How to make kids love Social Studies??

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by darzie, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. darzie

    darzie Companion

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    Sep 15, 2007

    This will be my second year teaching 5th grade social studies. As hard as I tried last year, I just couldn't make it interesting. Our currciculum goes from Early Americans to the Revolutionary War. There is a ton of curriculum to cover, and we are given a text, but I'm more of a hands-on kind of person. Does anyone have any idea how to incorporate FUN into the curriculum, without it being too time consuming? I have to make sure I cover everything. UGH@ Thanks!
     
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  3. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I have eliminated most tests in lieu of projects. I have also created an interactive notebook that we build throughout the year. It is much more interesting than strictly notetaking.
     
  4. darzie

    darzie Companion

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    Can you give me an idea of some of the projects you use??
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    This is advice is stemming not from teaching experience but from my experience as a student. I remember that my favorite social studies classes were ones where the teacher could really spin a tale and make us feel like we were there. Make it personable as possible. Does it relate to us today? What was the Queen thinking? Sometimes coloring in some fun facts and rumors in these time periods can pep up an otherwise boring fact time line. Also role plays (even with just 1-2 volunteers) or other visuals are great. Can they make a product from that time period and do some research on it and have it represent the topic you want them to learn?
     
  6. worrywart

    worrywart Companion

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    Sep 15, 2007

    When we were doing the civl war and reading about the battle conditions, we all got up and 'reinacted' how close the soldiers fought on the battle field.

    Also, we had the kids use the textbooks and make up questions for a game that we played in class.

    You can also do a quick mini lesson about something and then have small groups work together and do a skit on their topic. They love this kind of stuff.

    We also did class debates on different issues in history. This was all in the 5th grade. You are lucky to be teaching this though I do prefer the civil war through WW II.

    Have fun!
     
  7. iheart5thgrade

    iheart5thgrade Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2007

    Last year I loved doing special things in Social Studies.

    1. To teach how King George taxed the colonies, I picked one student to be King George. Everyone in the class received 10 Skittles. King George taxed the class for the most random things, like having brown hair, wearing tennis shoes, having a birthday in the summer, etc, etc. The kids got SOOOO MAD. It definitely proved my point that the colonists were fed up with King George's crazy taxation.

    2. Do a lot of skits. They really enjoy that.

    3. To illustrate how hard it was for the Mayflower passengers to get to the New World, we all crammed into my cloakroom. I had a few students who were told to cry incessantly like babies. I told a few students to talk loudly all the time. We swayed like the wind was blowing the boat. It was so crammed, tight, and loud that they got a new appreciation for how the Mayflower passengers rode for a very long time to the New World.

    4. We learned the song "Shot Heard Round the World" from Schoolhouse Rock. It talks about everything from the Revolutionary War and I could hear the kids singing the lyrics under their breath during our Revolutionary War Test!

    I hope a few of these ideas can help you. I loved teaching Social Studies last year.
     
  8. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Sep 15, 2007

    Great ideas!!! When I did my field work before becoming a teacher, we had to take a class on how to teach social studies. In this class, we had to work in a 5th/6th grade class. We learned the following things:
    do skits
    have kids work in groups and create posters on a topic then teach it to the class
    I can't remember the name, something about Puzzle, but it's where the kids in a group read a certain section in a chapter. They become experts and make notes. Then, we regroup them so that all students form a new group and teach each other in that new group about the topic they learned. And the reason that it's called Puzzle something is because you give them a piece of puzzle when they are in their experts group. It doesn't match any of the other kids puzzle, but when you regroup them into their teaching group, the puzzles match up. The pictures in the puzzle has to do something about the Social studies topic.
     
  9. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Sep 16, 2007

    sounds like Jigsaw, but with manipulatives ;)

    Seriously, the best way to get your kids excited about any subject is for you to be excited. If you are interested and passionate about the standards you teach - they will be too. I can tell from your post that you're not excited about your textbook - use other readings! Use children's magazines like Cobblestone (that's the american history version of Calliope) or readings from Hakim's A History of Us. There are many more sources out there - it takes time, and you won't be able to do it all in one year without burning yourself out, so pick one topic a unit, or pick one unit a semester, or something gradula like that.

    Do you have access to United Streaming? There are some wonderful video resources there, and the lovely thing is they have already divided them into short segments.

    I understand the pressure to "cover". My standards encompass some six thousand years of world history. But I won't sacrifice understanding and enjoyment. Look at your standards -see what you can "group". One activity (project) can sometimes cover many standards and the more you can group, the more time you buy yourself for depth.

    Have a great year!
     
  10. darzie

    darzie Companion

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    Sep 16, 2007

    These are all awesome ideas. I feel inspired! I will definitely be looking into some of the sites that were recommended, and my kids will be doing a lot or role-playing! Thanks!
     
