Inside our Classrooms: Social Studies and History - Winter 2013/2014

Kindergarten

In social studies, the Kindergarten learned about holidays and customs celebrated around the world. The class learned about the first Thanksgiving and its importance in the United States. Students enjoyed their own Thanksgiving Feast and shared Thanksgiving customs as Native Americans and Pilgrims. Like the Pilgrims and Native Americans, the Kindergarteners reflected upon all the things for which they are thankful. 

First Grade

A field trip to the National Building Museum allowed students to become city planners for the day. Students created residential, industrial, commercial, and government buildings out of recyclable materials, and then had to decide where they should all go to make their community its very best. The field trip supported the social studies curriculum covering communities, cities, and citizens.

Second Grade

In history class, the second graders wrapped up their government study and quickly turned their focus to learning all about the Native Americans, a major component of the second-grade history curriculum. After learning a great deal about the first Americans, students participated in a final culminating event in January: Native American Day! On this special day, students got the opportunity to dress up as Native Americans and complete some of the crafts and projects that they learned about in their studies. Fun was had by all as the students completed masks, necklaces, sand paintings, and participated in Native American races! A huge thank you to all the second-grade parents who helped to make this event a great and memorable one for the children. Upon completion of the Native American studies, the children will learn about the Vikings.

Third Grade

The third-grade students have moved on from the dim and distant Neolithic and into the bright sun and shining grandeur of ancient Egypt. Students have seen the monumental wonders of buildings that are possible with the advent of stable, permanent government and surplus farm production. From the largest pyramid to the smallest hieroglyphic inscription, third-grade students are learning that great innovations became possible when early civilizations were able to harness the power of organization. 

Fourth Grade

It’s an exciting time in fourth-grade history and classical studies! Students spent the months of November and December reading and analyzing the broad sweep of Greek mythology. The students learned not only about the characters and plots of these enduring stories; but also about their lessons and morals. In so doing, they discovered that reading the myths of a particular culture can reveal the values and self-image of that culture, even if it has been lost for centuries. As we approach the Sochi games, the Fourth Grade will explore the ancient history of the Olympics and ideas behind—and the inspiration for—the ancient tradition of sport.

Fifth Grade

In the fifth grade, students have paused their study of Roman history to examine the culture of the Romans. Starting with the institution of the Roman family, the coming months will be spent examining almost every aspect of Roman life, including how they lived, what they ate, what they did for fun, and their laws. Notably, students are preparing for the National Mythology Exam, an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the classical mythology that they have studied in fourth and fifth grades.

Sixth Grade

In the sixth grade, the High Middle Ages have begun! Students are finding out that Europeans of this period, far from being nasty, brutish, short, and male-dominated, actually lived quite fulfilling lives, apart from the occasional plague or crusade. Special focus is given to the role of women during this period, with examples of damsels and queens manipulating power for their own advantage being surprisingly more commonplace than one might expect.

Seventh Grade

In both seventh- and eighth-grade history, the students keep a history journal throughout the year. They complete three entries per quarter, each one asking them to step into the shoes of a given historical figure and write from his or her point of view. For example, the seventh graders recently wrote a script of an imaginary supper conversation between Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael, in which each man discussed his training as an artist, his favorite work, and any personality traits that may have helped or hindered him in his career. This exercise allowed the seventh graders to take the details they had learned about each artist and his work and to put it into context as the artist himself would have experienced it. 

Eighth Grade

Eighth-grade students have taken on the role of a Boston citizen in early 1775, writing an opinion piece for the city newspaper and expressing discontent with the Coercive Acts and other harsh treatment by the British government. By the end of the school year, the students will have a complete body of work consisting of twelve journal entries, each a reflection of their ability to take the factual foundation they have formed in class and through homework and use it to write a creative, analytical piece, putting themselves in the position of the people they are learning about in history.