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wordsmith wordsmith is offline
 
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Need serious Social Studies help!
Old 10-08-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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Hi. I've been teaching 5th grade for five weeks or so now and we are still in the first Chapter of our SS text. Ugh. The problem is that the chapters are long and the book is dense with vocabulary and questions and maps, etc. I was wondering if any of you assign projects to be done at home? I'm going to do all I can to get through this chapter this week and move on to our Indian section. Then explorers. I would so love to have an idea of a project for each of those units that the kids could work on independently or in groups to enrich what we're doing in the classroom. We only have three-45 min. and two 30-min. periods per week of SS. Seems we just get going and we have to switch to something else, hence the slow pace.

Any ideas would be welcome but I do feel I have to stick to the text as I am not very well versed in our state standards want to make sure I'm covering our bases. Thanks!


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Old 10-08-2011, 04:16 PM
 
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So, this is not exactly what you were asking for, but...
I would become as familiar with your standards as much as possible. I have found that most text books (especially social studies and science) have way more material than is required. Pull out your standards and pick and choose the sections from the book that are most important.

I never send projects home. We are not allowed to grade anything done at home. I have them do any projects as partners/groups in class.

For Native Americans: I have had them make a flip book with one section for each major group (northeast, southeast, plains, northwest, southwest). The flip book is really nice for comparing and contrasting groups. One page under each group for major tribe names, housing, hunting....or whatever you want to highlight. This we usually do together or in small chunks with partners using bits and pieces of the text book.

For explorers: I have had my kids write and video tape news reports highlighting each of the major explorers. I had them interview the 'explorer' making sure to include the who, what, where, when, why kind of questions.
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Thank you, Nessa
Old 10-08-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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You're right about the standards. I started this first chapter which has so much info on landforms and I don't think it's even in the Michigan standards anymore. It moved to fourth grade. But these kids didn't get it last year (a teacher who's no longer there) so I wanted to cover it.

Thanks, too, for the project ideas. I hear you about not grading outside work. We just have such a limited time in the classroom for SS it sounded like the best solution.

I appreciate your help.
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Standards
Old 10-08-2011, 05:39 PM
 
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I would also suggest that you familiarize yourself with the standards. Most social studies text have more information than required. I would also suggest not even using the book. Perhaps use it as a guide, but use your own ideas to teach lessons.
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Power Point
Old 10-09-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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I've been using Power Point Presentations to summarize the chapters that seem bogged down for my 4th graders. I go to Pete's power points first and find something close, then just adapt for my use. I write the standards in kid friendly language then post a short quiz at the end. Do you have a Model classroom?
http://www.pppst.com/

Oh, and eduplace.com has some nice resources.


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Old 10-09-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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Love the ppts!
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Wow! Thanks.
Old 10-09-2011, 04:23 PM
 
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I really love all the ppts that are available. What a great idea. I just got back into teaching after 20 years at home so all the technology has my head spinning. But I do have a lap top and our IT person showed me how to use the Smartboard projector. I have to figure out about all this, united streaming, etc. but once I get the hang of this, it is going to help me tremendously.

And my students will love it. We have SS often at the end of the day and dragging out that text is torture much of the time. Thanks again.
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7th
Old 10-09-2011, 09:26 PM
 
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Though 7th grade history is my area, ALL the ideas you got were spot on. Coattailing on the one about not even using the textbook, what I would suggest - because it's my way, of course - is to check the units ahead of time and pick at least ONE chapter or division of a chapter to read word for word and make some study questions of your own that emulate the standardized type.

The availability of ppts, for instance, might guide your choice as you could pick something that is not covered in the ppts.

Are you familiar with interactive notebooks? Again, this is something that you can use that is not text oriented and that the kids like - well, usually. I used them in groups, some things being the same for each group member and others totally individual. Lots of ways to use interactive notebooks. There is a lot on line about them if you are unfamiliar with them.
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Native American Project
Old 10-10-2011, 07:09 AM
 
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This can be done before, during, after, as an individual project, or partners.

Assign one of the Native American regions to student/group. They will research (using textbooks, encyclopedias, internet (use printed packets if you don't have many computers available), etc. Have them look for the following: Food, Shelter/homes, Environment/climate, religious ceremonies, other activities. After they have done the research, have them use that information in order to create a Hotel/resort area advertisement. On their advertisement, they need to include: Hotel Name: Hopi Desert Resort, description and picture of hotel (must be historical based i. e. adobe structure, no windows, area for Kiva, etc.) a restaurant menu that includes food choices and how to pay for them (corn chowder: 3 white wampum), souvenir shop (for clothing, jewelry, etc), and local entertainment (pot latch events, totem carving classes, etc), a short description of the environment/climate, basically whatever you need to throw in for your GLE/content standard.
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Old 10-10-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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By any chance are you able to set your own schedule? Probably a shot in the dark but worth asking.

