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Teaching Social Studies

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Teachers offer advice on teaching Social Studies
social comes to life!
Posted by:melanie #46500

Have you heard of the "story-line" method of teaching social studies? I did it with my kids for the last half of the year, after learning about it at a teachers' convention. They loved it! It's hard to explain in a nutshell, but I'll try.

You aim to teach the unit just as you would teach a novel. The main elements being: setting, characters, plot, climax (problem) and resolution.

You start off with setting. For you it would be Indiana at some point in history. You do a small research with the kids as to what Indiana would have looked like at the time... ie) what were characteristics of communities and towns, what were the main sources of income, natural resources, etc... You could use your textbooks for this, with small groups focusing on some portion and reporting to the class. I personally like to have the kids use the...

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5th grade Social Studies
Posted by:Melissa #24882

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...

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Social Studies should be fun
Posted by:Robin Douglas #75636

I am in my third year teaching social studies and it has ranked #1 with the 5th grade class (of 100 kids) for the last two years. The reason why is because the subject matter that you teach is like a play already typed and ready to go. I can incorporate lots of fun things in to every chapter we do. For example, for the American Revolution I have students grab paper from a cup which is labeled either, native american, parliament, loyalists, or colonist. (I am the king of England). Then i give all students 5 buttons ( i got them at a yard sale). Everytime we discuss a new tax law, I send my tax collectors (loyalists) to collect from the colonists. I then give some of the "money" to parliament. The kids love to pretend that I am an evil king. It's little things like that that make a big...

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social studies book is too hard
Posted by:Carolyn #31286

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...

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Social Studies...
Posted by:BuzyBee #59231

Sorry this is so long...

When I first started teaching, Social Studies was my least favorite area, but it quickly became my favorite. Especially fourth grade... we get to talk about pioneers, Native Americans, government, and geography. Since you are already a language arts teacher, you'll do great! I use a lot of journaling, reading, and research writing for my students.

What works for me is to ake a look at all of the objectives for the year and create a rough outline or pacing chart. I do this and it really helps to look and say "Okay, this is the unit on pioneers, next month will be the unit on Economics." I do it all by units. Some units are small, and some are large.

I tried to create hands on lessons for the kids, like a realistic mock election when we talked...

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Social Studies Textbook
Posted by:Kathy #54126

Since this is the third grade board, I'm assuming you teach third grade!! I've not been very happy with our social studies books.

When I first started teaching third grade, our books were so simplistic they were ridiculous. As I remember they read something like this:
"People live in communities. Some communities are large. Some communities are small. People work together in communities. They help each other." Well, you get the idea.

Well, I was pleased to learn we were getting new textbooks until I discovered the new ones went the opposite direction with information well over my students' heads and having questions about Galveston, Texas, on the test! (We lived in California!!)

Third graders learn both social studies and science best through "hands-on" activities and real life experiences. You can...

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Social Studies ideas
Posted by:Jen #18008

This will be my first year teaching social studies-I taught 7th grade math last year. Even though this is not my main area I decided that I will relate as much as I can to the kids. I have 6th grade. An example: Our first chpater is about the Hunter Gatherers. There is a cool story about the "Wall of Hands" found in a cave in France. I am going to set up a "Wall of Hands" in the classroom. The students will make this by putting their handprints on a large sheet of paper across the back wall. Then I might have them sign their hands. I have just started thinking about this.

Maybe you could have your students choose a specific scene from the Revoluntionary War and let them draw it , write a poem, etc.--Or, have them imagine themselves acutally in the war. If they were...

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Posted by:MJ #86564

History is full of interesting stories and facts that most people haven't heard. Perhaps finding some of those interesting facts and stories that go along with your lesson and sharing some of those would liven things up. Sorry that I don't have any real good examples at the moment, but I know I enjoyed history classes where the teacher did that. For example if you are studying George Washington, find out something about him that many people may not know. Many history books focus more on what the people did instead of what they were really like. Find out more about the personalities of the people in history. I also had a history teacher who would draw funny pictures on the board to go along with what he was talking about for the lesson. I really enjoyed that. It was funny and kept our attention. That was in 7th and 8th grade. My last...

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writing prompts
Posted by:Kelli #51989

I teach Middle School English and I plan many of my writing lessons with our History teacher. It dosen't take us that long to meet but we spend about 5 minutes a week where she reviews her lesson topics with me. I use this to type a list of writing prompts for kids to put in their writing folders. When they are finished with their work, they pull out their folders and pick a topic to write about. You may want to check with an English teacher at your school for suggestions. Some of the ideas I have used include the following.
1. Poetry- write a poem about Expansionism
2. Descriptive Writing- write a paper describing
Ellis Island as the immmigrants first saw
3. Persuasive papers- write a letter to Abraham Lincoln persuading him that slavery should/should not be legal.
4. Business letter- have students write a...

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