HistorySocial Science Content Standards
for California Public Schools
Kindergarten Through Grade Five
and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Seventeen years ago the report A Nation at Risk, by the National Commission on Excellence in Education (1983), brought squarely to our attention a rising tide of mediocrity in our schools. An era of education reform began. The results were somewhat uneven. The reform movement did stimulate important infrastructure improvements: instructional time was increased, high school diplomas came to signify the completion of minimum course requirements, and emphasis was placed on local planning efforts to improve the schools efficiency and effectiveness.
A shortcoming of the movement up to this point has been the lack of focus on rigorous academic standards. The desire to improve student achievement guided the effort, but it lacked a comprehensive, specific vision of what students actually needed to know and be able to do.
Standards are a bold initiative.
With the adoption of content standards, California is going beyond reform. We are redefining the states role in public education. For the first time, we are statingexplicitlythe content that students need to acquire at each grade level from kindergarten to grade twelve. These standards are rigorous. With student mastery of this content, California schools will be on a par with those in the best educational systems in other states and nations. The content is attainable by all students, given sufficient time, except for those few who have severe disabilities. We regard the standards as firm but not unyielding; they will be modified in future years to reflect new research and scholarship.
Standards describe what to teach, not how to teach it. Standards-based education maintains Californias tradition of respect for local control of schools. To help students achieve at high levels, local school officials and teacherswith the full support and cooperation of families, businesses, and community partnersare encouraged to take these standards and design the specific curricular and instructional strategies that best deliver the content to their students.
Standards are an enduring commitment, not a passing fancy. Every initiative in public education, especially one so bold as establishing high standards, has its skeptics. Just wait a while, they say, stan-dards, too, will pass. We intend to prove the skeptics wrong, and we intend to do that by completely aligning state efforts to these standards, including the statewide testing program, curriculum frameworks, instructional materials, professional development, preservice education, and compliance review. We will see a generation of educators who think of standards not as a new layer but as the foundation itself. Standards are our commitment to excellence.
Fifteen years from now, we are convinced, the adoption of standards will be viewed as the signal event that began a rising tide of excellence in our schools. No more will the critical question What should my child be learning? be met with uncertainty of knowledge, purpose, or resolve. These standards answer the question. They are comprehensive and specific. They represent our commitment to excellence.
YVONNE W. LARSEN, President
California State Board of Education
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
The California State Board of Education has worked hard with the Academic Standards Commission to develop historysocial science standards that reflect Californias commitment to historysocial science education. These standards emphasize historical narrative, highlight the roles of significant individuals throughout history, and convey the rights and obligations of citizenship. In that spirit the standards proceed chronologically and call attention to the story of America as a noble experiment in a constitutional republic. They recognize that Americas ongoing struggle to realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution is the struggle to maintain our beautifully complex national heritage of e pluribus unum. While the standards emphasize Western civilizations as the source of American political institutions, laws, and ideology, they also expect students to analyze the changing political relationships within and among other countries and regions of the world, both throughout history and within the context of contemporary global interdependence.
The standards serve as the basis for statewide assessments, curriculum frame-works, and instructional materials, but methods of instructional delivery remain the responsibility of local educators.
Development of the Standards
The recommended historysocial science standards build on the work of exemplary documents from both within and outside California, most notably the HistorySocial Science Framework for California Public Schools, a document strengthened by the consensus that elicited it and nationally recognized for its emphasis on historical events presented within a chronological and geographic context.
The standards reflect guidance and input from countless members of the California teaching community and other citizens who attended the meetings of the State Board and Standards Commission. Their input contributed substantively to the discussions and the drafts, as did the input gathered from the nine directed community input meetings hosted by the Standards Commission throughout the state in January 1998 and from the five field hearings held by the State Board throughout the state in August 1998. At those forums, parents, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders helped define key issues.
Current practice and the state of historysocial science instruction in California were also given special consideration during the process. In addition, historysocial science experts from around the nation reviewed and submitted formal comments on the first and second drafts. The more than 70 reviewers included eminent historians, geographers, economists, and political scientists. Their input helped immeasurably to strengthen the rigor and quality of the standards.
Highlights of the Standards
With the HistorySocial Science Framework for California Public Schools as a guide to the eras and civilizations to study, these standards require students not only to acquire core knowledge in history and social science, but also to develop the critical thinking skills that historians and social scientists employ to study the past and its relationship to the present. It is possible to spend a lifetime studying history and not learn about every significant historical event; no one can know everything. However, the State Board hopes that during their years of formal schooling, students will learn to distinguish the important from the unimportant, to recognize vital connections between the present and the past, and to appreciate universal historical themes and dilemmas.
