Boring Social Studies

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by blondie77, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. blondie77

    blondie77 Rookie

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    Sep 23, 2009

    Help! I need ideas on how to make 4th grade social studies fun. We talk about the regions, states, etc. It is my first year teaching it. Thanks!
     
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  3. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Sep 23, 2009

    Social Studies is not boring. For one take your textbook and forget about it. The textbook is the starting point for your teaching, it is NOT the end all of teaching. Can you be more specific in your units? I could offer suggestions.
     
  4. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Sep 24, 2009

    You are the one that will make it fun for your students! I love teaching ss and you can too if you take the time to know your material and think of creative ways of presenting it to your students. Start big - continents - I use a chant to teach the continents (yep, around here the students might know the continents, but have no clue which one is which). So we do a chant - I'm not musical, but it's like a two beat thing - tap a world map as you go...two taps: North America (pointing & tapping on NA, two taps each: South America, Europe, Asia, Antarctica and Austrailia. Hope this makes sense to you. You tap the chant (song) as you go through the continents. Practice a bit on your own & then teach it to your kids.
     
  5. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Sep 24, 2009

    Social Studies is also my favorite thing to teach! I agree with Brendan...forget about the textbook. Which social studies discipline are you teaching.
     
  6. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Sep 24, 2009

    pm me

    with your email address & I'll send you a few things I've found. I teach 7th grade and not American History, but there is so much out there and I'm a saver...for that just in case time when you need something. I'll be glad to share. I've not clue how to attach on here so can't attach them here.
     
  7. blondie77

    blondie77 Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2009

    I teach the West, Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest regions each in its own unit. I also have a unit on Wisconsin. Thanks for any help you can give!

    This is my first year with this grade level. Since I am now comfortable with third, I am "away" from the book and now teach it by building a community, making maps, etc. I want to do this with 4th as well but don't know the material that well yet.

    Are there certain explorers I could have them do projects on? I have 11 kids in the class.

    Thanks for any help!!
     
  8. kim@kto5

    kim@kto5 Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2009

    How about an activity like a Social Studies trivia game? The students can create trivia questions and have fun and learn while they work on their questions. A large game board can be created then all of their questions (which they can prepare on index cards) can be used for the game. They can create new questions and answers on card when new material is learned for new games.
     
  9. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Sep 26, 2009

    A good project would be some type of "tour guide" for each region.
     
  10. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Sep 26, 2009

  11. blondie77

    blondie77 Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2009

    That is a good idea! Thanks!
     
  12. blondie77

    blondie77 Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2009

    Thank you!
     
  13. blondie77

    blondie77 Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2009

    Thanks! :)
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 27, 2009

    My knowledge of Wisconsin is incredibly limited, but I bet you can find something here:

    http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/subtopic.asp?tid=2

    The link there for "teachers and students" looks to have some good stuff, including a list of field trips. Even if you can't get to any of those places, I'm willing to bet that each has a website your kids could explore.
     
  15. blessedhands

    blessedhands Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2009

    Here are some approaches to try when teaching SS:

    1. Mystery (the unknown and puzzuling)

    2. Controversy (issues and values)

    3. Multiple View Points

    4. Compare and COntrast

    5. Drama/Debate

    6. Data GAthering

    Design your lessons around these. Try to connect a 'then and now' scenario where the students can relate to in order to understand the past. Also, allow them to synthesize and create their own ideas and thoughts.
     
  16. blondie77

    blondie77 Rookie

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    Sep 30, 2009

    I just had them complete a huge project like that on poster board. Maybe next year I can use your idea! Thanks!
     
  17. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Sep 30, 2009

    We're making an interactive timeline as I write this. We figured out how many marks we'd have to make for a timeline to go from 1000 to 2015, although yours would be much 'tighter'. We're using giant long pieces of wood that we painted with a white-board paint, but you could use huge sheets of paper. Then we're making stand-up figures for each person we learn about in history, as well as events. Eventually it will be full!

    Could you have students work in small groups to make timelines they could add to throughout the year? I'll post a picture when I'm done.

    Also, Beth Newingham did passports with her kids or something. Check it out!

    Go to the Teacher's Resource section and look for the region tour! http://hill.troy.k12.mi.us/staff/bnewingham/myweb3/index.htm
     
  18. Bloom

    Bloom Companion

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    Sep 30, 2009

    When I student taught for the fourth grade, I made a "jeopardy" game for them to learn the states....just make a table in word and link up questions and prepare the correct answers. The kids loved it and it was a fun way to reinforce the data! You could also have the students work on an "informercial project" where they are to market a particular state and create some exciting places to see in each state....
     
  19. dannyboy

    dannyboy Companion

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    Oct 7, 2009

    4th graders are old enough to do some basic research. Have them get into groups, one for each region, and find out as much as they can in a week. Then have them compare and contrast their regions. They get some kind of class points (for extra recess or...) for each one they come up with. Have them write to tourist bureaus, etc. to get pictures that they can make posters, collages, etc. My kids still like to make the product maps that have been around for ages.
     
  20. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Oct 8, 2009

    When in doubt... i always like to turn it into a challege...A hunt? Maybe a treasure hunt across the United States...with information found in each region leading to clues to solve a mystery?

    That can lead to a lot of creative writing, and math calculations as well.

    Sort of like... "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" mixed with "Scooby Doo Mysteries".
     
  21. awp0718

    awp0718 Rookie

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    Oct 15, 2009

    Social Studies is my FAVORITE! We use interactive notebooks - kids pretend like they are historical figures and write letters, use graphic organizers, etc. (We just had them write an advertisement for the Virginia Company explaining why they were coming to Jamestown...loved it!)

    For regions we did salt maps showing the land features....they kids loved it and really got a lot out of it.

    Use your textbook for you and get creative!!!!!!
     
  22. stargirl

    stargirl Companion

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    Nov 18, 2009

    Like some people already mentioned, a timeline is a great way to have the kids summarize/organize important facts about explorers. When I taught this, I had the students make timeline mobile---they wrote the years on a sentence strip, then attached a paper below (by punching holes and tying pieces of ribbon) which stated the explorer and what they discovered.
    I had the kids do a lot of drawing--for example, I had them make a mini-poster to illustrate the different vegetation regions of the U.S. (i.e. tundra, prairie, woodland, etc.).
     
  23. prek176

    prek176 Companion

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    Nov 20, 2009

    My kids loved playing BINGO as a review for an upcoming test. There are also video clips that you can find online to show the kids. This breaks up the class and makes it more real for them. When I did 5th grade the teacher I co-taught with was great at telling history stories. He was a great actor and used funny voices (that part wasn't me but he did liven up the learning). We also had a woman come to the school and demonstrate different activities from long ago. Another thing we did was to have a Living History Museum. The kids dressed up and played the part of a character in history. They had to do some research for this but they had great fun. They presented on a special day and family and other classes stopped in for a visit. I agree that the text book is only the stepping stone.
     

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