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What is the District 89 social studies curriculum based on?

District 89 students have a social studies curriculum driven by the Illinois Social Science Standards. The goal of these standards are to promote the development of the knowledge and skills necessary for success in college, career, and civic life in the 21st century. This is called the C3 framework since is focuses on college, career, and civic life. District 89 has a thematic curriculum for social studies for student in Kindergarten through fifth grade. These themes are aligned to social science disciplinary concepts. The district focuses on writing in social studies, reading information texts, and using inquiry to drive learning for students.


What are the themes in elementary school?

The social studies themes in elementary school are:

  • Kindergarten: My Social World
  • First Grade: Living, Learning, and Working Together
  • Second Grade: Families, Neighborhoods, and Communities
  • Third Grade: Communities Near and Far
  • Fourth Grade: Our State, Our Nation
  • Fifth Grade: Our Nation, Our World


How is the middle school curriculum different than elementary?

The middle schools are banded by three different levels of complexity, not grade levels. The Illinois standards have Less Complex (LC), Moderately Complex (MdC), and More Complex (MC) as the different levels. This helps students at different levels practice learning and be able to build inquiry skills throughout their middle school years. District 89 supports student inquiry within the social studies curriculum by: developing questions, planning inquiries, evaluating sources, using evidence, communicating conclusions, and taking informed action. The areas of study for District 89 middle school grades are:

  • Sixth Grade: World Civilizations
  • Seventh Grade: US History Beginnings to 1877
  • Eighth Grade: US History Reconstruction to the Present


What are common themes across all of the social studies curriculum in District 89?

Common themes across all of the social studies include access to a digital component to our curriculum that includes activities, interactive components, and inquiry-driven learning experiences. These are all based on the Illinois Standards for Social Sciences (click here for more information and a list of the Illinois state C3 standards). There is a common language used throughout District 89 for social studies, which include:


Common Vocabulary

  • Inquiry—An ongoing cycle of learning to use knowledge at increasingly complex levels as a way to integrate content. Through the inquiry process, students (individually and or collaboratively) identify issues, pose questions, investigate answers, pose more questions, weigh the evidence, come to conclusions, and take action on their learning.
  • Inquiry skills—Skills and dispositions that students need to meet the challenges of college, career, and civic life in the 21st century. Inquiry skills are used by students while applying disciplinary concepts to construct essential and supporting questions and determine helpful sources to conduct investigations and take informed action.
  • Essential questions—Open-ended questions that focus on a big idea. These questions are enduring and centered on unresolved issues.
  • Supporting questions—These questions can be answered through descriptions, definitions, and processes on which there is general agreement. These questions help formulate an answer to the essential question.
  • Disciplinary concepts—Ideas, principles, and content at the heart of understanding the social sciences.


Inquiry Standards

  • Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries
    • Constructing Essential Questions
    • Constructing Supporting Questions
    • Determining Helpful Sources
  • Evaluating Sources and Using Evidence
    • Gathering and Evaluating Sources
    • Developing Claims and Using Evidence
  • Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action
    • Communicating Conclusions
    • Critiquing Conclusions
    • Taking Informed Action


K-12 Disciplinary Concepts

Disciplinary concepts emphasize the way each discipline provides foundational knowledge and skills essential to inquiry and action. Specific content at each grade level should be determined locally and reflect the state mandates. Inquiry skills should be applied while learning disciplinary concepts to allow students to create deeper understanding of content. The disciplinary concepts are divided into the four core disciplines of social science and include the following areas:

  • Civics
    • Civic and Political Institutions
    • Participation and Deliberation: Applying Civic Virtues and Democratic Principles
    • Processes, Rules, and Laws
  • Geography
    • Geographic Representations: Spatial Views of the World
    • Human-Environment Interaction: Place, Regions, and Culture
    • Human Population: Spatial Patterns and Movements
    • Global Interconnections: Changing Spatial Patterns
  • Economics and Financial Literacy
    • Economic Decision Making
    • Exchange and Markets
    • The National and Global Economy
  • History
    • Change, Continuity, and Context
    • Perspectives
    • Historical Sources and Evidence
    • Causation and Argumentation