Throughout this document, the use of biographies, original documents, diaries, letters, legends, speeches, and other narrative artifacts from our past is encouraged to foster students understanding of historical events by revealing the ideas, values, fears, and dreams of the people associated with them. Found in archives, museums, historical sites, and libraries across California, these original materials are indispensable resources. The State Board hopes schools will take advantage of these repositories and encourage students direct contact with history. The standards also emphasize the importance of enriching the study of history through the use of literature, both from and about the period being studied.
Mastery of these standards will ensure that students not only know the facts, but also understand common and complex themes throughout history, making connections among their own lives, the lives of the people who came before them, and the lives of those to come. The statements at the beginning of each grade provide a brief overview of the greater story under study.
The overarching statements in each grade and their substatements function as conceptual units: the numbered items under each overarching standard delineate aspects of the bigger concept that students are expected to master. In this way, teachers and assessors can focus on the concept without neglecting the essential components of each.
The standards include many exemplary lists of historical figures that could be studied. These examples are illustrative. They do not suggest that all of the figures mentioned are required for study, nor do they exclude the study of additional figures that may be relevant to the standards.
The standards do not exist in isolation. The HistorySocial Science Framework will be revised to align with the standards, and it will include suggested ways to relate the standards substance to students, ways to make connections within and across grades, and detailed guidance for day-to-day instruction and lesson plans. Teachers should use these documents together.
Knowledge and skills increase in complexity in a systematic fashion from kindergarten through grade twelve, although no standards exist for grade nine in deference to current California practice in which grade nine is the year students traditionally choose a historysocial science elective. However, in the coming years, the State Board intends to review this current practice.
In kindergarten through grade three, students are introduced to the basic concepts of each discipline: history, geography, civics, and economics. Beginning at grade four, the disciplines are woven together within the standards at each grade.
The critical thinking skills that support the study of historysocial science are outlined in the sections for grades five, eight, and ten. To approach subject matter as historians, geographers, economists, and political scientists, students are expected to employ these skills as they master the content.
While the State Board recognizes that it will take both time and changes in policies for schools, teachers, and students to meet these standards, we believe it can and must be done. When students master the content and develop the skills contained in these standards, they will be well equipped for the twenty-first century.
Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills
The intellectual skills noted below are to be learned through, and applied to, the content standards for kindergarten through grade five. They are to be assessed only in conjunction with the content standards in kindergarten through grade five. In addition to the standards for kindergarten through grade five, students demonstrate the following intellectual, reasoning, reflection, and research skills:
Chronological and Spatial Thinking
1. Students place key events and people of the historical era they are studying in a chrono-logical sequence and within a spatial context; they interpret time lines.
2. Students correctly apply terms related to time, including past, present, future, decade, century, and generation.
3. Students explain how the present is connected to the past, identifying both similarities and differences between the two, and how some things change over time and some things stay the same.
4. Students use map and globe skills to determine the absolute locations of places and interpret information available through a maps or globes legend, scale, and symbolic representations.
5. Students judge the significance of the relative location of a place (e.g., proximity to a harbor, on trade routes) and analyze how relative advantages or disadvantages can change over time.
Research, Evidence, and Point of View
1. Students differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
2. Students pose relevant questions about events they encounter in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photographs, maps, artworks, and architecture.
3. Students distinguish fact from fiction by comparing documentary sources on historical figures and events with fictionalized characters and events.
1. Students summarize the key events of the era they are studying and explain the historical contexts of those events.
2. Students identify the human and physical characteristics of the places they are studying and explain how those features form the unique character of those places.
3. Students identify and interpret the multiple causes and effects of historical events.
4. Students conduct cost-benefit analyses of historical and current events.
Now and Long Ago
Students in kindergarten are introduced to basic spatial, temporal, and causal relation-ships, emphasizing the geographic and historical connections between the world today and the world long ago. The stories of ordinary and extraordinary people help describe the range and continuity of human experience and introduce the concepts of courage, self-control, justice, heroism, leadership, deliberation, and individual responsibility. Historical empathy for how people lived and worked long ago reinforces the concept of civic behavior: how we interact respectfully with each other, following rules, and respecting the rights of others.
K.1 Students understand that being a good citizen involves acting in certain ways.
1. Follow rules, such as sharing and taking turns, and know the consequences of breaking them.
K.2 Students recognize national and state symbols and icons such as the national and state flags, the bald eagle, and the Statue of Liberty.
