Seventh Grade American History begins after the Civil War and extends well into the twentieth century. There is an attempt to balance the teaching of content with that of skills and there is a heavy emphasis on reading for meaning, note taking, outlining, researching skills, analyzing primary sources, writing paragraphs, writing to persuade, preparation for assessments, analyzing maps, charts and the like, and using technology.
The approach to content is thematic and during the fall term students take up post-Civil War industrialization, urbanization, and immigration, and end the term with 19th and early 20th century reform movements. In the winter the study is American foreign involvement - expansion into Latin America and Asia, World War I, and World War II. The spring term is devoted to a study of African American history, starting with Reconstruction, moving on to segregation and "Jim Crow" laws, and ending with the Civil Rights Movement.
Eighth Grade Ancient World History examines the story of the civilizations that emerged in China, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. A trimester is devoted to each region as we explore the histories, the culture, and the belief systems that developed early in time. Historical fiction is used to highlight many of the important concepts that we study. We end each unit with a research assignment that encourages the boys to look at each of the regions in more modern times. There is an attempt to balance the teaching of content with that of skills. The boys continue to learn to read with more purpose, use a variety of note taking skills, argue persuasively in both written and oral form, prepare for assessments, think analytically and acquire the research skills to construct a final thesis paper.
The focus in Ninth Grade is the study of world history through current events. As such, the content of the course is determined by the times. However, there are certain themes that persist - geography, nationalism, imperialism, and revolution. Through this study, we consider various historical elements and factors, including: political, economic, religious, social, intellectual/artistic, technological. Ninth Grade History is a skill intensive course, where boys develop the ability to read critically, write persuasively, speak articulately, research effectively, and think analytically.
In the spring term, ninth graders participate in an inter-disciplinary program of study called "Facing History & Ourselves." As stated on the Facing History website, "By integrating the study of history and literature with ethical decision making and innovative teaching strategies, our program promotes students’ historical understanding, critical thinking, and social-emotional learning. As students explore the complexities of history, they reflect on the choices they confront today and consider how they can make a difference." At Allen-Stevenson, ninth grade boys select an individual ethical issue to explore through research, reading and art, and which culminates in a formal presentation of their topic and art piece to faculty and visitors.