Rooted in the New York State core curriculum and CCSS standards for literacy in History/Social Studies, the Challenge Charter Middle School curriculum in Social Studies is designed to build on skills, knowledge, and understanding in the areas of geography, social and cultural issues, and economic concepts as they relate to the United States and the global community. Social Studies is a discovery/expeditionary learning model. Reaching beyond simply assessing concepts and learning skills, scholars demonstrate mastery of broader themes through refinement and application of learned content. Through the use of contemporary examples of case studies, students expand their use of the dimensions: intellectual skills, multidisciplinary approaches, depth and breadth, unity and diversity, multiculturalism and multiple perspectives, patterns to organize data, multiple learning environments and resources, and student-centered teaching, learning, and assessment. Scholars begin to understand their role and function in the United States and the global community due to acquiring the skills to research facts and develop opinions and ideas enabling to them to make informed decisions.
The course materials in social studies provide students with an inquiry-based approach to learning historical content and current events. In addition, the materials provide opportunities for explorations of history, geography, economics, government and civics, and performance-based assessments. CCMS uses skill-based texts and reading and writing in the content areas emphasizing social science from a historical perspective.
The CCMS social studies curriculum follows instructional strategies that fit into the School’s overall instructional approach which is a student-centered, inquiry-based and data-driven one:
- Theory and Researched-Based Active Instruction
Lessons and activities are based on five well-established theories: Understanding by Design, Nonlinguistic Representation, Multiple Intelligences, Cooperative Interaction, and Spiral Curriculum.
- Standards-Based Content
Dynamic lessons build mastery of state and national social studies standards. Integrates hands-on active learning, achieving a consistent pattern of high quality social studies instruction while being mindful of standards.
- Preview Assignment
A short, engaging assignment at the start of each lesson helps you preview key concepts and tap students’ prior knowledge and personal experience.
- Multiple Intelligences Teaching Strategies
Multiple Intelligences Teaching Strategies incorporate six types of activities: Visual Discovery, Social Studies Skill Builder, Experiential Exercise, Writing for Understanding, Response Groups, Problem Solving Group work.
- Considerate Text
Carefully structured reading materials enable students at all levels to understand what they read. Recognizes that a successful reading of expository text involves four stages: previewing the content, reading, taking notes, and processing the content or reviewing and applying what has been learned.
- Graphically Organized Reading Notes
Comprehensive graphic organizers used to record key ideas, further help students obtain meaning from what they read. Graphic organizers help students to see the underlying logic and interconnections among concepts by improving their comprehension and retention in the subject area.
- Processing Assignment
An end-of-lesson processing assignment, involving multiple intelligences and higher-order thinking skills, challenges students to apply what they’ve learned. Helps students synthesize and apply the information they have learned in a variety of creative ways.
- Assessments to Inform Instruction
Carefully designed tests encourage students to use their various intelligences to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts while preparing them for standardized tests.