No Science or SS block

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by meeko32198, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. meeko32198

    meeko32198 Rookie

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    Aug 21, 2010

    Yesterday all grade level teams at my school were told that at our school they don't want us to have dedicated blocks of time for science and social studies. Instead they want it integrated into math and reading and those two subjects should be the only ones posted on our schedules. Has anyone else ever dealt with this?
     
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  3. pxydst07

    pxydst07 Comrade

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    Wow! You can't have a set block for it. I know Science and Social Studies are always getting pushed off to the side. SS is pushed off more than anything. I usually do two weeks of Science and two weeks of SS. It's not ideal, but at least I'm getting the ideas and concepts in. I am also planning on integrating some Science into our guided reading. I teach fourth grade and of course we are tested in Science on the ISAT.

    Do you have resources to incorporate the two subjects into guided reading? I suppose if the materials are there, this wouldn't be an issue. But it always seems that we are told to do something and aren't given the proper resources.

    Reading A to Z has a Science portion that looks pretty good. But of course, this is not free. Perhaps you can get a handful of teachers together to pay for the subscription and share the resources.

    In the past, I would get a subscription to one site and then a fellow teacher would get one to another site and then we share the resources. That has worked out pretty well. But for the more expensive ones, I would say you'll need a few people to go in on it.

    Good luck! I wish I could be more help to you.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    meeko, my sympathies. This is incredibly shortsighted.
     
  5. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I'm sorry to hear this, both science and social studies are important subjects that should have their own allotted time. At least in PA I know science is safe because it's one of the subjects tested as part of our state tests.

    My main thought would be to tie social studies into reading. I would think the science part is harder, but again, tie it into reading. Maybe dedicate a part of your language arts block each day as either science or social studies focused. Good luck to you.

    It's such a shame to see a district not value science. How is the US supposed to compete internationally if more and more schools drop science from their programs? Urgh!
     
  6. meeko32198

    meeko32198 Rookie

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    Unfortunately we also get tested in Science here in AZ in 4th and 5th grades...so I'm not sure how this is going to work...
     
  7. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    That's how it was when I taught in a big urban district. If we had art or PE that day, we lost science and social studies. Now, their state tests in science, so I bet they teach it. I just tried to teach as much of it as possible and made sure to bring in as much into reading as I could (though the city had a set pacing guide that we had to follow, which made it even more difficult).
     
  8. CiniMini

    CiniMini Rookie

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    When I was in first grade we taught all our science and social studies integrated in reading, but it was because we spent SO much time teaching reading. I can't imagine doing that in 5th grade! In lower elem (K-2) kids learn to read. They should read to learn the rest of their academic career--about science, social studies, etc.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Do you teach graphing, data collection, and statistics (mean, median, mode) in math? You could tie many science units into math, they relate anyways. Social studies works well when tied to language arts.

    Do you know what concepts were taught in ss and sci in the past? I would ask both my school librarian and public librarian to pull books on each content topic, so that you could use them during reading-focusing on nonfiction reading and writing!
     
  10. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Wow! Then I am even more baffled as to why it has been taken out. So much for my theory that as long as it's part of the state tests it's "safe."
     
  11. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I heard about a middle school in Chicago that was eliminating their Social Studies block and another school was using one block to teach both science and social studies.

    For what I've heard, some schools are adding a writing block so Social Studies and Science are being cut in time. The new school where I'm going is adding a writing block and cutting Social studies short.
     
  12. mrsburf

    mrsburf Rookie

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    I'm in AZ too and my school has no SS/Sci block either. We have to do our best to teach it in Reading. Lame...since we test them on it later. Setting them up to fail I feel.
     
  13. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    It's not just Arizona if it makes you feel any better. Our schedule that we were given this year does not include Science/Social Studies but does include Health. (I have asked the logic behind that but unfortunately haven't found anyone with an answer due to the fact that we test Science AND Social Studies in 3rd grade for the first time but DO NOT test Health) I have taken my power writing block - divided it into two parts (one for writing and one for grammar since Grammar received no time either and everything can't be covered during the Reading block). I also use the time 25 minutes between the end of the Writing/Grammar block and lunch to help cover some of the Science/Social Studies block. It's supposed to be our recess time every other week (we are on an a/b outside recess schedule because we have so many classes) but I have to teach Science/Social Studies some time and that is the only time that I have. So my students haven't had outside recess yet and should have had it all last week.
     
  14. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    I cannot believe that!! We have a block (35 minutes) that SS and Sc have to share. We can do couple days a week of each or alternate by weeks.
     
