Social Studies

The CREC Magnet Schools High School Social Studies curriculum prepares students to be active informed citizens that are members of a 21st Century global community. The curriculum follows the CT Social Studies Frameworks, based on the C3, which seeks to prepare students for Career, College and Civic Life. Through a variety of classroom experiences, students develop critical thinking skills, creativity, curiosity and open-mindedness. Classroom instruction balances learning about new content and concepts with an inquiry-based learning approach. Inquiry-based learning allows students to ask questions and have the opportunity to engage in the research process to further address their questions. Each course has a lead discipline (History, Civics, Geography, or Economics). However, the curriculum integrates the different disciplines to give students a ranges of skills and experiences. Literacy in the content area is emphasized to continue to develop students reading, writing, and speaking/listening skills.  Each course includes a grade level appropriate research component, intended to prepare students for college and beyond. 

In CREC classrooms, students will learn Social Studies within an inquiry-based approach. This approach allows for teacher-created, standards-based curriculum to come to life while allowing room for student voice and interest. Students are encouraged to think, read, write, and speak like historians, geographers, and citizens, engaging in authentic, real-world tasks to bring learning to life. Additionally, the classroom instruction will foster the CREC Essential Skills/21st Century Skills of Collaboration and Communication, Critical-Thinking and Problem-Solving, and Creativity and Innovation. 

Some tasks students will be asked to engage in include: 

  • Choosing topics for and completing independent and group research projects (with age appropriate support and requirements)

  • Collaborate with peers and provide feedback to each other

  • Present for different audiences

  • Choose and evaluate appropriate sources for their projects and tasks

  • Write for a range of audience 

  • Develop an argument and support it with evidence, including both writing and speaking and listening activities

  • Utilize technology to demonstrate their learning 

  • Engage in project based learning 

How to Support Your Student at Home:  

  • Use conversation to give your child confidence to learn. Encouraging your child to talk with you about a topic.  Let them know that you take their ideas seriously and value their efforts to learn. The ability to have conversations with your child profoundly affects what and how they learn. 

  • Let your child know it’s OK to ask you questions. If you can’t answer all of their questions, that’s all right—no one has all the answers. Some of the best answers you can give are, “Good question. How can we find the answer?” and “Let’s find out together.” Together, you and your child can propose possible answers and then check them by using reference books and the Internet, or by asking someone who is likely to know the correct answers. 

  • Make the most of everyday opportunities. Take advantage of visits from family members to encourage storytelling about their lives—What was school like for them? What was happening in the country and the world? What games or songs did they like? What were the fads of the day? Who are their heroes? On holidays, talk with your child about why the holiday is observed, who (or what) it honors and how and whether it’s observed in places other than the United States. At ball games, talk about the flag and the national anthem and what they mean to the country. 

  • Recognize that children have their own ideas and interests. By letting your child choose some activities that they want to do, you let them  know that their ideas and interests have value. You can further reinforce this interest by asking your child to teach you what he learns.

The above was adapted from Helping Your Child Learn History Guidebook from the US Department of Education   

  • Read or watch the news together.  You can discuss what is happening in the community, country or world and do some research together to learn more about what is happening.  This builds citizenship. 

  • Watch historical documentaries or movies based on true historical events and people.  Together you can do research about the event or person and discuss how accurately it was portrayed in the movie. 

  • Use Social Media content positively to discuss issues, events or movements.  Students are exposed to a lot of content on social media platforms.  This provides an opportunity to talk about the various angles of the content.  Ask them questions and see if and how the content impacts them directly.  You can also do research about the content and bring it back to your child to further discuss. 

  • There are many ways to further Social Emotional Learning within Social Studies!   The skills within Social Emotional Learning are: 1) Self Awareness; 2) Self Management; 3) Social Awareness; 4) Relationship Skills; and 5) Responsible Decision Making.   Have conversations about any of the content your student is studying in class or being exposed to on social media and ask the following suggested questions: “How do you feel about this?”, “What other events are going on at the same time?”, “What would you do if you were in the same situation?”, “What should have happened?”, “Have you or someone you know ever been in this situation?”. “What side of history would you be on and why?”, “What can we do to prevent something like that from happening?”  These discussions help your bond and relationship with your child while helping them navigate things that impact their sense of self.   

Resources for Parents at Home:

  • Facing History -   This resource helps move students beyond mere intellectual understanding of history through a shared focus on intellectual reflection, emotional engagement, and ethical reflection.

  • Khan AcademyVirtual learning modules on subjects such as history and social sciences.  

  • Reading is Fundamental-   RIF creates needs-based content and targeted programs that align key literacy issues with proactive and measurable solutions. It begin with books and continues with resources, activities, and professional development for educators, parents, and literacy volunteers to ensure that reading turns into a journey of opportunity for all children.

  • Library of CongressAmerican Memory collections in digitized collections at the Library of Congress

  • History ChannelHISTORY Classroom offers resources for teachers, parents and students 

  • Brain PopAnimated short videos on historical events and people.  Quizzes for students in grades K-12 are available. including education guides, learning tools, and links to educational content.

  • PBS Learning MediaExplore the past and learn about the present with resources on government, history, economics, and more.

  • Storyline Online - Online books that are recorded by readers for students to enjoy and learn from.  

  • Learning for Justice- Resources for teachers, parents, and students to understand topics of injustices.  This link provides timely articles and publications to further learning opportunities. 

For more information, please contact the Supervisor of Social Studies, Maryam Wardak, at [email protected]

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