Table of Contents

3.1 The Four Core Disciplines of History/Social Studies

The CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy recognize the importance of developing discipline-specific literacy skills:

The Standards set requirements not only for English language arts (ELA) but also for literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Just as students must learn to read, write, speak, listen, and use language effectively in a variety of content areas, so too must the Standards specify the literacy skills and understandings required for college and career readiness in multiple disciplines. Literacy standards for grade 6 and above are based on the expectation that teachers of ELA, history/social studies, science, and technical subjects use their expertise to help students meet the particular challenges of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in those content areas. It is important to note that the grades 6-12 literacy standards in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects are not meant to replace content standards in those areas but rather to supplement them. States may incorporate these standards into their standards for those subjects or adopt them as literacy standards in content areas."

CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy (2013) p.2

History/social studies is not a single content area, but rather is an umbrella term for several disciplines focused on the study of human society. In California, these core disciplines are history, civics and government, geography, and economics. The CA History-Social Science Framework suggests an integrated model of curriculum where multiple disciplines are used to examine an issue. This model still encourages the development of disciplinary knowledge, thinking, and literacies to be able to use the specific tools of the economist, geographer, historian, or social/political scientist. 

Time to Read

Select the following links to read about the CA History-Social Science Framework's strands of disciplinary literacy related to the four core disciplines. Consider how these literacy strands relate to the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy and can impact instruction in your classroom.

Historical Literacy

Geographic Literacy

Economic Literacy

Sociopolitical (Civic) Literacy

Additionally, the CA History-Social Science Framework emphasizes the need to develop students’ democratic understanding and civic values.

The curricular goal of democratic understanding and civic values is centered on an essential understanding of the nation's identity and constitutional heritage; the civic values that form the foundation of the nation's constitutional order and promote cohesion between all groups in a pluralistic society; and the rights and responsibilities of all citizens."

CA History-Social Science Framework, 2005

Just as there are unique ways of thinking of the four core disciplines, each discipline provides a unique opportunity to incorporate the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy for students at a range of student ability levels. While Unit 2 focused primarily on addressing the CA CCSS within history, this unit will provide resources for incorporating the CA CCSS within civics and government, economics, and geography.

Time to Extend

For more information on disciplinary knowledge and literacies within history, geography, civics and government, and economics see Chapter 8 of the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools . The Instructional Quality Commission is soliciting public input and making revisions.  The final version is expected to go before the State Board of Education in May 2015 for adoption.