Humanities is an integrated approach to teaching English Language Arts and Social Studies.  All units of study are aligned to the NYS Common Core Standards.   Students closely read texts from a range of genres and multiple perspectives on a topic or theme.  Students develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions based on evidence.    Socratic seminars provide students the opportunity to actively engage in discussions that help them synthesize key ideas and gain a deeper understanding of a topic, issue, or theme.  

Social Studies Overviews

Grade 6 Social Studies Overview

Grade 6 Social Studies is based on the geography and history of the Eastern Hemisphere from pre-history into the Middle Ages. Students will focus on the development of cultures, civilizations, and empires; interaction between societies; and the comparison of trends in government and economics. Students are provided the opportunity to explore belief systems across time and to examine the foundations of democracy. They will use the mnemonic CASSIET to examine the elements of different civilizations.

Unit 1: Reading Fiction Closely – Notice & Note Strategies     

Why would a character behave this way?     

How might this “Aha!” moment change things?

What’s the life lesson & how might it affect the character? 

Why might the author bring this up again & again?

Unit 2: Ancient River Civilizations – Mesopotamia & Egypt

How does geography influence the development of a civilization?

Unit 3:  Novel –  The Giver 

Which is more important freedom or security?

Unit 4:  Ancient Greece 

How has the legacy of Ancient Greece influenced our modern world?

Unit 5: Argument -DDT   

Do the benefits of DDT the harmful effects?

Unit 6:  Ancient Rome    

Julius Caesar: Dictator or Reformer?

Government: Whose Voice Counts?

Unit 7:  Middle Ages        

Did feudalism help or hurt Western Europe’s development?   

How did religion shape European culture?


Grade 7 Social Studies Overview

Grade 7 Social Studies traces the human experience in the United States from pre-Columbian times until the Civil War. Throughout the course, teachers help students see connections across time. Geography, economics, and social and political trends are incorporated.

Unit 1:  Short Stories

What do the ideas and themes contained in these short stories convey about human nature?

Unit 2:  Columbus

Should we continue to celebrate a national holiday honoring Columbus?

Unit 3:  Slavery

What is the legacy of slavery in America?

How can a culture rise above a difficult history or violent past?

Unit 4:  Novel: A Step From Heaven

What is the American Dream?  To what extent is it achievable for all Americans?

When should an individual take a stand and speak out?

How does the author use symbols throughout the novel to develop a theme?

Unit 5:  American Revolution

Can meaningful government change happen without violence?

Unit 6: Argument: Gun Control

Why does gun control continue to be a controversial issue?

Do individuals rights need to be limited for the safety and welfare of society?

Unit 7:  Unit 7: Civil War Ages        

Was the Civil War inevitable?

How does conflict lead to change?

How does perspective affect the way individuals deal with conflict?


Grade 8 Social Studies Overview

Grade 8 Social Studies explores the human experience in the United States from Reconstruction to the end of World War II. Students examine different themes providing the opportunity to explore and connect to contemporary issues. Geography, economics, and social and political trends are incorporated.

Unit 1: Paired Texts – Short Stories and Articles

Does all injustice lead to oppression?

What are the most effective methods of dealing with oppression and injustice?

Unit 2: Argument –  Immigration

Should America close its borders?

Why does immigration continue to be a controversial topic?

Unit 3: Novel Study – Of Mice & Men

What is Steinbeck’s message about the purpose of dreams in life?

Unit 4: Civil Rights Movement

How does studying diverse sources about the same topic build our understanding?

What are effective ways of overcoming oppression and injustice?  Why?

Unit 5: Novel Study:  Animal Farm

How does the use of allegory help convey an author’s message in literature?

Why do we need to be aware of the use and effects of propaganda in our lives?


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