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    5th grade Social Studies
    By Melissa

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    I did my student teaching in a 5th grade class. I taught one math lesson and 3 of the same Social Studies lessons each day. I had to make it interesting not only for the kids but for me too. We took imaginary field trips to the locations and/or times we were discussing. We kept travel journals dicussing what we had discovered in class that day. I required a drawing to acompany each entry in order to touch another type of learner. I had a list of requirements for the entries and a rubric for scoring them.

    We did dances, songs, and foods as part of learning about culture. We did some role play. The students told me that one of the most interesting lessons we did dealt with the difference between dictatorship and democracy. I did not just have them write and compare the two, but we actually set up a dictatorship in our classroom. One student was appointed by me to be the dictator and whatever he/she decided were the rules that day. He/She could punish someone just because they were wearing a certain color or said something when they were not supposed to. The dictator made up the rules. We had landowners at each table. They collected half the colored piece of paper from each of their tenants and then the dicator collected the other half and half of the landowners. Then a candy store was opened and anyone with paper could but candy, but since the tenants did not have any, they did not get any and thought it was unfair but they could be punished for saying that. That incident helped us see some of the differences between living under a dictatorship and living under a democracy.
    There were certain days when we would have to read the book or other papers, but I treated those days as one where we were going on an archeaological dig for information about the past or present. At the end of my time teaching, i asked the students what kinds of things they did and did not like from my experience with them. Students really like the variety of types of activities we did (other than just reading) and the cultivating events we had at the end of each unit (fiesta, field trip, video related to topic . . .). I do not know if any of these ideas will help but I thought I could just share what had worked for me. I learned as much from these things as the students. Student-Learning was apparent from the high marks on the tests and the pop review questions I would ask.
    I think it is important to enjoy what you are teaching and that enthusiasm rubs off on the students. Good luck!

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