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Social Studies Foundations

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WI DPI Foundations for Social Studies

The Foundations for Social Studies assist PK-12 educators in incorporating civic, economic, and global concepts (in part based off of work from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills) into the classroom through questioning techniques. 
Special thanks are given to the statewide social studies educators on the workgroup.


Civic, Economic, and Global Literacies

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In this context, "literacy" is used as a broad term of understanding. The information below outlines questions that can be used to enhance student learning experiences to help them become more civically, economic, or globally "literate".

The work is divided into two different grade bands: PK-4 and 5-12. The PK-4 documents provide probing questions to guide instruction in each theme. The 5-12 documents provide questions for specific subject areas to incorporate the given theme of civic, economic, or global literacy.

These resources are designed to help educators move towards an inquiry-based instructional framework. More information is available on essential questions tied to Wisconsin's Model Academic Standards for Social Studies.

Civic Literacy

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Civic literacy is the ability to understand, analyze, and participate in government and in the community, and the ability to make decisions that reflect an understanding of a broader sense of political awareness.

Focusing question: How do people develop, influence, and interact with systems of governance and exercise civic decision-making?

Civic Literacy in Grades PK-4  (Printer-Friendly)

Civic Literacy in Grades 5-12   (Printer-Friendly)

​Economic Literacy

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Economic literacy is the ability to identify, analyze, and weigh costs and benefits of local, state, national, and global economic issues and potential alternatives. 

Focusing question: How do individuals and groups interact with economic institutions?

Economic Literacy in Grades PK-4  (Printer-Friendly)

Economic Literacy in Grades 5-12  (Printer-Friendly)

Global Literacy

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Global literacy is the ability to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences in the customs, values, and beliefs of one's own culture and the cultures of others.  

Focusing question: How do individuals, groups, and nations interact with the global community?

Global Literacy in Grades PK-4  (Printer-Friendly)

Global Literacy in Grades 5-12  (Printer-Friendly)

For questions about this information, contact Kristen McDaniel (608) 266-2207