Secondary Social Studies

  • Philosophy

    Secondary Social Studies serves the purpose of enabling students to understand, participate in, and make informed decisions about their world through learning civics, economics, geography, and history. Materials are culturally relevant; use multiple narratives, absent narratives and counter-narratives; and are based on standards. Secondary Social Studies:

    • guide students to understand relationships to institutions, to the environment, and with other people
    • provide students with skills for critical thinking, productive problem solving and decision making.
  • Guidelines

    Schedule and format

    • Every day or equivalent schedule
    • Use unwrapped units for backwards designed lesson plans
    • Four years for SPPS graduation

    Instruction and Materials

    • Lessons plans follow the GANAG model to ensure instruction and learning are aligned
    • Culturally relevant texts
    • Culturally relevant electives
    • Learning is accessed through primary sources, secondary sources and digital materials.
    • Digital resources that engage students and enhance understanding of concepts and content.
    • Social Studies content as a context for practicing reading, writing, speaking and listening  
    • All secondary courses follow the SPPS Year-at-a-Glance and unwrapped units with modifications to fit building level program focus (MYP, Montessori, magnet)
    • Formative and summative assessments are backwards designed from unwrapped units.
    • All secondary courses have ownership of a writing project aligned with Common Core for History/Social Studies:
      • MN Studies – digital story or History Day
      • American Studies – History Day
      • Global Studies – argument
      • World History – informative/explanatory
      • Human Geography – argument
      • U.S. History – History Day
      • Government – argument
      • Economics – analysis

  • Variations

    Social Studies Inquiry

    • Invite students to investigate a guiding question central to a concept
    • Provide resources to help shape the investigation
    • Help students draw conclusions about the concept as they construct answers based on their research

  • Assessment

    • Formative and summative assessments are part of classroom routines
    • Align assessments with unwrapped unit Big Ideas/Learning Targets


  • key image For Secondary Social Studies Schoology group access, please contact Rebecca Biel (rebecca.biel@spps.org)