  11. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Sep 16, 2007

    SOCIAL STUDIES.
    http://www.poofcat.com/july.html Pledge by Red Skelton http://www.lilesnet.com/patriotic/Hero/skeltons_pledge.htm

    Revolutionary war!! a whole bunch of activities and a test and study guide.
    http://www.mandygregory.com/SocialStudiesActivities.htm#The Revolutionary War

    Latitude Rhymes with "Fatitude" and people grow fat from side to side or east to west just like the Latitude lines. Longitude runs from North to South.
    www.studiesweekly.com Social Studies. www.studiesweekly.com Social Studies.
    Social Studies www.thesocialstudiescompany.com. They sell lesson booklets based for grades 5-6 with lots of fun activities. There are programs on American history and world history. They also have entire programs on other regions like Latin America

    A fast way to learn the fifty states is to sing the fifty states song everyday for two or three weeks. There is a web site that has the lyrics and the tune. It really works. Good luck
    http://www.teridanielsbooks.com/FeetAcross.htm
    Post a picture of "Person of the week" someone from history, current events, politics, etc.. and give some clues about that person. Students name the person and write a couple sentences about the person, or what their significance is.
    ****And Scholastic's books of history plays are pretty good, too. I did a Columbus play and one about the White House when the British burned it.

    http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/archives/state.shtml they have a mystery state activity. For each state there are 5 clues and the kids research and try to guess the state. Last year I gave one clue a day and the kids tried to guess the state before they got all 5 clues.
    Social Studies www.thesocialstudiescompany.com. They sell lesson booklets based for Grades 5-6 with lots of fun activities. There are programs on American history and world history. They also have entire programs on other regions like Latin America
    Row, row, row your boat
    Gently through the oceans
    Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic
    Oceans are so deep!

    I think the Southern ocean has been added, so I guess you would have to adapt it.
    Social Study web sites.
    http://www.emints.org/ethemes/resources/S00000272.shtml

    http://www.cloudnet.com/~edrbsass/edhist.htm#revwar

    http://www.mandygregory.com/SocialSt...ionary War
    Save A Turkey
    ________________, my name is _______________________.
    (Hello, Hi, Howdy) (choose a name for your turkey)

    I am a/an ________________ turkey! Why? Thanksgiving is only
    (worried, anxious, upset, uneasy,
    frustrated, fearful, scared)

    _________ days away! This year, would you mind eating _______
    (food)
    for your thanksgiving meal? Or, how about eating ____________
    (food)
    or _________________? I am sure you would _____________
    (food) (enjoy, love, appreciate)
    it more than eating me for your dinner. I taste like __________
    (something you don’t like)
    and _______________! __________!!!! So please, do not eat me
    (something you don’t like) (Yuck, Gross, Sick)
    for Thanksgiving!
    By _______________________
    Here's a terrific powerpoint on The First Thanksgiving~ It is super. It is a huge file and will take along time to load http://www.wjcc.k12.va.us/djm/vste/page6.html
    Be sure and turn on the volume. There is quiz that follows the show.

    Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast
    Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl
    Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times
    Samuel Eaton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy

    all by Kate Waters

    Mayflower 1620 : A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage
    by Catherine O'Neill Grace

    I also recommend presenting the Plimoth Plantation's website to your class. My students loved it last year and there are a lot of interactive parts to the website.

    You can find it here:

    http://www.plimoth.org/
     
  12. darzie

    darzie Companion

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    Sep 16, 2007

    WOW!!!! You're awesome! Thanks!
     
  13. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Sep 16, 2007

    My eighth grade history teacher was the best teacher to have ever graced Earth. Okay, I'm being dramatic, but this is what I thought at the time.

    He'd go to historic places and make videos to show the class. He also knew how to spin a tale and make us feel like we were there, as someone pointed out.

    My aunt Shari is also a history teacher and she does creative projects (don't completely know what), debates, and role playing. She lets her high school classes work in cooperative groups quite a bit.

    I... admiring aunt Shari and remembering my eighth grade history teacher... incorporate comics from Scholastic (the one on the Revolutionary War is outstanding), do Reader's Theater/role playing, have the students build things (like wigwams with Timucuan Indians), have them sketch things (like a colonial town in respect of St. Augustine), and put together all kinds of PowerPoints to "travel" with the class (I don't have videos like my eighth grade history teacher). I don't test that much, but I make my own tests because I love including creative components.
     
  14. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Now remember these aren't my ideas. They are ideas collected here and there, that I think make SS a fun and special class
     
  15. darzie

    darzie Companion

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    Sep 16, 2007

    That's what I'm looking for!!
     
