Freshman Seminar

  • Course Description:

    Freshman Seminar is about making informed choices. The first semester focuses on choices regarding academic, career, health and lifestyle goals. Using Get Focused . . . Stay Focused, students develop an online, skills-based, 10-year career and education plan that will be used and modified throughout high school in order to help students fulfill their passions. In this course students identify their interests and life goals, discover a career aligned to those interests and goals, and develop an educational pathway to prepare for that career. The second semester focuses on learning from historical decisions in order to better understand how past choices impact society today. Using Facing History and Ourselves, students confront the complexities of history by analyzing the American Eugenics movement, the Holocaust, and other examples of genocide and atrocity in order to make essential connections between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives. Students of diverse backgrounds engage in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. The semester culminates in a civic action project that challenges students to become upstanders in their school and community.

    Essential Concepts/Skills

    • Students develop the skills of asking higher-level questions, organization, note taking, effective study strategies, research, debate, seminar, presentation, analysis, and writing.
    • Students explore the four domains of Social Justice: Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action to help create a more just, equitable, and safe community.
    • Students will also utilize the resources available at Santa Monica High School to develop habits for success and plan for the future.
    • Students awareness and understanding of racism, religious intolerance, and prejudice will improve.
    • Students will increase their ability to relate history to their own lives.
    • Students will develop a greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities in a democracy.

    Major Units:

    Get Focused, Stay Focused curriculum
    Who Am I?
    What Do I Want?
    How Do I Get It?
    Final: Structured Personal Interview

    American Eugenics Movement
    Genocide Case Study: Holocaust
    Genocide and Other Atrocities: the modern era
    Final: Civic Action Project