2014 CLAS Summer Institute for Teachers: Standards

A lithograph of the Presidio in San Francisco.
A lithograph of the Presidio in San Francisco.

California in Transition

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California History–Social Science Content Standards

Fourth Grade

4.2 Students describe the social, political, cultural, and economic life and interactions among people of California from the pre-Columbian societies to the Spanish mission and Mexican rancho periods.

4.2.2 Identify the early land and sea routes to, and European settlements in,Californiawith a focus on the exploration of the North Pacific (e.g., by Captain James Cook, Vitus Bering, Juan Cabrillo), noting especially the importance of mountains, deserts, ocean currents and wind patterns.

4.2.3 Describe the Spanish exploration and colonization ofCalifornia, including the relationships among soldiers, missionaries, and Indians (e.g., Juan Crespi, Junipero Serra, Gaspar de Portola).

4.2.4 Describe the mapping of, geographic basis of, and economic factors in the placement and function of the Spanish missions; and understand how the mission system expanded the influence ofSpainand Catholicism throughout New Spain andLatin America.

4.2.5 Describe the daily lives of the people, native and nonnative, who occupied the presidios, missions, ranchos, and pueblos.

4.2.6 Discuss the role of the Franciscans in changing the economy ofCaliforniafrom a hunter-gatherer economy to an agricultural economy.

4.2.7 Describe the effects of the Mexican War forIndependenceon Alta California, including its effects on the territorial boundaries ofNorth America.

4.2.8 Discuss the period of Mexican rule inCaliforniaand its attributes, including land grants, secularization of the missions, and the rise of the rancho economy.

4.3 Students explain the economic, social, and political life in California from the establishment of the Bear Flag Republic through the Mexican-American War, the Gold Rush, and the granting of statehood.

4.3.1 Identify the locations of Mexican settlements inCaliforniaand those of other settlements, includingFortRossand Sutter’s Fort.

4.3.2 Compare how and why people traveled toCaliforniaand the routes they traveled (e.g., James Beckwourth, John Bidwell, John C. Fremont, Pio Pico).

4.3.3 Analyze the effects of the Gold Rush on settlements, daily life, politics, and the physical environment (e.g. using biographies of John Sutter, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, Louise Clapp).

4.3.5 Discuss howCaliforniabecame a state and how its new government differed from those during the Spanish and Mexican periods.

4.4 Students explain how California became an agricultural and industrial power, tracing the transformation of the California economy and its political and cultural development since the 1850s.

4.4.2 Explain how the Gold Rush transformed the economy of California, including the types of products produced and consumed, changes in towns (e.g., Sacramento, San Francisco), and economic conflicts between diverse groups of people.

4.4.4 Describe rapid American immigration, internal migration, settlement, and the growth of towns and cities (e.g.,Los Angeles).


Eighth Grade

8.5 Students analyze U.S. foreign policy in the early Republic.

8.5.2 Know the changing boundaries of theUnited Statesand describe the relationship the country had with its neighbors (currentMexicoandCanada) andEurope, including the influence of the Monroe Doctrine, and how those relationships influenced westward expansion and the Mexican-American War.

8.8 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people in the West from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced.

8.8.2 Describe the purpose, challenges, and economic incentives associated with westward expansion, including the concept of Manifest Destiny and the territorial expansion that spanned numerous decades.

8.8.5 Discuss Mexican settlements and their locations, cultural traditions, attitudes toward slavery, land-grant system, and economies. 

8.8.6 Describe the Texas War forIndependenceand the Mexican-American War, including the territorial settlements, the aftermath of the wars, and the effects the wars had on the lives of Americans, including Mexican Americans today.

Common Core

Fourth Grade: Reading Standards for Informational Text

  1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  2. Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text
  3. Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
  4. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
  5. Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
  6. Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.
  7. Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
  8. Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
  9. Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  10. By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


Eighth Grade


  1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  3. Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).
  4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
  5. Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
  6. Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).
  7. Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
  8. Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
  9. Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.
  10. By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.