Middle School Social Studies
Using the Glencoe California Series textbooks as organizing principles, the classes move chronologically through world history, from the earliest evidence of mankind to the current day. With role-playing exercises we emphasize historical empathy and give the students opportunities to imagine the world from numerous cultural perspectives. The program is built to develop an awareness of our culture in context and the understanding that every civilization is, at least in part, a product of its time and geographic perspective.
The curriculum is differentiated, creating opportunities for students to approach the same historical material in different modes of expression and at a pace most productive for the individual. The presentation of material is enhanced with projections, videos and review games on interactive whiteboards. Students demonstrate their understanding in visual, video and dramatic expressions, in addition to the traditional evaluations through objective testing and essay writing. The goal is to balance these evaluations so each student can work from his or her strengths and also be challenged to experiment in new modes of expression.
Using hands-on map making, interactive map technology and map puzzles, we encourage students to develop a familiarity with world geography. Current events are retrieved from both printed and digital media and compared with events in the historical culture that we are studying.
The middle school history program begins with a survival game, raising the question, “What does mankind need to live and thrive?” From there the students create a “Paradigm for Civilization” which is then compared with actions taken by each civilization. We emphasize the difference between primary and secondary sources and the need for responsible citizens to always weigh the source of information. Whenever possible, we bring in guest speakers with direct experience in a subject, particularly in the realm of religious practice. In that way we put a distinctively human face on what may possibly be misunderstood. The goal is building students who are curious, open minded and think for themselves.