Social Studies-specific skills (how delightfully alliterative!)

In the previous post I address the overlapping skills that I hope my teachers will address in both the English and Social Studies classes. In order to more directly address the specific curricula of each course, I also spent some time thinking about the specific skills (really more subject matter/content-related) into which each subject will have to delve.

Here’s what I’ve put together thus far for the Social Studies curriculum:

Social Studies-specific Objectives and Skill Sets:
1.    Mapping skills
a.    Study political and topographical maps of Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Europe.
b.    Study different map projections and understand how various graphical presentations of the world reshape our perspective and reflect various cultural biases/beliefs → e.g. see “West Wing” episode:

c.    Understand the five themes of geography and how to search them out and apply them to the regions we study throughout the course of the summer.
d.    Be able to identify major geographic features (landmasses, bodies of water, rivers, modern nations, etc.) for the regions we study. → primarily via quizzes.

2.    Thematic identification and understanding – THEME FOR THE SUMMER:
a.    Exploring this theme through articles from various publications.
b.    Learn about Africa (North-Central Africa and South Africa); S. and C. America (primarily Colombia and Mexico); Asia (primarily China and India); and Europe.
c.    Emphasize the importance of understanding the interconnected nature of these dynamic interactions:
i.    how humans and their interactions with the environment lead to or exacerbate these conflicts?
ii.    how do cross-cultural interactions and various belief systems and practices lead to or exacerbate these conflicts?

I’m sure there are many others that I could have included; however, I find that much of teaching involves seeing how the year (or in this case, five-week summer session) develops and then adjusting from there. It seems foolish to plan one’s lessons in a vacuum based on theoretical students and charge ahead with those plans unchanged regardless of the reality facing oneself on a daily basis in the classroom. Therefore, I’m sure as I begin to have conversations and brainstorming sessions with my teachers that more and more skills and topics will become important to emphasize and will make their way into the curriculum and lesson plans then. Ah, the wonders of flexibility and autonomy! How nice.


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