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Social Studies

Mission Statement: 

The Dalton Middle School Social Studies Department nurtures intellectually-independent students who will contribute constructively to their school, local, and global communities. Through study, research, written expression, collaborative projects, and class discussions, students in Dalton’s Middle School refine their ability to observe, critique, and evaluate the past and present from multiple perspectives. Students will learn to take intellectual risks, approach conflicts thoughtfully, and develop an active appreciation for the lessons and themes of history in their everyday lives. By challenging students to think across and make connections between different cultures, religions, and historical ideas, we build upon Dalton’s commitment to being a vibrant and diverse community.
 
Socials Studies Skills Curriculum
 
 
Social Studies Skills Objective
Students Will Be Introduced to the Process of...
Continued Reinforcement Will Be Placed on...
By Year’s End, Students Will be Able to...
4th
The Fourth Grade Social Studies Program is committed to educate our students to: Understand emigration and social change as it applies to the United States and themselves.
Recognizing other viewpoints and biases and interacting with them in speech and writing
 
The concept of oral history as a primary source in the context of immigration
Examination and evaluation of Cause and Effect
 
Making and evaluating inferences based on information and evidence
 
Understanding basic geographic terms and place names including: oceans, continents, countries, states and physical features
Analyze and interpret information from age-appropriate primary source documents both textual and visual
 
Memorize locations specific to study
 
Acquire and understand vocabulary specific to study
5th
The Fifth Grade Social Studies Program is committed to educate our students to reconstruct the past through the examination of artifacts, ancient texts, and secondary sources, and the application of critical thinking skills necessary for an ongoing study of history.
Analyzing maps and geographic resources to make substantial inferences about the relationship between the location of human settlements and geography
 
Interpreting the significance of resources and resource systems in the development of human geography
 
Recognizing multiple viewpoints and biases
 
Evaluating their inferences based on further evidence
 
Understanding chronology and how history can be studied in eras and ages
making connections to today from what is learned about the past
Using observable and explicit information to make reasonable inferences based on that evidence
 
Identifying and locating important sites, geographic areas and geographical features (rivers, mountains) on maps
 
Inquiry-based research of visual and textual primary sources
Use the experiences and activities of the study to make hypotheses and connections that apply to other civilizations
 
Memorize locations and events specific to the study of Mesopotamia and Egypt
acquire and use vocabulary specific to the study of Bronze Age cultures
6th
The Sixth Grade Social Studies Program is committed to educate our students to: Be historians who ask their own questions and make their own inferences about the classical past.
Examining and evaluating Cause and Effect
 
Archaeological Site Mapping, i.e.,:
 
- Developing a hypothesis from information on a map about a culture or to determine the effects of geography on a culture
Analyzing and interpreting information from documents and textual evidence
 
Analyzing and interpreting information from visual evidence
 
Understanding chronology and how history can be studied as periods and eras
 
Making and evaluating inferences based on information and evidence
 
Recognizing other viewpoints and biases and interacting with them in speech and writing
Acquiring vocabulary specific to study and demonstrate understanding
 
Memorize locations specific to study
 
Demonstrate mastery of basic geographic terms and place names (country names, physical features, and cities as they relate to curriculum)
7th
The Seventh Grade Social Studies Program is committed to educate our students to: Continue the journey of becoming mature and sophisticated historians through the study of the early modern period of Europe and the Middle East.
Integrating their understanding of the early modern world with what is unfolding in the world today
 
Making meaning of history in terms of the content, context, and significance of a primary or secondary source
 
Recognizing the variety of resources that are available to help them make these connections
Make connections between the history they are studying and current events
 
Analyze primary sources and secondary sources for Content,Context and Significance
 
Acquiring and integrating the vocabulary and concepts appropriate to the topic
Explain and support with details or quotations, information they have gained from primary and secondary sources, visual and textual and then to begin to critically analyze this information
 
Speak and write confidently about their understanding of chronology and how history can be studied as periods and eras
 
8th
The Eighth Grade Social Studies Program is committed to educate our students to: Become responsible and prepared students, ready to assume the demands of high school history study through a chronological survey of the US.
Independently managing the research and writing process, especially as it relates to structuring an essay or presentation, and developing a valid argument based on historical evidence
Analyzing and interpreting information from documents and textual evidence
 
