Social Studies


Kindergarten Social Studies

FOCUS: Self and others in the school and the neighborhood; how is my family similar or different from others?; how is my world affected by the past?

CONCEPTS: People’s jobs and their societal importance including the tools they use; diversity in the classroom and world; why change occurs as time passes.

SKILLS: Similarities and differences in people’s characteristics, habits and living patterns; differences between past and present.


First Grade Social Studies

CONCEPTS: FOCUS: Friendship; food; post office. CONCEPTS: Community; interdependence.

CONCEPTS: Community; interdependence.

SKILLS: Understanding roles, routines and communication within a community; how we rely on others; exploring cultural customs and traditions; recognizing ways in which culture influences people’s habits and living patterns; identifying symbols, events and customs of various cultures.

HIGHLIGHT: Running a school post office.


Second Grade Social Studies

CONCEPTS: Personal identity and role within a community: How can I help my classroom community? How can I help my school community? How can I help my neighborhood community?

SKILLS: Practice strategies for effective interpersonal communication (listening and speaking) and conflict resolution; Learn shared social emotional vocabulary to support relationships; Ask and answer questions to gain understanding; Gather and present information to an audience.

HIGHLIGHTS: Self-portraits; garden projects; interview projects; service learning field trips to San Francisco community spaces (parks, beaches, libraries).


Third Grade Social Studies

FOCUS: San Francisco, communities, culture, geography and diversity.

CONCEPTS AND SKILLS: People and their community. Identify the similarities and differences in communities around the world; locate and map local community in relation to the world; understand the historical significance of individuals who have helped make a difference in their community; using nonfiction text to gain knowledge and information.

HIGHLIGHTS: Experiential field trips around San Francisco.


Fourth Grade Social Studies

FOCUS: Geography of California, Native Americans in California, European expansion into California and the Americas, social change in the the 1960s and 1970s.

CONCEPTS & SKILLS: Causes of migration into and within California; social, political, economic and cultural forces that shaped the lives and interactions among people from the pre-Colombian societies through the 1970s; creating time-lines and maps; researching and reading non-fiction, representing past through oral presentations, writing, role-playing, and creating models.

HIGHLIGHT: A living history overnight field trip to Fort Ross during which every student takes on the role of a person who lived in Fort Ross in the year 1812.


Fifth Grade Social Studies

CONCEPTS: FOCUS: Application of careful research and imagination to understand United States history; multiple perspectives, service learning at St. Gregory’s Food Pantry.

CONCEPTS: Historical empathy; the story of the development of a nation; Native American cultures and geography; ongoing encounters between Native Americans and European-American colonists; United States slavery; the promises of the Declaration of Independence; American Revolution; social justice.

SKILLS: Triangulating and synthesizing knowledge from multiple sources in research; analyzing primary and secondary sources, questioning and critical thinking; using strategies to select topic, plan approach, locate information, organize and prepare a research project.


Sixth Grade Social Studies

Integrated with language and literacy in a humanities course.


FOCUS: democracy, social justice and civic engagement; interaction of peoples and communities throughout time; ancient river valley civilizations.

ROUTINES: observing and analyzing patterns and themes between peoples and time periods; comparing and contrasting; map studies; taking notes; analyzing multiple perspectives; using primary and secondary sources. TEXTS: “Teaching Tolerance,” “History Alive,” atlases, “Facing History and Ourselves,” news. PROJECTS: self- and group-identity exhibit; current events discussion, writing, and connecting geographically; ancient civilizations research project with one-pagers and regular presentations; multidisciplinary environmental impact study and awareness campaign.

TEXTS: “Teaching Tolerance,” “History Alive,” atlases, “Facing History and Ourselves,” news. PROJECTS: self- and group-identity exhibit; current events discussion, writing, and connecting geographically; ancient civilizations research project with one-pagers and regular presentations; multidisciplinary environmental impact study and awareness campaign.


Seventh Grade Social Studies

Course content is interdisciplinary with language and literacy. This is a world history survey class that focuses heavily on a study of belief systems.


FOCUS: Regions: Korea, West Africa, Europe and the Holocaust.

CONCEPTS: Identity, Communism, Capitalism, Democracy, Imperialism, Anti-Semitism, Borders, Conflict, and White Supremacy. ROUTINES: Geography investigations, thinking routines, critical thinking activities, note-taking, research, experiential activities, vocabulary studies, use of primary sources, assuming multiple perspectives, identifying recurrent themes and patterns that connect the units.

TEXTS: “History Alive,” “Sundiata,” “Holocaust and Human Behavior,” “Race and Membership,” “Decision-Making in Times of Injustice,” “Conflict on the Korean Peninsula,” “The History of Korea” (Djun Kil Kim), “Instrok module” (Korea Foundation), “Abina and the Important Men,” “The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai,” “Scramble for Africa” (Al Jazeera), “Race: The Power of Illusion,” “Captives as Commodities,”

PROJECTS: Mapping, Research Essays, Time Travelers Journal, Postcards to Home, and Historic Re-enactment.


Eighth Grade Social Studies

Integrated with Language Arts in Middle School Humanities program.


FOCUS: U.S. Constitution, Westward Expansion, Civil War, Reconstruction, Civil Rights Movement, Criminal Justice, Poverty.

LITERATURE: “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” nonfiction books centered around themes of injustice, “House on Mango Street,” “American Born Chinese,” “To Kill a Mockingbird.” SKILLS: Journal writing, literature discussions, independent reading, read aloud, group work, visible thinking.

PROJECTS: book review, analytical essay, oral history project, original constitutions, poetic prose, justice monument proposals.