Program Update: Social Studies

6th Grade-Daniela

First quarter has been all about building skills. Students have learned how to take notes both in class and from websites, determine whether a source is credible, study for and take tests, and the importance of seeing historical and current events and people from multiple perspectives. To end the quarter, students wrote their first formal expository paragraphs of the year. After determining a topic that they would like to learn more about, students used a notes organizer to craft a driving question, research facts that answer that question, and use those facts to create a formal, research-based paragraph. We also explored a diverse set of autumnal holidays: Day of the Dead, Samhain/Halloween, Diwali, and Mid-Autumn Festival.

As November is Native American History Month, we are heading into Thanksgiving Break by comparing the historical accounts of the First Thanksgiving in 1621 as expressed by British colonists and the Wampanoag Tribe.

To close out the week, students will engage in a lesson on gratitude: what it is, how expressing it leads to physical and mental well-being, and how to foster it within themselves.

What are you grateful for today?

7th Grade-Tim

Do you know how our Constitution is amended? It’s one of the things seventh grade social studies students should be able to answer as we prepare for an upcoming test. Students in seventh grade are getting accustomed to the flow and routine of studying civics at Explorer West. Students are working hard to prepare for their test on the basics of the Constitution this Thursday.

Students also will be working hard to carefully fine-tune their first big question that they answered on our last unit in either a paragraph or mini-essay. As a side-note, seventeen seventh graders chose to write a mini-essay instead of a paragraph for Challenge credit at the very first opportunity. That is impressive. To hone their writing skills, we’ve found that by fixing their last writing piece right before writing their next one, students are able to really sharpen their skills.

8th Grade-Tim

Do you know how water law in Washington State, specifically the law based on prior appropriation, is an inefficient system for one of our state’s most precious resources? Eighth grade students recently explained this in an essential question. They also experienced preparing for their first test without a study guide. Instead, they worked together to try and predict questions based on their notes and reading. We’ll continue this process through our units of study this year in order to prepare every student for high school and beyond.

You may have noticed your child’s writing skills improving. Eighth graders are doubling down on their Challenge mini-essay work. It’s very impressive, and it definitely keeps Tim busy. Keep up the great work, eighth graders!