K-5 Kindergarten The Kindergarten social studies curriculum at St. Michael’s School helps Kindergartners develop an understanding of citizenship and community. Students learn national and state symbols and their significance. Students also learn the meaning of history and how it relates to events, people, and places. The curriculum integrates English language arts, vocabulary development, and listening and speaking skills. It also encourages students to connect what they learn in social studies to their own lives. Kindergartners leave for 1st grade as citizens ready to participate in their community.  Grade 1 Students in Grade 1 learn the concepts of rights and responsibilities in the contemporary world. The classroom serves as a microcosm of society in which decisions are made with respect for individual responsibility, for other people, and for the rules by which we all must live: fair play, good sportsmanship, and respect for the rights and opinions of others, including the meaning of the “Golden Rule.” Using maps and globes, students are able to locate their local community, California, the United States, the seven continents, and the four oceans. Building on Kindergarten social studies, students explore American symbols, icons, traditions, and songs that reflect our common heritage, such as the flag, bald eagle, Statue of Liberty, the Pledge of Allegiance, and songs that express American ideals (e.g., “My Country ’Tis of Thee”). They understand the significance of our national holidays and the heroism and achievements of the people associated with them. Students compare and contrast everyday life in different times and places and recognize that some aspects of people, places, and things change over time while others stay the same. In addition, students recognize similarities and differences of earlier generations in such areas as dress, manners, stories, games, and festivals. Students also recognize the ways in which they are all part of the same community, sharing principles, goals and traditions.  Grade 2 Second grade begins the year with detailed study of the neighborhood. Each child writes about and creates a model of his/her neighborhood. Second graders also build geography skills by learning the continents and major bodies of water as well as how to identify the hemispheres and the equator. To develop historical thinking skills, students research well-known leaders with the goal of learning about the character traits of a positive leader.  Grade 3 The social studies curriculum in Grade 3 provides the opportunity for each student to acquire knowledge and develop skills necessary for social, political, and economic participation in a diverse, interdependent, and changing world. Topics include:
  • Geography and Community
  • Native Americans
  • Westward Expansion
  • U.S. Government
  • Economics
  • Diversity and Cultures

Students begin the year by studying community and geography. Vocabulary is taught through fun games such as vocabulary baseball and vocabulary basketball. Next, students venture into learning about Native American history.  Grade 4 In fourth grade, students journey through the history and geography of California. Fourth graders travel back in time as they recreate what life was like for early Californians, including Native Americans, Spanish settlers, and prospectors. In addition to field trips to the Mission and a Gold Rush town, they experience history with the “Walk Through California” program. During this program, students impersonate a historic figure from California’s past and present skits that teach about our state’s dynamic history. Grade 5 In fifth grade students learn about the American Revolution, as well as the economic systems that make up our daily lives. Through various hands-on activities students explore what life was like as a colonist during the Revolutionary War era. This all culminates in a wonderful field trip to Riley’s Farm where students live the life of a colonist by paying taxes, engaging in court room trials, and even mock battles. As a culmination to the Revolutionary War Unit, students participate in “Walk Through the American Revolution,” where they re-enact the events that led up to America’s independence from Britain. Students also experience the great country our Founding Fathers created by learning about our free market economy. By taking out loans in the classroom, investing, and creating businesses, students learn what it will be like in the future to participate in our U.S. economy. In the end, all the students get to go to JA BizTown where they have a job, earn paychecks, interact at their local bank, and spend their money at various other shops and businesses.