Themes in 7th Grade World History Curriculum: Sample Lessons

ABSTRACT THEMES IN A 7TH GRADE WORLD HISTORY CURRICULUM: SAMPLE LESSONS by © Claire Cook Hansen 2009 Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction Option California State University, Chico Spring 2009 Themes In a 7th Grade World History curriculum began with the curriculum model presented in 1998 by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe which “begins with the end in mind,” from their book Understanding by Design. Unlike the traditional model for creating curriculum that begins with the textbook, This project creates a sampling of ready-to-use lessons for novice and veteran teachers in the area of seventh grade social studies. Designing the lessons started with the national standards and California standards followed by what assessments would be used to measure achievement. For this project a decision was made to use both performance-based and written assessments. Next, a theme was chosen from the nine themes for social studies found in the national standards. Teachers need to zero-in on a focal point the “why” for each lesson connected to the theme. Supporting questions the “what” of the x lesson were chosen that address the focal point of each lesson. Activities are the “how” of the lesson created to assist students with answering the supporting questions that connect to the focal point and theme. Assessments are project-based activities given during throughout the lessons which are placed in student portfolios and written summative tests and essays given at the end of the lessons or unit. All of the thematic lessons provide the teacher with ideas which will aid them in addressing individual learning abilities or differentiated instruction (DI) along with Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI) connects to student passions and learning styles. The activities in this project incorporate the four elements research suggests enhances teaching the whole child while infusing energy into the learning environment. The four elements that best teach the whole child are see it, hear it, say it, and do it.