FOUR RIVERS STUDENTS MASTER CONTENT KNOWLEDGE WHILE DEVELOPING SKILLS IN CRITICAL THINKING AND COMMUNICATION.
These are the Four Rivers School-wide learning targets on which this study focused:
10th grade students study U.S. History beginning with the threat of southern secession all the way through the global conflicts of the 21st century. An overarching theme throughout most of the year, as they learn about the many ways over time that citizens have fought for their rights, is a call to action. Well into the second semester, students investigate the Gilded Age to understand how the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. They examine class, economic justice, and battles fought for workers’ rights. They spend the year evaluating, judging, and defending newfound opinions with specific regard to the question of whether or not the United States of America has lived up to the fundamental promises of the Declaration of Independence. In addition to working toward mastery of the schoolwide targets of investigation, criticial thinking and communication, students work to master this standard in history class:
HISTORICAL INQUIRY: Students can identify relevant and meaningful information, cite textual evidence, and compare and contrast treatments of the same topic to support their analyses of primary and secondary resources. Using their findings they can critically analyze, synthesize, and draw conclusions about historical events, people, and places.
As part of the investigation, students read part or all of the book "Nickeled and Dimed", by Barbara Ehrenreich, and they learn about the economic difference between a minimum and a living wage. They conduct research on Franklin County, looking for economic statistics here and comparing them to other places. They also study graphs of county demographics, analyze them, and write a summary of their findings. Students who want the extra stretch write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, advocating for their position on what to do to achieve economic justice. Linked here are the teacher documents, with learning targets, rubrics and descriptors for students to use, and also two examples of student work: Student 1, and Student 2
Over the past few years, an increasing number fo 10th graders have demonstrated mastery, at the meeting level or above, of the content knowledge and skills this study requires.