The social studies department currently offers three electives for students in grade 8.
AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE
Culture, a reflection of society during a particular time - it is continually evolving. Our study emphasizes fostering connections that will bring history to life in a critical and topical way. Through a fusion of history and culture, students will explore not only how cultural events were influenced by history but also how they influence history. We will explore art innovators and movements, cinema as entertainment and as art, movies through the eyes of visionary directors, music as a mood indicator of a generation, contemporary American theater, trends in television, commercials and commercialism and Manhattan as a cultural epicenter. 2-3 periods per week – half year
IN THE EYES OF MASS MEDIA
Are Americans and the rest of the world unwitting pawns when it comes to media and advertising? How does the media cover events? Why are certain facts left unsaid? How are people influenced by TV? How does the quick pace of today’s news lead to misunderstanding and rumors? What purpose does propaganda serve? Who benefits from it?
Using readings, commercials, movies, cartoons and computers, the class will discuss these matters as well as media deception; political and big business lies; cover-ups and conspiracies. This course is not designed to teach students that the world is out to get them. Rather, it attempts to educate students about mass media and teach them critical thinking skills. The wool has been pulled over many people’s eyes in the past. In today’s world, that possibility is even greater and the need for a critical mind is important. 2-3 periods per week – half year
REAL TO REEL
While most students love going to the movies, few have been trained to appreciate cinema as art, or as a vehicle to educate and enlighten. Film can help engage a viewer with an idea, such as a contemporary issue or a cultural difference. Film can also help the viewer draw parallels between eras in history. The goal of Real to Reel is to make the classroom a starting point for the investigation of larger themes like ethics, culture and race by analyzing the political/historical meaning in select films, differentiating between fact and fiction in cinema and evaluating how accurately history has been handled in the movies