K.3 Students match simple descriptions of work that people do and the names of related jobs at the school, in the local community, and from historical accounts.
K.4 Students compare and contrast the locations of people, places, and environments and describe their characteristics.
1. Determine the relative locations of objects using the terms near/far, left/right, and behind/in front.
K.5 Students put events in temporal order using a calendar, placing days, weeks, and months in proper order.
K.6 Students understand that history relates to events, people, and places of other times.
1. Identify the purposes of, and the people and events honored in, commemorative holidays, including the human struggles that were the basis for the events (e.g., Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Washingtons and Lincolns Birthdays, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day).
Grade One - A Childs Place in Time and Space
Students in grade one continue a more detailed treatment of the broad 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 sportsman-ship, and respect for the rights and opinions of others. Students examine the geographic and economic aspects of life in their own neighborhoods and compare them to those of people long ago. Students explore the varied backgrounds of American citizens and learn about the symbols, icons, and songs that reflect our common heritage.
1.1 Students describe the rights and individual responsibilities of citizenship.
1. Understand the rule-making process in a direct democracy (everyone votes on the rules) and in a representative democracy (an elected group of people make the rules), giving examples of both systems in their classroom, school, and community.
1.2 Students compare and contrast the absolute and relative locations of places and people and describe the physical and/or human characteristics of places.
1. Locate on maps and globes their local community, California, the United States, the seven continents, and the four oceans.
1.3 Students know and understand the symbols, icons, and traditions of the United States that provide continuity and a sense of community across time.
1. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing songs that express American ideals (e.g., My Country Tis of Thee).
1.4 Students compare and contrast everyday life in different times and places around the world and recognize that some aspects of people, places, and things change over time while others stay the same.
1. Examine the structure of schools and communities in the past.
1.5 Students describe the human characteristics of familiar places and the varied backgrounds of American citizens and residents in those places.
1. Recognize the ways in which they are all part of the same community, sharing principles, goals, and traditions despite their varied ancestry; the forms of diversity in their school and community; and the benefits and challenges of a diverse population.
1. 6 Students understand basic economic concepts and the role of individual choice in a free-market economy.
1. Understand the concept of exchange and the use of money to purchase goods and services.
Grade Two - People Who Make a Difference
Students in grade two explore the lives of actual people who make a difference in their everyday lives and learn the stories of extraordinary people from history whose achievements have touched them, directly or indirectly. The study of contemporary people who supply goods and services aids in understanding the complex interdependence in our free-market system.
2.1 Students differentiate between things that happened long ago and things that happened yesterday.
1. Trace the history of a family through the use of primary and secondary sources, including artifacts, photographs, interviews, and documents.
2.2 Students demonstrate map skills by describing the absolute and relative locations of people, places, and environments.
1. Locate on a simple letter-number grid system the specific locations and geographic features in their neighborhood or community (e.g., map of the classroom, the school).
2.3 Students explain governmental institutions and practices in the United States and other countries.
1. Explain how the United States and other countries make laws, carry out laws, determine whether laws have been violated, and punish wrongdoers.
2.4 Students understand basic economic concepts and their individual roles in the economy and demonstrate basic economic reasoning skills.
1. Describe food production and consumption long ago and today, including the roles of farmers, processors, distributors, weather, and land and water resources.
Grade Three - Continuity and Change
Students in grade three learn more about our connections to the past and the ways in which particularly local, but also regional and national, government and traditions have developed and left their marks on current society, providing common memories. Emphasis is on the physical and cultural landscape of California, including the study of American Indians, the subsequent arrival of immigrants, and the impact they have had in forming the character of our contemporary society.
3.1 Students describe the physical and human geography and use maps, tables, graphs, photographs, and charts to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context.
1. Identify geographical features in their local region (e.g., deserts, mountains, valleys, hills, coastal areas, oceans, lakes).
3.2 Students describe the American Indian nations in their local region long ago and in the recent past.
1. Describe national identities, religious beliefs, customs, and various folklore traditions.
3.3 Students draw from historical and community resources to organize the sequence of local historical events and describe how each period of settlement left its mark on the land.
1. Research the explorers who visited here, the newcomers who settled here, and the people who continue to come to the region, including their cultural and religious traditions and contributions.
3.4 Students understand the role of rules and laws in our daily lives and the basic structure of the U.S. government.
1. Determine the reasons for rules, laws, and the U.S. Constitution; the role of citizenship in the promotion of rules and laws; and the consequences for people who violate rules and laws.