Analyzing and interpreting information from visual evidence
 
Analyzing maps and geographic resources to make substantiated inferences about the relationship between the location of human settlements and geography
Examine and evaluate Cause and Effect
 
Make and evaluate inferences based on information and evidence
 
Recognize other viewpoints and biases and interact with them in speech and writing
 
 
Social Studies Reading Skills
 
 
Students Will Be Introduced to the Process of...
Continued Reinforcement Will Be Placed on...
By Year’s End, Students Will be Able to...
4th
Organizing and annotating primary and secondary sources
 
Analyzing primary and secondary sources for content, context and significance.
Social Studies reading skills learned and practiced in the First Program.
Organize and annotate primary and secondary sources
 
Select and recall factual information and differentiate between main ideas and supporting details.
5th
Reading non-fiction secondary sources critically and with purpose to gain a wider
 
Understanding of ancient city development.
 
Taking notes on non-fiction texts for research or study skills
Comprehending literature, as well as primary historical texts, of the time (translations and adaptations) in order to make cultural inferences.
 
Selecting and recalling information from non-fiction texts
 
Discriminating main ideas and essential information from non-essential in non-fiction texts
 
Organizing and annotating primary and secondary sources
 
Acquire vocabulary specific to study
 
Reading secondary source texts for main ideas
6th
Analyzing language of primary sources for the author’s perspective, audience, tone, and objective
Organizing and annotating primary and secondary sources
Acquiring vocabulary specific to study and demonstrating understanding
7th
Reading and analyzing more difficult primary source material with greater independence
Acquiring vocabulary specific to study and demonstrating understanding
 
Organizing and annotating primary and secondary sources
 
Understanding how to analyze a piece of text.
Reading and outlining a secondary source
 
Assessing a primary source for content, context, and significance
 
Annotating both primary and secondary source material
8th
Reading and independently selecting primary and secondary sources for the purposes of research and building an argument
Organizing and annotating primary and secondary sources
 
Analyzing language of primary sources for perspective, audience, tone, and the writer’s objective
Analyzing primary and secondary sources for content, context, and significance to support and defend an original thesis
 
Selecting and recalls factual information and can differentiate between main ideas and supporting details
 
Acquiring vocabulary specific to study and demonstrates understanding
  • Social Studies 6

    Our sixth-grade social studies curriculum could easily be called “The Student as Historian” because it revolves around teaching the student the nature of historical inquiry and enabling her or him to take on the role of historian.
     
    Early in the year our study focuses on the minor kingdoms of the Eastern Mediterranean during the Iron Age. These include the Phoenicians, the Philistines and the Hebrews. Soon after, the young student as historian, turned archaeologist, begins a simulated excavation of a provincial Assyrian site. There, materials from the petty kingdoms of the Eastern Mediterranean will be found brought as tribute and booty en route to the heartland of an ever-expanding Assyrian Empire.
     
    Our study of the Greek World complements the 6th grade Greek Festival Curriculum. The Greeks and the institutions that set the stage for Western Civilization are studied comprehensively.
     
    The year concludes with an exploration of “Rome, the Model Empire.” Students construct provincial cities using the Roman Model to better understand how Rome unified and made the cultures of those peoples living in the areas from the Persian Gulf to the south of Scotland “Roman.”
     
    Essential Questions:
    • What is History?
    • How do you go about writing history?
    • How do you identify what is important in the existing historical record?
    • What is a monarchy? Empire? Democracy? How do societies govern themselves?
    • How did ancient nations acquire their goods?
    • What is the role of religion?
    • What is the role of geography?
  • Social Studies 7

    7th Grade Social Studies begins the year with an in-depth study of Islam and its impact on the medieval and early modern world. Students examine the Islamic world between the 7th and 16th centuries, focusing on the basic tenets (beliefs and practices) of Islam and the life of Muhammad, Muslim expansion, art, architecture, trade and travel. After learning about the development of Islam in Arabia, we will examine the emergence of the Umayyad, Abbasid, and Ottoman Empires.
        
    The focus then shifts westward to Europe where students investigate the political, economic, religious, geographic and social factors that shaped the identities of people during the medieval era.  Students will bridge their study of medieval Europe with the medieval Middle East as their attention swings eastward with the Crusades.  Their examination of the “Crusading” period will focus on the intersection of “East” and “West”, and the study will enable students to assess how this critical juncture set off a series of causes and effects that laid the foundation for the early modern era.
     