  16. matchstickgirl

    matchstickgirl Companion

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    Sep 17, 2007

    Last year, the textbook we had for social studies was really boring too. So one thing I did to make it more interesting was to draw a lot of pictures about the section we were reading. When we were doing the Revolutionary War, I had drawn some of the famous people and labeled important places on the board. I then retold the text through the pictures, and made it a little funny so the kids paid a lot of attention. After I had told it I asked some questions using the pictures like who is Paul Revere, what did he do, and the kids all knew!
     
  17. darzie

    darzie Companion

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    Oct 12, 2007

    Ha. Well, I've implemented some of these ideas, and many of the kids are saying that Social Studies is their favorite subject! Quite a switch from last year! Keep those ideas coming! Thanks!
     
  18. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    I agree with spinning tales. I use tons of DRAMA to teach Social Studies. The kids love it. I incorporate their name with a historical figure, such as King George Marcus-and funny enough, the kids remember this during the test!! I catch them looking at that person to recall the facts! Also, Scholastic has a book of wonderful Reader's Theatre stories about US history that my class can't get enough of!! Projects are awesome too. History is so much fun to teach, when you simply remember-how would you like it taught to you?
     
  19. darzie

    darzie Companion

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    Of course, of course, I know that I like to teach the way I prefer to learn. I've been teaching for thirty years. I'm a very hands-on type teacher, but I'm new to teaching Social Studies, since I've been on a team where I haven't had to teach it. My passion is language arts, so I've been attempting to find ways to make Social Studies as interesting as I make every other subject. We are required to teach from our text, and since I like teaching outside the box, I was hoping for some ideas, and I got many. For that I am grateful. I didn't want to give you the impression that I'm an inexperienced doofus. Thanks, though.
     
  20. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    Oct 20, 2007

  21. antique teacher

    antique teacher New Member

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    Oct 21, 2007

    They love studying The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island.
    I even went so far as to carve the "CRO" into a log as
    a hook for the lesson. They work in groups to try to solve the mystery of where did the 115 colonists disappear?
     
  22. TXTCHR29

    TXTCHR29 Cohort

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    Oct 21, 2007

    Wow!! Is that for the first nine weeks, or the whole year??? I have 4 weeks to study the Colonies and 3 weeks to study the Revolutionary War...(with no designated time available for Social Studies throughout the day!)
     
  23. antique teacher

    antique teacher New Member

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    Oct 22, 2007

    We are taking about 3 weeks on Roanoke.
    Ditto our district about social studies being squeezed out of the curriculum. Social studies is my favorite subject, however, so I squeeze it in/intergrate.
    Another teacher mentioned drama and I use that a lot!
    i.e. last year did one called "who wants to be a colonist?" a game show format.
    If you have to use the text, do a college bowl/jeopardy or game show after reading. My kids can tolerate the book that way.
    I'd be happy to mail you a copy of plays if you want to send me your school address.
    Barb
     
  24. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Oct 25, 2007

    Sorry, I never meant to imply that you were an inexperienced doofus. (and I may add that I learn quite a bit from those too!) My passion is also the language arts, and I find Social Studies goes hand and hand with language arts. I had my students sit in a marked off square on the floor for an entire period, with a friend in a the square with them, while I taught the lesson on how the Pilgrims came to America. The students then had to write a journal entry on how they felt in this limited space. We discussed how little space there was on the Mayflower, hence the reason so many did not survive the trip.
    Have fun making Social Studies interesting!!
     
  25. darzie

    darzie Companion

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    Oct 25, 2007

    Hi TXCHR, We basically have the entire year to teach Ancient Civilizations and theories (Land Bridge, Origin Stories, etc.), Early Americans, Colonies, Revolutionary War, Economics (mixed in with the above).
     
  26. teach24iam

    teach24iam Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2007

    One thing I did with my 4th grade student teaching (it was on the Battle of Gettysburg) but will still work... Each member of the class was given a partner. Then each group was assigned a topic about the war to research, either a famous person, a specific battle, the weather, weaponery, things like this.. They then had to turn their research into a news article, and we created a "Battle of Gettysburg Gazzette".. We essentially re-created was going on in a newspaper! The kids loved it and it took several classes to do. It incorporates tons of skills, and they get an end result in it. It was great concept, and got me an A!!! This would work for almost any Soc. Studies topic for the older grades. Interactive, team work, and definitely not a lecture. We also created a HUGE jeopardy game based on "Pennsylvania" to review before the end of the unit test..It was great..
     
  27. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Oct 25, 2007

    I do something similar but for an overview of the Civil War. Interviews with famous figures, major battles, nurses, home front efforts, new weapons and ships, etc. It does take a lot of work, but it's worth it.
     
  28. darzie

    darzie Companion

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    Oct 26, 2007

    Do you have specific lesson plans or sites for information for that colony?
     

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