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K-12 Social Studies

Stephanie Reiners, Curriculum Administrator

The Louisiana Social Studies Content Standards were designed with a foundation of four core disciplines, or strands, from the social sciences: geography, civics, economics and history.  The core strands incorporate sociology, anthropology, and psychology where appropriate. An additional component to the Louisiana Social Studies Content Standards is the foundation skills associated with all disciplines: communication, problems solving, resource access and utilization, linking and generating knowledge, and citizenship. These strands and foundation skills, along with the state’s Grade-Level Expectations, help to define scope and sequence and assist in the development of appropriate tools for assessing student learning.

Each discipline in social studies demands certain skills for students to engage in meaningful learning of content, for example, historical thinking skills.  Meaningful historical understanding requires students to engage in five categories of historical thinking.  These include (1) developing a sense of historical time and historical perspective, (2) explaining and analyzing historical events and ideas, (3) interpreting and evaluating historical evidence in primary and secondary sources, (4) using historical inquiry to analyze historical and contemporary issues and conduct historical research, and (5) analyzing cause-effect relationships.

These skills are not mutually exclusive in an instructional setting, nor do they prescribe a particular teaching sequence.  While historical thinking skills can be described absent of historical content, they cannot be developed or practiced in a vacuum.

Social studies is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary field of study.  While social studies standards and grade-level expectations define the core learning, social studies instruction makes use of understandings from all content areas. This interdisciplinary curriculum connects to the real world by providing students with an expanded understanding of the interconnected nature of the world through an integrated approach that provides focus and depth.