As I read and thought about the Social Studies Standards, I considered looking into the standards for First grade. I think that children in this grade level are at a good age to better understand Social Studies. I do realize that teaching Social Studies starts from pre-school however it can be further be understood by older aged students. The topics that are covered according to the Standards first grade should introduce settlements and cultures, civilizations, and different places around the world. In the standards for first grade there are five strands. In the first strand covered in the standards introduces the students to American History. It uses several concepts research skills for History, Early Civilizations, Explorations and Colonization, Post war United States, and Contemporary United States. For the first strand that deals with American History what is being taught, is the importance of life events and the order of which they appear within a timeline. They retell stories that inform the students of such events, people, and places within the time frame by using pictures, maps, historical items, etc. Students are also expected to learn about the beginning of civilizations.
The students are to be taught to recognize and identify the farming means that were required by certain groups of people to settle at one particular place. The students are also expected to learn about the farming history and communication. The students are also taught about Native Americans and the Spanish. The students are introduces to such topics as Christopher Columbus discovering land, the exchange of goods, etc. The students also need to be taught about the Pilgrims, the first Thanksgiving, and what it contributed to us celebrating Thanksgiving Day. Students in the grade level need to learn that the United States began as 13 colonies that were ruled by England. The students compare and contrast the way of living from the colonial times and now.
The students need to be taught about Martin Luther King Jr. and others who have contributed to making history. Students are exposed to different types of local and state events. Strand 1 can really tie in with strand 2, because they both cover about civilizations, farming and development, they learn why England ruled the 13 Colonies. Strand 2 also covers more about the development of the unique civilizations and how they expanded, the how religious ideas came to develop, the uniting and conflicts between nations. I can really see how these is something that can be easily taught to older children. It is easier for them to understand these concepts and how to apply them. Teachers can really have fun while implementing these two strands. There are many projects and activities that can be used to help the children learn these topics.
Civics, Government and Economics sound like big and important topics, because they are, and our children get introduced to them at a very young age. Strands 3 and 4 cover these topics. The concepts include, Foundations of government and economics, Structures of Government, Rights, Responsibilities, and Roles of Citizenship, Personal Finance. The students are taught to recognize national symbols such as The American, The Bald Eagle, The White House, etc. They are also given the background information on the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. They practice using their government skills by having classroom rules and by voting for classroom officials. They learn how the government works with other organizations. The students also need to be taught that each state has a capitol with their own distinct symbols. By allowing students to be engaged in their own learning they get to see how history played out. Students learn about their rights, responsibilities, and roles of citizenship by showing good behavior, being courteous, generous, participating in the classroom and within their communities.
Students are also given a basic and general understanding as to why there are laws, rules, consequences, and punishments, and how they play a part in the protection of everyone. In Foundations of Economics students are taught to distinguish between material and immaterial objects, and how choices are based on the resources available. The students are also taught that some of the goods that are provided within the United States were not made locally. They learn about good and services that we receive from other countries. By providing materials such as currency from other countries student learn the on all countries have the same monetary values. Within this strand there is also a concept of personal finance which helps the students learn about the reasons that they should save money for future needs of goods and services.
Strand 4 covers the area dealing with Geography. Geography helps the students learn about maps, legend/key, symbols, compass, etc. This helps the students with basic knowledge and understanding of the world they live on. The students get to explore and draw out their own complete maps with a legend and a compass. The students learn that the world is composed of land and water. They are exposed knowledge about lakes, rivers, icebergs, mountains, caves, etc. The students learn that there are different types of maps based on what you are looking for. This strand also helps students recognize places and regions. Every place is made up of other places. What builds the community that they live in? Perhaps a park, schools, post office, etc. What happens to open land? Is it farmed on, constructed on, etc. why or why not? There are also several Science standards that are tied into this strand of Social Studies.
All of these strands and concepts under Social Studies Standards are very important to the growth and development of children. From a very young age child can learn and understand all of these concepts. They are easily implemented and can be integrated into fun activities. The States can outline what has to be taught to the children and teacher has the ability to teach it in a fun and interesting form. There are no limits to how much a child can learn with proper guidance and discipline.
Standards and assessment division: Arizona Academic Standards by Warren, C. (2009) http://www.ade.state.az.us/sa/sdi/socstudies.asp