  15. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I gotta say that I'm thankful to have about 40 minutes each for science and social studies every day. It means we have less language arts time every day than in other places, but I think it's easier to put language arts into the content areas than teach the content areas well during language arts. Does that make sense?
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    :banghead:

    WHEN will they learn? They keep doing the same thing over and over. First, they cut the amount of time, saying "we'll supplement through the extra reading time." Reading scores went down. Then, they decided to to cut one of the science/ss blocks entirely, making the two subjects share a slot. Reading scores went down. Now they're cutting it entirely. Raise your hand if you think reading scores will go down again....
     
  17. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    This is when I shut my door and break out the science experiments. Write me up for wanting my students to succeed.
     
  18. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Incredible,even more so if you are tested in either of these two subjects.You can use many good novels to support a social studies program if you are dealing with history. Hands on science are things that most fifth grade students enjoy. I am baffled why it is being eliminated completely.
     
  19. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    The thinking is 100% backwards. Instead of allotting more time to reading, we should allot more time to Science and Social Studies. The kids have to READ in those subjects. Children must be doers before they can be readers. With out an experiential background, the words they read mean nothing, and true comprehension never happens.

    Here's an interesting story on that topic. As most of you know, I moved to North Dakota after living my whole life in South Florida. My kids had never experienced winter or seen snow outside of pictures and videos. So, these Miami natives see snow for the first time in their lives. I forget exactly what they said, but one in particular said something to the effect of snow not being anything like he had imagined it would be. Another time, when we were reading a book we had read many times before, one of them stopped me and said, "Oh, NOW I understand!". Because he was only 8, and had never seen snow in his life, that scene in the book didn't really make sense to him. As much as they had read about snow and as many pictures of snow they had seen, they had no real comprehension of what snow was.


    By eliminating science and social studies, we are creating a generation of kids who, with every topic, are just like my kids and snow. They can read about it, but they don't really "get" it, until the do it. We've taken that away from them, and that is just about the saddest thing that's ever happened to American education.
     
  20. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    In CA, students are tested in science in 5th and 8th grades, but the tests don't mean anything. Only the English and math tests count. The school is not penalized in any way if every single student scores far below basic in science, so many schools do not teach science in elementary school. Often, only the gifted students get any science. The EL students definitely do not get science. This means that I get students in my 7th grade science class who think that rocks are alive and who confuse microscopes and telescopes.
     
  21. meeko32198

    meeko32198 Rookie

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    I agree with everyone of your comments. I'm baffled at how I'm supposed to teach science and s.s. by just reading or writing about it. I could do math charts and collect data, but the majority of the subject matter in my grade level needs to be hands on inquiry learning to truly understand it. It is sad because these are two of my favorite subjects and I feel like I am doing a disservice to my students by not teaching them in a way that I find engaging.
     
  22. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    This happened to me last year. 5th graders were tested in Science at the end of the year (I was 5th then.) Absolutely setting up kids for failure.
     
  23. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I'm now in my second school where I haven't seen SS and science. In the school's defense, it is only the third week of school on Monday. However, I feel like we should have done at least ONE period of either by now. I keep being told we "never get to those subjects." :( We spend the whole morning on language arts, and the afternoon on math. We also have a special in the afternoon. It's a real shame.
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Skills are vital... but, as often as not, it's the content that gets kids to buy into the skills.
     
  25. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    More negative effects of high-stakes testing.
    You can integrate all you want, but that is not an effective substitute for the actual subjects themselves.

    :cool::clap:
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    To be precise, more negative effects of high-stakes-testing hysteria.
     
  27. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    It's all a ripple effect to me. The hysteria is just one of the many ripple effects from the tests.
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Tests don't make knee-jerk decisions about curriculum, last time I checked.
     
  29. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This makes me so sad. We must have dedicated time in our weekly schedules--in all of the grades up to high school--for science, social studies, visual arts, music, drama, health, and phys ed.
     
  30. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    And then when they don't have SS or science in elementary, we see the effects in middle school. The whole thing is ridiculous.

    I'd work them into reading, alright. They'd be reading books on historical figures, important times in history, and important discoveries in science.

    I'd just like to note the one thing I remember BEST from elementary school? A science experiment. The egg-drop-from-the-top-of-a-ladder. (Mine broke :()
     
  31. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    mmswm,

    Very valid point because last year we had minimal time (lucky to have 20 minutes a day) to teach science/social studies and our test scores were horrible. I can only imagine what they are going to be this year when we have basically NO time for the subjects.
    I protested for being able to use the "health" block for science/social studies but that was nixed because even though the health isn't tested and doesn't show up on the report card until the last 9 weeks grading period we have to teach it every 5 days.
    Oh well, I will do what I can but I can't see very many experiments happening in a 15-20 minute block.
     
  32. goingtogigi

    goingtogigi Rookie

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    Our school has a combined science/ss block for the last 20 minutes of the day (right up to the bell). I guess, we only have 10 minutes to teach science/ss. What exactly can you get done in 10 minutes? I integrate as much as humanly possible. :)
     

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