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Social Studies

Social Studies

Social Studies Curriculum, 7-12

An Introduction 

The Township of Ocean School District shares the vision of the adopted 2009 New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Social Studies which seek to foster in its students the development of an understanding of the world as our shared home and appreciation of our American heritage. It has been determined that these objectives be attained through the achievement of student literacy in four major social studies disciplines: civics, history, economics and geography. While each discipline contributes its own unique perspective of the world as our home, it is the summative perception that results from their integration that produces a truly literate understanding of social studies.

The ultimate goal of social studies education is to provide all students with the information required to become informed and responsible citizens who are able to contribute to society. As students are exposed to sequentially organized content area objectives, skill and understanding develop and expand until the goal is achieved.

The Committee is pleased to present the Township of Ocean Social Studies Curriculum Guide to the administration, staff, and parents. So that our students may reap the benefits of a well-defined and sequentially presented curriculum, it is our hope that these documents will prove to be highly practical for our teachers.

Synopses of Content Emphases by Grade Level

Grade 7

This course is designed to be a continuation of the United Stated history program begun in grade 5. Included is a review of geography skills, map skills, terminology, latitudes, longitudes, and time zones. Featured is a study of the United States Constitution principles, organization of government, structure and formation of the document. The remainder of the course is spent on twentieth century history from the Spanish American War to contemporary times.

Grade 8

This course is designed to begin the study of the development of humans as they progressed through the ancient and medieval periods of history. Units include: Ancient History, Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Hellenistic Times, Lydian’s, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Persians, Rome and Christianity. It also includes the Middle Ages, Barbarian invasion, Byzantine Empire, Islam, Hinduism, and Sub-Sahara Africa. Students should become aware of these civilizations. Students should develop a heightened awareness of political history, economics, culture, science, art, religion, and class structure of these civilizations.

Grade 9

This course is designed to continue the study of world cultures. Included is an analysis of the causes, course, and outcome of the Italian Renaissance, the Age of Autocracy, the Age of Revolutions, the Napoleonic Era, the Unification of Italy and Germany, First and Second World Wars and general developments of cultures in Africa and Asia.

Analytical skills and the interpretation of primary sources will be developed. Skills necessary for success in high school social studies curricula will be explored.

Grade 10

This course will provide students with a survey of the major social, economic, and political events in American history from the American War for Independence through the Civil War and Reconstruction and including the Politics and Protest Movements of the late 19th Century. The course will correspond to the literature of related time periods.

Analytical skills, research skills and the interpretation of primary sources will be emphasized. The honors level of this course spans from Pre-Colombian times through

Post Reconstruction Era. This is in order to prepare honors tracked students for the Advanced Placement United States History Exam at the end of Grade 11.

Grade 11

This course will provide student with a survey of the time period from the rise of business to the Cold War. Topics such as America as a world power, the changes in the daily life status of people, United Stated involvement in World War I and World War

II are covered in detail. The Progressive Era, Great Depression and other domestic issues are also covered. This course will provide students with a unit on the Holocaust and address the concepts of prejudice, racism, and the Genocides of the Twentieth Century. The honor level of this course, AP US History II, covers American history from “U.S. becomes an Industrial Power” to the present. This is the second part of a two year course designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Examination.

Grade 12

This year long course covers the period of history in America from 1950 to the present.

Emphasis is placed on such major events as the Cold War, the Korean War, the

Eisenhower Years, the Civil Rights Movement, Space Exploration, The New Frontier of the Kennedy Years, the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson, Vietnam War, Watergate,

Nixon foreign policy successes, Stagflation, the Middle East, the Clinton Administration,

George Bush, the Gulf War, terrorism, and the contemporary problems that face the United States as a nation and a pluralistic society.

Social Studies, K-5

Today’s global society places many demands upon its members.   The digital age has transformed education so that 21 st century learners have tremendously powerful tools at their access--tools with which they can travel back through time to prehistoric eras as well as access information about the present and far-reaching future.   In order to increase understanding of our global society and its responsibilities, New Jersey students are using these tools to expand their learning networks through online collaboration with specialized experts and even other educators and students from around the world.   Simultaneously, our students are expected to develop an understanding of the fundamental principles and values of our democracy and citizenship.   When the two combine, the resultant product is a body of knowledgeable citizens who are capable of making informed decisions about issues and challenges that we face at the local, state, national, and international levels.  

The goals of K-5 Social Studies as a content area are:

ü to teach students about their connectivity to their families, neighbors, community, country, and the world.   

 üto provide students with a foundational understanding of   American democracy and citizenship through active participation in local and global communities. 

ü to expose students to the existence of varying perspectives that are inherent in a multi-cultural and diverse society. 

ü to guide students in a direction that will allow them to appreciate differences in people, cultures, traditions, and lifestyles.   

ü to teach students to live cooperatively in a shrinking world and to collaborate to resolve conflicts in peaceful, non-violent ways.             

ü to expose students to geography skills that will enable them to better understand that geography greatly influences and impacts history.   

ü to develop an understanding of the past so that its connection to and influence over the present and future is apparent. 

ü to foster an understanding of the interconnectivity between economics, civics, geography, and history. 

ü to develop an appreciation and working knowledge of currently existing technological tools and how they are to be used safely, legally, and ethically to access and gain information. 

ü to obtain the knowledge of how to locate legitimate and reliable sources of information.    

ü to become critical thinkers that are able to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information. 

ü to encourage and foster an appreciation for creative and innovative approaches to dealing with life.        

ü to understand the foundations of economics and how the American economy relates to that of the world. 

The Township of Ocean School District strives to provide its students with the knowledge and skills to attain these goals so that they may become productive citizens, not only of the United States but of the global society of which they are a part.     

Social Studies instruction is infused into the daily curriculum so that skills in dealing with everyday issues are continually being developed.   Similarly, the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts Literacy are infused within Social Studies instruction, emphasizing the need to have students

·          read for literacy within the Social Studies content area.

·          read for information within the Social Studies content area.

·          write, using vocabulary specific to the content area.

·          develop proficient use of listening and speaking skills within the Social Studies learning environment.  

·          apply the terminology and jargon of the content area appropriately when speaking or writing about Social Studies topics.

As we moved into the 21 st century, the acquisition of isolated facts has all but disappeared from the education arena.   Rather, students are more actively engaged in authentic learning experiences, project-based learning, and activities which emphasize the interconnectedness of concepts.   Benchmarks and performance assessments are used formatively so that student progress can be accurately monitored and diagnosed for prescriptive instruction.      

It is my hope as the Supervisor of Social Studies, K-5, that all of our students enjoy our Social Studies curricula and programs as they grow in the knowledge of how to resolve the challenges we face in contemporary society.   Thank you for your support!