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After Three Months: Midterm 2016

With the term halfway over, we’ve been reflecting on our growth in socials in just 12 weeks as a class. I’m particularly interested at how intertwined our studies and the curriculum has been, and been surprised that the one-page document is actually a much more robust piece of work than I thought it was.

Below are three of the four main “big ideas” I thought I focused on in the first half of socials. Under each one are another three examples of where it’s come up, and how each one relates to the “content” area of the curriculum.


  • Collective identity:
    • Donald Trump
      • Portrayed America as failing nation, created identity of the people who voted Trump¸ discrimination against Mexicans, Muslims
      • Most of the identity was constructed by Trump
      • Content: discriminatory policies (build a wall, ban all Muslims)
    • English Civil War
      • Collective identity of each side was shaped by propaganda, often what the other side’s identity was (i.e. the Parliamentarians attacked the Royalists (Cavaliers), Royalists did as well (Roundheads))
      • Content: propaganda was weapon during English Civil War, helped influence social and political revolution
    • Oliver Cromwell
      • During English Civil War, helped make New Order Army, helped shape anti-Catholic identity through Irish massacres
      • Content: discriminatory policies of Christians (ban), injustices (massacres)
  • Disparities in power:
    • Columbus
      • Columbus had incredible power (weapons, more men who were trained to fight) over the Native Americans he encountered
      • Content: process of imperialism and colonialism, how most examples (Puritans, Cortes) include the colonists having immense advantages intellectually and technologically
    • French Revolution (Socials wheel)
      • With the monarchy, the power was completely owned by the King and the nobility, leading the lower classes to revolt
      • Content: social revolution caused by lack of balance between higher and lower classes
    • English Civil War
      • King Charles I’s lack of respect for the lower classes (New Prayer Book, disregard for Parliament) gave him much more power than the masses
      • Content: led to a regional conflict, the English Civil War
  • Emerging ideas:
    • Glenn Gould
      • Creative uses of recording technology (splicing, multiple mics, instant playback, etc.) were similar to methods that were used in pop culture at the time
      • However, his ideas were very unique in the field of classical music
      • Content: technological revolution – in classical music
    • English Civil War
      • The ideology of having at least a parliamentary democracy to have some say in the country’s running (and Charles’ hate for it) was a main factor that caused the Civil War
      • Content: led to a regional conflict, the English Civil War
    • Columbus
      • Being the first major (in terms of his popularity and common portrayal of him today) sailor to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and going back to Spain to encourage more to go over and find the riches that awaited
      • Content: greatly helped advance colonialism

Another major part of our class is the focus on curricular competencies. We were able to take the seven that were described in detail on the curricular document, and translate them to more understandable words. These seven elements were used as the rubric for our documents of learning.


  • Significance: Eminent Document of Learning and Eminent Person in general
    • Importance of Glenn Gould today in Toronto
    • Why he is eminent/why he is more significant than other pianists
  • Cause and consequence: Wheel
    • Wheel that came after French revolution was directly caused by first one
  • Perspective: Social Order Document of Learning
    • Social norms, common beliefs, etc.


  • Evidence: analyze competing sources on controversial historical events
    • Bias, background of competing sources
  • Continuity and change: comparing shifts in ideology of political parties over time (i.e. Democrats/Republicans)
    • How two various historical locations evolved during the same time frame (i.e. Chinatown/Gastown)
  • Ethical judgement: explore more into historical events that included racism?
    • Determine motives behind atrocities, and in some cases, defend them (i.e. morality of atomic bomb)

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