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    social studies book is too hard
    By Carolyn

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    I teach fifth grade, too. I also love teaching history. We are doing the Civil War right now. I think that with this low group and even other kids, too, it's important that they learn to enjoy and appreciate our country's history. I have actually integrated language arts instruction within my social studies classes. My principal had formerly said that he didn't really want us to teach SS, to focus upon math and reading, but kids get the opportunity to learn reading skills while learning social studies. I don't teach SS just to teach history.

    I don't use the textbook tests. Most teachers I know agree that they are too hard. I also don't sweat the vocabulary. Most likely, they aren't going to remember it anyway. I DO want them to remember general ideas and concepts. What caused the Civil War? (reading skill: cause/effect) What is this lesson mostly about (reading skill: main idea) Do you think the Civil War was a good idea? Why or why not? (critical thinking) Prepare an essay on everything you have learned about the Civil War from an outline (language arts connection) in a one-page essay.

    I give the kids frequent quizzes--one each Friday on what we have learned. They are allowed to use the textbook. You can make sure that the questions are multiple choice to make it easier for them to respond to them. Fill-in-the-blank types of questions are much harder for them to do.

    If your series has text-on-tape, you can set up kids with the earphones and have them listen to it several times while following the reader. Our Harcourt Brace series also has musical tapes which interest the reader.

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