Social Studies Department Overview

In keeping with the Brehm school mission, it is the goal of the Brehm Social Studies Department to further empower students to become responsible citizens in an ever-growing and complex society. To meet this end, students are taught using a holistic approach that focuses on teaching how everyone plays a vital role in society; addressing critical issues in the world; making decisions using democratic principles; and learning the skills that are necessary for civic participation.
As with all state and national standards pertaining to social studies, the goal is for students to become better informed citizens who can fully participate in our society. All of our classes are designed to help students use creativity, innovation, critical thinking, communication, and technology to further examine the broader world.

In teaching social studies the main issue instructors face is overcoming the question many students have: “What does this have to do with me?” To address this question, the Brehm Social Studies Department refocuses student attention from historical “celebrities,” events, and locations to stories of everyday citizens who lived in and shaped the past. Focus is directed to context and problems — beyond dates and locations — through considering bigger issues behind events and linking the past to the present by revealing how the same problems faced by earlier civilizations and people may exist today. To accomplish this, students are guided to comprehend, apply, analyze, and think creatively and critically. We strive to do this with instruction in vocabulary, group discussions, use of Bloom’s taxonomy, and teaching the main idea of social studies concepts through both modified and standard social studies classes.

The Social Studies Department uses a variety of methods to determine the effectiveness of instruction. At the beginning and end of the school year pre- and post-testing is conducted. National and State Constitution Tests are administered to eighth and twelfth graders. Throughout the year comprehension and vocabulary quizzes and tests are given which include multiple choice, true/false, and or matching questions based on student performance levels. Students are also assessed through writing assignments, small projects, and supplemental activities. Weekly current events video and article assignments allow students to critically examine national and world events and link them historically or personally to their lives.

Social studies material is presented to the students through a variety of methods. Standard classes are divided into three 15-minute time periods each utilizing a different teaching strategy. Those strategies include teacher-driven discussions, student-led discussions, Keynote presentations, guided note taking, independent student work, movie presentations, supplemental activities, readings of historical novels and primary sources, and writing opinions of historical ideas.