these people lived.

U.S. History is set up in a similar way to World History in the fact that it covers the major events of the United States of America. The class starts with the discovery and settlement of the new world, transitions to the formation of the republic, the Civil War, and the U.S.’s involvement in the world events.  This class moves all the way to the present-day as well as students are required to take a full year of this course.  The students enjoy discussing the way that the country has turned out now in relationship to where we have been through the current events.  We will use a variety of primary sources from old news clips, to newspapers, texts, and movies to understand what people thought at that time.

Students working hard on their assignment in class
Finally, the government class is set up to follow the U.S. History class as the students focus in on the writing of the Constitution, the three branches of government, and the inner workings of their federal, state, and local governments.  These students culminate this class with a final project that requires them to write about an issue to their local Congressman/Congresswoman.  This letter allows the students to really think about their opinion and commit to it—a great skill we work on in all of the classes.

Overall, I hope that you can see why I love teaching Social Studies so much and what we try to accomplish in each class.

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