    Students will also examine the legacy of the “early modern era” on our modern world.  We will return to the Middle East and investigate how the ideologies that came to the fore in Western Europe (secularism, individualism, nationalism, colonialism) helped to shape and alter the landscape, both literally and figuratively, of the Middle Eastern world in the 19th-21st centuries.
     
    Essential Questions:
     
    • How do maps and globes reflect changes in history, politics, and economics?
    • How is power gained, used, and justified?
    • Why do some people conform, while others rebel?
    • How are ideas transmitted?
    • How do technology, science, and information impact and transform societies?
    • How does religion unite people? Divide people? Confront/integrate/define modernity?
    • In what ways do geographical, cultural, social, political contexts transform the views we have of the past?
    • In what ways do diverse global societies create varied perspectives, contributions, and challenges?
    • What issues from our study of the past inform the present and shape the future?
    • How have our ideas of history changed in a media driven world?
  • Social Studies 8

    Eighth grade history is a survey of notable moments in American History. The class explores this subject chronologically, though not necessarily linearly, focusing on themes such as American culture and values, American democracy, conflict and unity, diversity, citizenship, technological change, geography and the relationship of the US to the world. These are themes that weave themselves through the development of our nation. Considerable attention is also paid to the acquisition and refinement of the tools that one needs to become an historian. Note-taking, research skills, presentation, and writing are developed throughout the year. The class uses a wide variety of primary sources; however, each assignment includes secondary source supplements including a textbook and literary sources. Assignments encourage students to explore alternative interpretations and perspectives of American History.
     
    The main topics covered in the course are: Colonial America and the Revolutionary era, the Constitution, a Model Congress Assignment, Westward Expansion, the Civil War, the rise of Industrial and Urban America, a research paper considering some aspect of the New Deal and World War II eras, and a study of Civil Rights and the Supreme Court.
     
    Essential Questions:
     
    • What are American values? What were the key values upon which Jamestown and Plymouth were founded? To what extent are the values of Jamestown and Plymouth still evident in American society?
    • How does one read history relative to a traditionalist, revisionist, or other historical perspective and what is the responsibility of the the historian to voices that are silent?
    • What justifies dissent?
    • What is the impact of earlier political theorists and Enlightenment philosophers on the thinking of the revolutionary American colonists? How do those same theories impact current American thinking?
    • Under what circumstances can rights be limited?
    • What are the roles and obligations of a citizen?
    • From where are power and authority derived? What is the difference?
    • How does the Constitution work as a “living document”?  How do Supreme Court decisions and legislative actions shift our understanding of the “law of the land”?
    • What are the goals and ends, intended and unintended, of westward expansion?  How do the elements of manifest destiny from the beginnings of the nation to the current era shift?  What is the psychology manifest in an expanding nation?  

Faculty

  • Geoffrey Perry

    Middle School Grade 5 House Advisor and Grade 5 Chair
    (212) 423-5495 x3115
    Pennsylvania State University - B.A.
    George Washington University - M.Ed.
    University of Oxford - M.Phil.
  • Maggie Dobbins

    Middle School Social Studies Teacher and Grade 6 Coordinator
    (212) 423-5495 x3214
    Hunter College - B.A.
    Brooklyn College - M.S.Ed.
  • Catherine Edwards

    Eighth Grade Social Studies Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x3119
    University of Utah - B.A.
  • Neil Goldberg

    Archaeology Teacher
    (212) 423-5386
    University of New Mexico - B.A.
    Columbia University - M.A.
  • Deirdre Mingey

    Grade 7 House Advisor, MS Social Studies Teacher, and MS Social Studies Department Chair
    (212) 423-5495 x3059
    Calvin College - B.A.
    George Washington University - M.A.
  • Amanda Schollenberger

    Middle School Social Studies Teacher
    (212) 423-5200
    University at Buffalo - B.A.
  • Susan Springer

    Middle School Social Studies Teacher
    (212) 423-5495 x3100
    New York University - B.A.
    Hunter College, City University of New York - M.A.
  • Matt Williams

    Middle School Grade 8 Social Studies Teacher and House Advisor
    NYU - M.A.
    Binghamton University - Ph.D.
    Middlebury College - B.A.