Elementary School Social Studies Course Description and Proficiencies

Kindergarten (click here for proficiencies)

Following the expanding communities approach, students will begin to examine the self – body and mind – by beginning to look at how they function and socialize within a family, school, and community.    Various aspects of socialization, as applied to the classroom, will be the focus for social and academic development within the sphere of social studies.  Students will be active participants in learning and practicing norms for behavior, solving conflict, and deliberating and making informed decisions about issues.  National, cultural, and personal identity will be explored through concrete learning and engagement with various texts.  The experience of social studies at this grade level is intended to parallel students’ cognitive, social, and emotional development and it will often be presented in integrative fashion with other courses of study.     


First Grade (click here for proficiencies)

Following the expanding communities approach, students will begin to examine the self – body and mind – by beginning to look at how they function and socialize within a family, school, and community.  The course will introduce students to definitions and rationales for governance, citizenship, cultural diversity, and economic institutions needed to understand the relationship between the individual and community.  Student use of historical and geographic perspective will be elicited through an understanding of place and time in relation to their own life.  The experience of social studies at this grade level is intended to parallel students’ cognitive, social, and emotional development and it will often be presented in integrative fashion with other courses of study.     


Second Grade (click here for proficiencies)

Following the expanding communities approach, students will continue to examine the self – body and mind – by looking at how individuals are influenced by family, community, state, nation, and world.  The course will introduce students to the foundations and essential skills of civics, geography, and economics needed to understand the relationship between the individual and community.  Beyond the conceptual nature of these subjects, students will have the opportunity to explore values of democracy and cultural diversity in relation to their own lives.  The experience of social studies at this grade level is intended to parallel students’ cognitive, social, and emotional development and it will often be presented in integrative fashion with other courses of study.     

Third Grade (click here for proficiencies)

This course includes a mix of fundamental concepts integral to the social studies.  Beginning with a comprehensive investigation of community, students learn the historical, geographic, cultural, civic, and economic characteristics to define communities in general, but more importantly, they begin to understand their own communities of Scotch Plains and Fanwood.  More advanced analyses of communities involve examination of transportation, trade, communication, technology, and immigration.  The earliest national history and study of community is explored through the lens of Native American groups and how they lived.  Lastly, students study the foundation of American democracy and the market system, and are briefly introduced to political and economic concepts on the global domain. 


Fourth Grade (click here for course proficiencies)

This course is based in geography, yet integrates history, economics, civics, and culture.  To comprehend the distinct features, strengths, and challenges of geographic regions, students examine how the physical environment shapes human interaction in the Northeast, South, Mid-West, and West regions of America.  The diversity of cultures, land, and economies becomes clear through this investigation.  Applying parallel themes, a closer look at the geography, economy, history, and government of New Jersey demonstrates the identity of our state.  At the conclusion of the year, students build on their previous knowledge of the structure and function of the federal government, and are introduced to the role of the United States in international affairs.


Fifth Grade (click here for proficiencies)

This is the first comprehensive study of U.S. History.  Students examine the scope of time, including pre-Columbian history through the American Revolution.  Five broad themes from the National Council for Social Studies are used to frame the study of American history: 1) migration and settlement; 2) people, places, and environment; 3) culture and cultural diversity; 4) global connections; and 5) power, authority, and governance.  A concentrated study of Native American cultures, economies and societies demonstrate how North America was first settled, and the changes Native Americans encountered through physical and human events.  Ample background on European exploration demonstrates the causes for migration to the Americas.  As various European groups settle in North America, a major focus of the course becomes how settlement and colonization shape future America.  A thorough investigation of the American Revolution culminates the course.




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