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NJMath NJMath is offline
 
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Writing in Social Studies
Old 07-05-2012, 07:07 AM
 
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We were asked to incorporate the "6+1 Traits of Writing" program into our Social Studies classes this year. I am looking for some creative ways to include more writing assignments in my class other than just the traditional essays I typically have my students write. I teach Ancient World History - Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, India, Mesopotamia.... Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!


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Ideas
Old 07-05-2012, 10:25 PM
 
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http://home.wsd.wednet.edu/WSD/Instr...pts/index.html
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Old 07-06-2012, 05:58 AM
 
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Read a number of ancient stories, myths, and legends of a particular region. (India, China, Current Middle East). After studying the geography of the area, make a connection between the geography, and how the myth and culture emerged from it. There are tons of clues.

Make cartoons of an historic event. (The most important thing to teach them here is write BEFORE you bubble when drawing a speech bubble.)

Compare/contrast something or someone in the present time with something or someone from the past: leaders, artists, slavery, governments, wars, or a topic of their choosing.)

Journals. When possible, do simulations. (There is a book of ancient times simulations at Teacher Created Materials.) During and after the simulation, students write a journal dated in a past time. I have had some absolutely amazing and beautiful pieces of writing come out of this.)

Write brochures of an ancient country of culture. Information on geography, economy, leaders, etc. must be included. You can make it a sentence each, or a paragraph eac, and it is easily differentiated.

Make books in the style of the ancient culture. Get this book!
Multicultural Books To Make And Share, Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord. Newburyport, MA: www.makingbooks.com, 2004.

Have them make and write their own classroom rules. Throughout the year, you can point to the law and say, "Hey, not my rule!"
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Write till your hands fall off
Old 07-07-2012, 04:06 AM
 
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We also have to incorporate writing in middle school Civics. I choose to do a beginning-of-class (first five minutes) question that students must respond to in a paragraph with specific transition words (i.e. hence, consequently). I give new questions and new transition words regularly. Examples could be:

"What connection does Greece have with democracy?" - transitions: Moreover, In Sum

or

"Would a pop star who lived in ancient Rome be considered a Plebian or Patrician, why or why not?" - transitions: Additionally, Therefore

I get to squeeze in attendance, five million other things I quickly need, and most importantly - I get 5 minutes of silence (once they have been conditioned)!

Good luck
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writing
Old 07-07-2012, 06:13 AM
 
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I use writing journals in SS just like I used to do in ELA. I often give prompts as their warm-up/bell-ringer/whatever you like to call it. I count them as classwork grades. Prompts can include:
What do you know about China?
Why did early civilizations often live near water?
Pretend that you and a friend are traveling on the Silk Road. Write a short story about your adventure.
Write a diary entry from the point of view of a citizen of Athens. Then write an entry from the point of view of a citizen of Sparta.
What did Confucius mean when he said "Do not do to others what you would not want done to you"?
I also intend to start using pictures as prompts this year (anything from a picture of a desert to Alexander the Great to a mummy) and ask them to write based on them. I have a projector, but you can also use illustrations and photos in the textbook (example: Write the conversation Socrates is having with the man in this picture).
One thing I've learned, though, is to always provide the students with a mimimum requirement (for example: must be a minimum of seven grade-level sentences). I also give them a time limit for most prompts to prevent dawdling.


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Old 07-08-2012, 08:31 AM
 
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Love the idea of picture prompts.

I do a lot of RAFTS with my fifth graders:

"You are a sailor on a ship with ______ (insert explorer) traveling from Portugal to Central America. Write a journal entry explaining what life is like on the boat." or something like that.

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National Geographic Photo of The Day
Old 07-08-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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http://photography.nationalgeographi...urce=NavPhoPOD

These might make good photo prompts.
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Thank you!!!
Old 07-09-2012, 05:18 AM
 
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Thank you all so much for your ideas...they sound great and I can't wait to try them this year!
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:56 AM
 
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I have quite a few different writing assignments for social studies on my website. For example, I just posted a new one yesterday where students write a series of letters back to their families as if they were a person on a pilgrimage/trade caravan/journey to war. I'm not familiar with the 6 + 1 model though so I'm not sure how well they'd line up.

www.mrroughton.com
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adding my thanks
Old 07-09-2012, 07:04 AM
 
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Thanks, BD and Rockguy. That's helpful stuff!


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Rockguy
Old 07-09-2012, 09:52 AM
 
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Wow - your website has a TON of assignments that I can use with the Traits. Thank you so much for posting that!!
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Wonderful
Old 07-21-2012, 08:29 PM
 
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Thank you so much Rockguy - I have used several of these assignments before, but I really love your set up. I will be borrowing and sharing for sure! )
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writing in SS
Old 07-23-2012, 04:25 PM
 
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We do alot of Dear Diary scenarios --such as you have just watched Greek games--Describe what you saw. Or you are a scribe-tell what a normal day might be like.
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History Myster Lab
Old 07-24-2012, 04:50 PM
 
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Wow Rockguykey! I love your idea for history mystery lab! You definitely have my wheels turning on how to apply that for 5th grade history (Native Americans, Explorers, & Revolution)! Thanks for your hard work!
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I love it (and history)!
Old 07-29-2012, 11:58 AM
 
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Hey Rockguy,

I was extremely impressed with your website. I am not a middle-school teacher, but your site and the lesson plans and activities within are fantastic! Social Studies and Writing are my strengths, but as a 4th Grade teacher with limited hours in the day to teach either, I have been trying to find new ways to integrate both together...and I think you've really got something great here that can be adapted to the lower grades! Any thoughts or suggestions from you on this would be much appreciated.

Have a great school year, hope to hear from you soon!
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:08 PM
 
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Thank you all so much for your great ideas! I really appreciate it.
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GREAT Ideas
Old 08-02-2012, 06:24 PM
 
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I just love your ideas! And right on point for me, I just got a job teaching 3rd grade and I'll be teaching Language Arts and Social Studies. I'm definitely going to incorporate some of these into my lessons. THANKS!
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Love the site
Old 08-02-2012, 07:05 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing your site info, it is simply full of great, fun ideals! LOVE IT!
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