District Partnership

USC CALIS and Hawthorne School District partnered to support middle school students with analytical tools!

Our goal: independent critical thinking
Our method: use social science tools to develop language arts skills
Our focus: Students achieve greater skills as a result of greater understanding. Teach ideas, and their skills improve as their grasp of ideas improves.

This page is dedicated to the 2017-2018 pilot project with three middle schools in Hawthorne School District's initiative for Integrating History-Social Science and English Language Arts.

Customized resources and special support materials were created for teachers:

Unit 1 student booklets for each grade level

Dual Rubrics combine history and language arts. Each writing prompt specifies content criteria for reasoning and evidence. 

4W jigsaw/role cards
Political Leader -- print on blue paper
Economic Leader -- print on green paper
Social Leader -- print on purple paper
Cultural Leader-- print on orange paper


PPT - Spatial Context: Geography
When starting with maps, this ppt uses the City of Hawthorne for students to begin selecting their own points of reference in order to orient themselves when referring to maps.

PPT - 4W of Water
Traces a basic "flow of factors" and relationships between taxes, infrastructure, production and daily life -- past & present -- with specific references to ancient Sumer (6th grade).

PPT - 4W factor exploration: rule of law
Explains how there are many dimensions to rule of law. Distinguishes "rule by fear & force" (totalitarianism or anarchy) and how government corruption includes "taking favors" and "playing favorites".

PPT - Virtue Clusters
Students create a character profile and connect 4W factors to context of the story. Virtues are factors!

PPT - 4W of The Giver
As a dystopian novel, how does The Giver help us understand the dynamics of American society? Using a 4W jigsaw of World Leaders, determine core values and purposes of each world in American society compared to Giver society.

PPT - DACA: Building Background Knowledge
Background on DACA is organized to clarify competing and confllicting actions by the three branches of government.

USC CALIS Activities Database
----- Middle School caught in Shark Tank?

Mulholland was the lead partner school in developing the use of 4W factors

Karen West's class at Mulholland Middle School

Karen West's 6th grade students at Mulholland Middle School in LAUSD
trace the impact of technology that created a turning point in human history:
How were the first small villages able to transition to large settlements
and develop into urban centers? 
--Fall 2009

Hawthorne is pioneering integration of USC CALIS analytical tools across the middle school history program:
Grade 6 -- Ancient World History
Grade 7 -- Medieval & Early Modern World History
Grade 8 -- United States History

As understanding of history deepens,
skills in language arts will grow.

A Shared Vision,
A Bold Claim

Analytical tools help students achieve high-level literacy through rigorous critical thinking... thus addressing college readiness and the achievement gap.

The project promotes curriculum reform and supports teachers’ effectiveness as the most powerful ways to achieve widespread school improvement.

If your school or school district is interested in joining this effort to transform teaching and learning in social science, please contact USC CALIS.


a 7-minute overview

Karen West, a 6th grade teacher, narrates a powerpoint to explain the 4WH model and how she first used it with her students:

4W Narrated PowerPoint

transcript with CST epilogue