The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically...Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Social studies, as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (2010), is “the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.” Meaningful social studies instruction allows students to develop enduring understandings in the core discipline areas of civics, economics, geography, and history. Powerful social studies instruction focuses on cultivating students who are prepared to take informed action.
The overarching purpose of social studies instruction is to promote students’ development of the disciplinary and interdisciplinary skills and practices that are necessary for college, career and civic life. In addition, the Common Core’s focus on nonfiction reading requires an emphasis on higher level and historical thinking. To accomplish this goal, the focus of social studies instruction is to promote civic mindedness, problem-solving and a deeper understanding of the past and how it informs the present. Wilton Public Schools approaches instruction in social studies in a way that prepares students to identify, understand, and work to solve the challenges facing our diverse nation in an increasingly interdependent world.
- Contact Information
- Learner Goals
- Program Guiding Principles
- Curriculum State & National Standards
- Pacing Guides / Overview
- WPS Curriculum Materials
Social Studies Program Goals
As students advance through the grades and make individual progress toward mastery of reading, writing, speaking, listening, research and inquiry, students will be able to exhibit with increasing breadth and depth these capacities of the active and informed citizen:
- They inquire.
- They demonstrate independence.
- They build strong content knowledge.
- They collaborate.
- They respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline.
- They comprehend.
- They critique.
- They value evidence.
- They use technology and digital media strategically and capably.
- They come to understand other perspectives and cultures.
Social Studies Program Core Principals
An Integrated Approach
A complete and flexible balance of skills, strategies, and inquiry-based instructional approaches grounded in rich local, state, national, and global historical content are needed for all learners.
Teachers as Learners and Mentors
The teacher’s understanding of both social studies and literacy, and his/her ability to make insightful instructional decisions, are the most influential factors in student achievement. Teachers must be listeners, speakers, readers and writers themselves and mentor students to do the same.
Engagement, Choice & Empowerment
Student engagement, ownership, and empowerment are the keys to developing a lifelong passion for social studies. Students should read complex, grade level texts closely and analytically, annotating the text as they read. This can include primary source documents, accounts of current events, first hand accounts of historical events, texts that offer different historical perspectives, and digital and social media texts.
Inquiry and Research
High quality instruction is critical for student success in social studies. Teachers must consistently use evidence-based teaching strategies, specifically inquiry, collaboration and research, for social studies learning.Time to engage in rich discussion is fundamental to social studies learning and classrooms should be considered civic spaces.
Individualized and Assessment Driven
Individualized, intensive instructional support and enhanced opportunities to read and write must be provided to students who are struggling to develop literacy skills.Instructional practices in literacy must be informed by on-going assessment of student performance. Formative and summative literacy assessments should be clear, relevant, and designed for student success.
Productive School/Home Partnership
Teachers and families need frequent opportunities for dialogue and inquiry around student performance and instructional needs.