3.5 Students demonstrate basic economic reasoning skills and an understanding of the economy of the local region.
1. Describe the ways in which local producers have used and are using natural resources, human resources, and capital resources to produce goods and services in the past and the present.
Fourth Grade - California: A Changing State
Students learn the story of their home state, unique in American history in terms of its vast and varied geography, its many waves of immigration beginning with pre-Columbian societies, its continuous diversity, economic energy, and rapid growth. In addition to the specific treatment of milestones in California history, students examine the state in the context of the rest of the nation, with an emphasis on the U.S. Constitution and the relationship between state and federal government.
4.1 Students demonstrate an understanding of the physical and human geographic features that define places and regions in California.
1. Explain and use the coordinate grid system of latitude and longitude to determine the absolute locations of places in California and on Earth.
4.2 Students describe the social, political, cultural, and economic life and interactions among people of California from the pre-Columbian societies to the Spanish mission and Mexican rancho periods.
1. Discuss the major nations of California Indians, including their geographic distribution, economic activities, legends, and religious beliefs; and describe how they depended on, adapted to, and modified the physical environment by cultivation of land and use of sea resources.
4.3 Students explain the economic, social, and political life in California from the establishment of the Bear Flag Republic through the Mexican-American War, the Gold Rush, and the granting of statehood.
1. Identify the locations of Mexican settlements in California and those of other settle-ments, including Fort Ross and Sutters Fort.
4.4 Students explain how California became an agricultural and industrial power, tracing the transformation of the California economy and its political and cultural development since the 1850s.
1. Understand the story and lasting influence of the Pony Express, Overland Mail Ser-vice, Western Union, and the building of the transcontinental railroad, including the contributions of Chinese workers to its construction.
4.5 Students understand the structures, functions, and powers of the local, state, and federal governments as described in the U.S. Constitution.
1. Discuss what the U.S. Constitution is and why it is important (i.e., a written document that defines the structure and purpose of the U.S. government and describes the shared powers of federal, state, and local governments).
Grade Five - United States History and Geography: Making a New Nation
Students in grade five study the development of the nation up to 1850, with an emphasis on the people who were already here, when and from where others arrived, and why they came. Students learn about the colonial government founded on Judeo-Christian principles, the ideals of the Enlightenment, and the English traditions of self-government. They recognize that ours is a nation that has a constitution that derives its power from the people, that has gone through a revolution, that once sanctioned slavery, that experienced conflict over land with the original inhabitants, and that experi-enced a westward movement that took its people across the continent. Studying the cause, course, and consequences of the early explorations through the War for Independence and western expansion is central to students fundamental understanding of how the principles of the American republic form the basis of a pluralistic society in which individual rights are secured.
5.1 Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River.
1. Describe how geography and climate influenced the way various nations lived and adjusted to the natural environment, including locations of villages, the distinct structures that they built, and how they obtained food, clothing, tools, and utensils.
5.2 Students trace the routes of early explorers and describe the early explorations of the Americas.
1. Describe the entrepreneurial characteristics of early explorers (e.g., Christopher Columbus, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado) and the technological developments that made sea exploration by latitude and longitude possible (e.g., compass, sextant, astrolabe, seaworthy ships, chronometers, gunpowder).
5.3 Students describe the cooperation and conflict that existed among the American Indians and between the Indian nations and the new settlers.
1. Describe the competition among the English, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Indian nations for control of North America.
5.4 Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.
1. Understand the influence of location and physical setting on the founding of the original 13 colonies, and identify on a map the locations of the colonies and of the American Indian nations already inhabiting these areas.
5.5 Students explain the causes of the American Revolution.
1. Understand how political, religious, and economic ideas and interests brought about the Revolution (e.g., resistance to imperial policy, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, taxes on tea, Coercive Acts).
5.6 Students understand the course and consequences of the American Revolution.
1. Identify and map the major military battles, campaigns, and turning points of the Revolutionary War, the roles of the American and British leaders, and the Indian leaders alliances on both sides.
5.7 Students describe the people and events associated with the development of the U.S. Constitution and analyze the Constitutions significance as the foundation of the American republic.
1. List the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation as set forth by their critics.
5.8 Students trace the colonization, immigration, and settlement patterns of the American people from 1789 to the mid-1800s, with emphasis on the role of economic incentives, effects of the physical and political geography, and transportation systems.
1. Discuss the waves of immigrants from Europe between 1789 and 1850 and their modes of transportation into the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys and through the Cumberland Gap (e.g., overland wagons, canals, flatboats, steamboats).
5.9 Students know the location of the current 50 states and the names of their capitals.