I ask because you get 3 hours and 15 minutes a week doing SS. If you were able to spend a longer, more concentrated time 1-2 days a week--rather than spurts broken up into 5 days--I think you'd feel you're getting a LOTTTT more accomplished.


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SO many great suggestions
Old 10-10-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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Well, after reading all of the posts and showing my first United Streaming video (on Columbus today :-)), I feel so much better prepared to tackle SS. I just spent time downloading videos to my laptop and my students will be so pleased to have these resources as part of our Social Studies units.

HomeofLove: Yes, I can set my own schedule, to an extent. I will look into using bigger chunks of time so we can accomplish more. I think that's a big part of the problem.

I do want you all to know that I will take your advice to heart. I am relieved, to say the least, to have a better idea of how to handle this.

PS I love the Indian project. The kids will, too. Thanks!
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Native American Project
Old 10-10-2011, 07:23 PM
 
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To Cayper - do you have a copy of the directions you hand out to your students for this project?
TIA!
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:38 AM
 
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Quote:
HomeofLove: Yes, I can set my own schedule, to an extent. I will look into using bigger chunks of time so we can accomplish more. I think that's a big part of the problem.
So do I. Especially on the days you have 30 minutes. Depending on what they were doing just before that, it might take 10 minutes just to transition and get their minds ready and into SS--just in time for you to read a couple things and then SS is finished!
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Exactly!
Old 10-11-2011, 04:59 PM
 
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Usually, I tried to use that time for Scholastic News or something brief like a quick map skill. But without being able to get deep into the subject, not much came of it.

Truly, this idea of getting to know the standards, finding the exact area in the text that meets those standards and then reinforcing with a power point or united streaming video is going to change my life! PT is so great. Thanks to everyone for their good ideas.
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Native American project
Old 10-16-2011, 07:06 PM
 
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I did a similar project with my 5th graders. I had them make a PowerPoint covering one native american tribe. I assigned them one of 5 tribes/regions. The first thing I did was go to the computer lab and show them how to open powerpoint and save it. Then we went one slide at a time and added the title (they were pre-assigned and described). It was really quite simple, and we worked on it once a week during computer lab. They also got on my classroom computers when they had a chance. THe best part about this was that when I taught LA during SS time (as I seem to everyday) we didn't really miss out on anything. At the end of the project my kids "taught" the class about their tribe using the smartboard. They LOVED it, and so did my principals. Here's the chart I used to assign the categories and tribes. http://library.thinkquest.org/J01100...ican_chart.htm
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:49 PM
 
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I know a teacher who assigns a project in which each kid makes a diorama of an Indian tribe's shelter......They are not allowed to buy anything, just things they find at home or naturally in the environment. They come out great. They are creative, like using legos, mud/dirt, twigs, etc.
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:14 AM
 
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I am going to tell you something you don't want to hear. Don't just use the book to teach Social Studies. Use your standards and then you have to take those and plan around the standards. We have to teach rivers so I I marked my map with colored tape and the students color code their map for instance we say the Mighty Muddy Mississippi and it is colored brown. The Tennessee River is of course orange because it is in the shape of a U. Just have fun with learning Social Studies don't stress out over it. I love teaching my 5th grade Social Studies class. When we did the Civil War. I had them put gray and blue bandanas on their arms which marked some of them Union and some Confederates. They loved it then they understood about the fighting and how it seperated families. I purposely seperated my twins to show them how it was when families were on different sides. They loved studying about the Civil War. You will be alright when you get into a routine. THey must have a map they can look at too. I am having poster size maps made for my group work. The students can put the railroad tracks on the map naming the Union Pacific and the Central stations of the Transcontinental Railroad. They had trains to put on the tracks going toward each other. THey had the big four on their map and studied the chinese and the Irish and how they played a part in building the railroad. I can't tell you everything I do, but I hope this helps and gives you some ideas. Have fun with it. I teach about 105 students each day. I love it.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:11 AM
 
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I definitely think it's important to get away from using the textbook only and make the class/lessons more interactive/hands on. I do want to add though, that I completely disagree with those suggesting you do not use the book at all.

Yes, it is long and difficult to get through. However, it is very important that the kids learn to navigate through informational text, and a social studies book is a perfect way for them to learn this. Certainly not everyday, but definitely once in a while.
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Love your ideas
Old 11-03-2011, 06:32 AM
 
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I'm new to teaching 5th grade too and am struggling with the same things. Jeraldine Jo, sounds like you are in TN??? I would love to talk more and get more great ideas from you.
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Thank You, Jeraldine Jo.
Old 11-03-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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You make me feel less stressed just by reading your post. My goal is to find as many hands-on activities as I can to teach the standards. Thanks for some great ideas.
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I agree with you, jvar87
Old 11-03-2011, 09:03 PM
 
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I have to stick with using the book somewhat, esp. as I learn the curriculum and the standards. It's kind of my safety blanket this year. But I get that I have to have courage to take some risks too and get creative and have some fun. All these suggestions have been extremely helpful.
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