Lorraine Lupinskie, Director
Click here to view the HS Social Studies Course Offerings for 2013-14
Middle School Course Offering will be posted shortly, please check back
In social studies classes at Half Hollow Hills students explore questions about people, events and ideas in the past and the present. How is the world we live in connected to history? How are communities and peoples similar and different throughout the world? What are the roots of our country? How do the land and the climate the lives of people? What are our responsibilities to ourselves and to others? What is our place in the world? These are among the many essential questions students will examine through the K-12 social studies program.
The social studies program addresses the state standards. It is designed to provide understanding of historic, social, geographic, economic and political elements of mono and multicultural societies and is enhanced through teaching cognitive skills: to think logically, analytically, and reflectively. Skills development relates to gathering, classifying and presenting information. Students apply critical thinking skills in understanding perspective and differing points of view, as well as forming and validating hypotheses. Building on a series of concentric circles, beginning in kindergarten students learn about themselves, their families, communities both at home and around the world, their state, nation and, ultimately, the world. Ultimately this instruction helps students assume their role as responsible citizens, and active contributors to our democracy. Throughout the K-12 program, the curriculum closely integrates technology applications, and, where appropriate, other academic disciplines.
Beginning in kindergarten the program integrates content, concepts and skills for later learning and life in a democracy. Skills developed relate to gathering, using and presenting information, considering differing points of view and interpretations of events, participating in interpersonal and group relations, and personal management. Helping students become aware of self evolves into understanding of relationships with others, at home, in school, and the wider community. Throughout the elementary program, students are introduced to the use of authentic primary source documents (photos, editorial cartoons, charts and graphs, etc.) with the goal of acquiring the skills needed to construct meaning and understanding. By Grade 5 students develop a rudimentary sense of the geographic, economic, social and political underpinnings of societies, with an emphasis on the countries of the Western Hemisphere. Students are able to compose expository essays that become increasingly sophisticated in the middle school and, later, on the high school levels.
We continue to emphasize the important "big ideas" that overarch the entire social studies curriculum. Teachers gear their social studies instruction to connect their individual lessons and units to these major understandings. They are:
- The world is a place that is organized and understandable.
- All people are similar. All people are different.
- Where we live affects how we live.
- Our past helps us to understand how we live today.
- How we live today will affect how others and we live in the future.
K – 5th grade is a critical time to work with students, developing the knowledge and skills that are foundational to later learning. As students process specific information related to the various topics they learn in social studies, it is important for them to make those critical thinking connections to the big ideas. In this way, they begin to see "the entire forest instead of the individual trees' and develop conceptual thinking, a significant skill for success in social studies at the secondary level.
The 6th Grade social studies curriculum emphasizes the Eastern Hemisphere, providing students with a basic understanding of the geographic, social, economic and political elements primarily of ancient and classical civilizations in this part of the world. The program in Grades 7 and 8 shifts to the United States. It begins with understanding how Colonial America was a fusion of cultural elements of the New and Old Worlds, and culminates with a consideration of recent events and concerns in our country. Civic values reflected in the US and New York State Constitutions, as well as rights and responsibilities of citizens are explored, and skills introduced in the primary grades are further developed. In 8th grade, many students are offered the elective, Law Seminar, which introduces our legal system, through actual case studies.
New York State mandates four years of study in social studies with commencement assessments at the end of Grades 10 and 11. Students in the 9th and 10th Grades take a comprehensive Global History and Geography course. Using a chronological framework, the major developments, contributions, and problems of the Western and non-Western worlds are explored. In Grade 11 the study of United States History and Government is revisited with greater emphasis on the relationship of our nation to the rest of the world since its inception. The social studies program culminates in Grade 12 with half year courses in Economics and Participation in Government.
In high school many students are also enrolled in social studies electives. Students may choose from such varied offerings as Sports in American History, the Holocaust, Criminal Justice, Experiences in Law, Psychology, Sociology, Race in America, as well as our newest offering, AP Human Geography.
At the high school level many elect honors and Advanced Placement classes. The high schools currently offer Advanced Placement courses in European History, American History, Politics, Economics and Human Geography. Honors classes are also available in Global History 9 and 10, American History 11, and Social Studies 12.
Currently over 40% of high school students have accepted the challenges of these more rigorous courses.