The specific content outlined in the Core Knowledge Sequence constitutes a solid foundation of knowledge in each subject area. This knowledge greatly helps students with their reading, as shown by the fact that reading scores go up in Core Knowledge Schools, because wide knowledge enhances students’ ability to read diverse kinds of texts with understanding. Teachers need to remember that reading requires two abilities – the ability to turn print into language (decoding) and the ability to understand what the language says. Achieving the first ability – decoding – requires a sequential program, structured to provide guided practice in various formats and frequent review throughout the year. Decoding programs that are premised on scientifically-based research are: Open Court, Reading Mastery, and the Houghton Mifflin basal. But in addition to teaching decoding skills, a good language arts program will include coherent and interesting readings in the subject areas that enhance comprehension ability. No Language Arts program currently offers such coherent, substantive material, so, in addition to teaching the Language Arts topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, Core Knowledge teachers are encouraged to substitute solid, interesting non-fiction readings in history and science for many of the short, fragmented stories in the basals, which unfortunately do not effectively advance reading comprehension.
I. Writing, Grammar, and Usage
A. Writing and Research
• Produce a variety of types of writing—including reports, summaries, letters, descriptions, research essays, essays that explain a process, stories, poems—with a coherent structure or story line.
• Know how to gather information from different sources (such as an encyclopedia, magazines, interviews, observations, atlas, on-line), and write short reports synthesizing information from at least three different sources, presenting the information in his or her own words, with attention to the following:
understanding the purpose and audience of the writing
defining a main idea and sticking to it
providing an introduction and conclusion
organizing material in coherent paragraphs
illustrating points with relevant examples
documenting sources in a rudimentary bibliography
Respond in writing to prompts that follow the reading of literary and informational texts
Respond to writing prompts that follow listening to literary and informational texts
Write on a wide range of topics
Understand and use writing for a variety of purposes
Use a variety of different organizational patterns for writing, such as chronological order, cause/effect, compare/contrast
Use a variety of media, such as print and electronic, when writing
Use the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading, and editing)
Use a variety of prewriting strategies, such as brainstorming, freewriting, note taking, and webbing)
Review writing independently in order to revise for focus, development of ideas, and organization
Review writing independently in order to edit for correct spelling, grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and paragraphing
Understand and write for a variety of audiences
Adjust style of writing, voice, and language used according to purpose and intended audiences
Incorporate aspects of the writer’s craft, such as literary devices and specific voice, into own writing
Use multiple sources of information when writing a report
Review writing with teachers and peers
Write voluntarily to communicate ideas and emotions to a variety of audiences, from self to unknown
Write voluntarily for different purposes
Write on a variety of topics
Publish writing in a variety of presentation or display mediums, for a variety or audiences
B. Grammar and Usage
• Understand what a complete sentence is, and
identify subject and predicate
correct fragments and run-ons
• Identify subject and verb in a sentence and understand that they must agree.
• Know the following parts of speech and how they are used: nouns, verbs (action verbs and auxiliary verbs), adjectives (including articles), adverbs, conjunctions, interjections.
• Understand that pronouns must agree with their antecedents in case (nominative, objective, and possessive), number, and gender.
• Correctly use punctuation studied in earlier grades, as well as
Initiate communication with peers, teachers, and others in the school community
Use language and grammar appropriate to purpose for speaking
Use facial expressions and gestures that enhance communication
Establish eye contact during presentations and group discussions
Use audible voice and pacing appropriate to content and audience
Use visual aids to support the presentation
Use knowledge of a variety of decoding strategies, such as letter-sound correspondence, syllable patterns, decoding by analogy, word structure, use of syntactic (grammar) cues, to read unfamiliar words
Integrate sources of information to decode unfamiliar words and to cross-check, self-correcting when appropriate
Maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies such as aerial and other photographs, satellite-produced images, and computer models can be used to gather, process, and report information about the United States, Canada, and Latin America today.
Political boundaries change over time and place.
Different geological processes shaped the physical environments of the United States, Canada, and Latin America.
The nations and regions of the Western Hemisphere can be analyzed in terms of spatial organization, places, regions, physical settings (including natural resources), human systems, and environment and society. A region is an area that is tied together for some identifiable reason, such as physical, political, economic, or cultural features.
American History and Geography
II. Meso-American Civilizations
• Identify and locate Central America and South America on maps and globes.
Largest countries in South America: Brazil and Argentina
• Amazon River
• Andes Mountains
B. Maya, Inca, and Aztec Civilizations
• The Mayas
Ancient Mayas lived in what is now southern Mexico and parts of Central America; their descendants still live there today.
Accomplishments as architects and artisans: pyramids and temples
A warrior culture, at its height in the 1400s and early 1500s, the Aztec empire covered much of what is now central Mexico.
The island city of Tenochtitlan: aqueducts, massive temples, etc.
Moctezuma (also spelled Montezuma)
Ruler-priests; practice of human sacrifice
• The Inca
Ruled an empire stretching along the Pacific coast of South America
Built great cities (Machu Picchu, Cuzco) high in the Andes, connected
by a system of roads
C. Spanish Conquerors
• Conquistadors: Cortés and Pizzaro
Advantage of Spanish weapons (guns, cannons)
Diseases devastate native peoples
History of the United States, Canada, and Latin America
Different ethnic, national, and religious groups, including Native American Indians, have contributed to the cultural diversity of these nations and regions by sharing their customs, traditions, beliefs, ideas, and languages.
III. European Exploration, Trade, and the Clash of Cultures
• Beginning in the 1400s Europeans set forth in a great wave of exploration and trade.
• European motivations
Muslims controlled many trade routes.
Profit through trade in goods such as gold, silver, silks, sugar, and spices
Spread of Christianity: missionaries, Bartolomé de las Casas speaks out against enslavement and mistreatment of native peoples
• Geography of the spice trade
The Moluccas, also called the “Spice Islands”: part of present-day Indonesia
Locate: the region known as Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, the Philippines
African slaves on Portuguese sugar plantations on islands off West African coast, such as Sa~o Tomé
Sugar plantations on Caribbean islands
West Indies: Cuba, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica
• Transatlantic slave trade: the “triangular trade” from Europe to Africa to colonies
in the Caribbean and the Americas
The “Slave Coast” in West Africa
The Middle Passage
History of the United States, Canada, and Latin America
Connections and exchanges exist between and among the peoples of Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. These connections and exchanges include social/cultural, migration/immigration, and scientific/technological.
The economies of the United States, Canada, and Latin American nations
Exchanges of technologies, plants, animals, and diseases between and among nations of the Americas and Europe and sub-Saharan Africa have changed life in these regions.