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schoolgirl3's Message:

Have you tried having the students make storyboards which show the cause and events of historical events? Illustrating the events in their SS journal, rather than taking notes, seems to help them catch the big ideas.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
rockhound 03-07-2010 06:18 PM

pvs2013 - I was wondering if you would be willing to share more about your Oregon Trails unit...I'm in my first year of teaching and your storyline is EXACTLY what I've been looking for!

Dianne 12-17-2009 06:08 PM

I have a friend that team teaches with me. She handles the Social Studies, and her scores are phenomenal. She just finished the section you are about to start about WWII and the great depression. She read LUBA aloud and I read The Butterfly. Both books are about Nazi concentration camps, but they are appropriate to 5th. She also made ration bread and let the students taste it. Miracle at Midnight is a wonderful movie that really conveys the terror and hardship that the jews faced during WWII. I hope these help.

ajmm115 12-17-2009 08:39 AM

We do "Oregon Trail" very similar to your description. We also do an immigration unit using pretty much the same system. Kids start off in a country of their choice (from a proscribed list) and go through Ellis Island and then to a US city.

pvs2013 12-16-2009 06:12 PM

I love to do my SS teaching through storyline method -- look it up! I took a great workshop on it this summer ... I teach a very successful Oregon Trail unit in 4th grade where the students make a character, choose that character's reason for traveling to Oregon, then make 'family groups' and we travel on a 'wagon train' to Oregon, keeping diaries along the way so they get some practice in historical fiction writing. We track landmarks along the way and each child does a short oral presentation on a fort or landmark as we travel. The students build model wagons and we decorate the classroom with them. When we reach Oregon we have a 'homesteading party' and make butter, have a potluck with the types of foods they would have eaten, and play old-fashioned children's games.

This year in 5th grade, for USA geography, we're doing a 'road trip' where the students start in Oregon (our location) and have to plan a trip through at least 10 states until they hit the Atlantic coast. Along the way they need to learn about each state, as well as tracking their mileage, hotel costs, entertainment costs, etc. (I make a fake price list and give them a budget) They're also going to do a research project where they make a travel brochure advertising a state of their choice.

schoolgirl3 12-15-2009 06:41 PM

Have you tried having the students make storyboards which show the cause and events of historical events? Illustrating the events in their SS journal, rather than taking notes, seems to help them catch the big ideas.

cjn 12-14-2009 08:18 PM

I had the students create magazines for the 1920's. Each team decided on the type of magazine: sports, news, entertainment, etc. Every child had to contribute at least one article and one advertisement for their team's magazine. I was very pleased with the results--and so were the students.

For the Great Depression, we do vignettes of soup lines, etc. to bring those things to life.

This year, I am planning on having the students make WWI or WWII scrapbooks and/or ABC books.

Manyof my read alouds (both picture and chapter books) and literature circles revolve around the SS themes.

Hope this helps

newpalmetto 12-14-2009 06:06 PM

In all 3 states I've taught in, 5th grade teaches Reconstruction to present- I don't think it's too mature for 5th graders! In fact, my kids say their favorite unit last year was our WWII unit.

We're starting with WWI/Great Depression after Winter Break as well...

To make it more interesting, the majority of the novels we read are historical fiction relating to our standards. We also do a lot of mini-projects while reading in the textbook. I use a variety of question types, do games to review, etc.

I also do simulations with the Stock Market crash (they have to follow a stock for 2 weeks), teach the Charleston when learning about Roaring 20s...trying to think of more!

ajmm115 12-14-2009 05:52 PM

WWII and the Great Depression seem quite advanced for 5th grade, who probably have never even studied the Civil War or WWI yet. Is this a project you yourself have designed or is it your district's requirement?

If it's just a project, I'd suggest something more in line with the rest of the country's curriculum for 5th grade - one of the above subjects or the Constitution or the westward expansion - the Lewis and Clark trail, etc. These are more in line with the maturity level of a 5th grader.

trexteach 12-14-2009 04:32 PM

Are you also focusing on your indicators for just your grade level?

Here in Ohio, we have our grade 5 indicators, then we also have to make sure the kids are still up to speed on the grades 3-5 benchmarks. It's a pain because, of course, these kids aren't going to remember all the SS content that was covered in grades 3 and 4. They can hardly remember what was taught at the beginning of the year. However, ALL of this is on our 5th grade SS state testing.

Could you try any or all of the following?

*Try pretesting the kids before your units. This will allow you to weed out the info they've mastered so you can focus more closely on what they don't know.

*Present questions to them in MC, short answer, and extended response during lessons--not only on the tests. You will get a good feel of what they are and are not catching onto during your lessons when you make them respond in writing.

*Try to record the types of difficulties they're having on a chart of some kind so you can more easily find where the problem areas are.

*Have the kids write "exit cards" after your lessons to see what they've learned from your lesson.

*Be sure to start the next day's SS lesson with a brief review.

*Change up your lessons a bit each day. Incorporate group and partner work and videos on the subject matter. Try using different formats instead of just reading from the text; use CLOZE activities and anticipatory guides; use other reading materials besides just the text.

Without something specific to suggest activities for, this is all I can come up with at the moment. You may be doing a great deal of these things already, but I thought I throw some of these things at you. Hope some are useful.

The furthest we go up to in our curriculum is the Civil War. By the time we get in all of our SS and Science curriculum, plus some other required activities, that's all we can get in.

Jccarter 12-14-2009 04:30 PM

I do a lot of my Social Studies like I teach Informational Text or Informational Reading, as I think SOOOOOO much of it is reading....any thoughts from anyone else???

mrpeter22 12-14-2009 02:06 PM

Does anyone have any strategies or specific things you do to teach Social Studies(5th grade)? I have spent the last 9 weeks working really hard only to see my Benchmark results to be quite poor. We will be studying WWII and the Great Depression after Christmas if that helps.

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