Struggling with teaching SS

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by MissaG, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. MissaG

    MissaG Companion

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    Nov 20, 2006

    I teach 5th and 6th grade Lang Arts and SS (separately) and am having a very hard time with my 5th graders in SS. They are a difficult class to begin with...very lazy in all aspects, very talkative, hard to work with in cooperative groups, etc...

    I had started planning some really great lessons for Social Studies early on. We were going to the computer lab, doing interactive lessons on the internet, etc...

    They were getting nothing out of the lessons because they were not reading the information.

    So I have now resorted to using the text book and reading it together in class because unless I hold their hand through each section, they will never take anything away from it (and still probably half of them don't). But I am struggling with it because I know they are bored, I know that many don't pay attention, and I just don't know how to present the material better.

    Any advice will help! The curriculum is U.S. History and we are currently working on Early Explorers and European settlement in the colonies.
     
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  3. abby1966

    abby1966 Rookie

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    Nov 20, 2006

    I know exactly what you are talking about - I also teach 5th grade and they love to talk. I can't get them to be quite. What I've done is planned some group activities in which they only work with one other partner and I choose the partner that they will be working with on this activity or project. IOf course, pairing them with someone that I know is responsible and want talk but work. This has actually seemed to help and they enjoy the activities or assignments.
     
  4. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Nov 20, 2006

    I just had my 5th graders work with partners to complete projects about an explorer. They had to do all the work in class and anything not finished effected their grade. They had to find the year(s) of travel, sponsoring country, purpose for exploration, present day area of the world explored, and claim to fame. They also had to draw the explorer's route on a map and label it with beginning and ending points. Everything had to be mounted on poster board and the visual aide decorated. A short presentation was given by each group (1-2min.) to the class. If they wanted to add pictures they could. I supplied them with books from the library and gave them a few helpful websites. They loved it.

    I also have them take notes on a regular basis. I do this in class on the overhead and they copy the notes into their notebooks. I take a grade on the notebooks, so this keeps them focused in class. I spice things up by using different graphic organizers, write a question or two and have them skim for answers, make flip booklets, etc. The variation keeps them reletively involved.

    IF you can tell them interesting facts that the book doesn't provide. For example, Columbus never set out to proove the world was round. Most people already knew that. They had globes back then, they just weren't accurate because they were missing NOrth and South America. Good luck!

    BTW I have taught US history for about 5 years and love it. If you need more ideas let me know.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Nov 24, 2006

    One approach that can work well is to help students see analogues to history in their own experience. The settlement period, for example, has in it elements of behavior on the playground ("Whose sandbox is this, anyway?"), and the road to independence looks a whole lot like the dynamics between parents and adolescent children.
     
  6. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Nov 24, 2006

    I use this one frequntly. I also compare the Civil War and the period leading up to as a case of sibling rivalry.
     
  7. Heart2Heart

    Heart2Heart Rookie

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    Nov 24, 2006

    Some other things that might be fun to do is to have the class do a slide show from power point covering certain aspects of the lesson. Put the students into groups for the assignment.

    Present the class with "What If's" Come up with some clever statements that will catch their interest that relate to the lesson and today's world and have them respond to it.
    Example: What if you lived during that time and had no means of transporation and limited tools what would you have done?
     
  8. Ms. K

    Ms. K Rookie

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    Nov 29, 2006

    I don't know if this will help or not, but I pull out the vocabulary and "check questions" from each lesson and make them into a study guide. We usually read each lesson together and I get excited when we come to a vocab word or check question. The students can work on the study guide while we are reading and we do the check questions together. I was surprised how much fun they have while we are doing it and they are actually learning the material! I also try to review alot, which seems to help.
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Nov 29, 2006

    I also use words from my SS unit for their weekly vocab. In fact, this week, a few of the 'vocab' words are actually the names of explorers. The reinforcement will just help them to remember them.
     
  10. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Nov 29, 2006

    I play concentration with vocab words. Write each word on two cards and put them in a pocket chart. Divide the class into teams. When a team player comes up they turn over a card and then have to define the word before they look for the match. They can phone a friend for help with the definition.
     
  11. aprilgurlie

    aprilgurlie Rookie

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    Nov 29, 2006

    Two guided reading strategies saved my butt last year-Rivet and Check Y or N.

    Rivet is for Vocab. Let's say the word was "revolution" I would put __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ on the board and then start filling in the blanks one by one. The kids blurt out guesses as I add letters. When someone guesses it I fill the rest of the letters in and then we write the definition.

    Kids LOVE it because they get to blurt out! They also want to get the definition written so they can go on to the next one.

    I used Check Y or N when I wanted the kids to retain knowledge from a passage that they read. It can be done independendly or in pairs.

    I write 5-10 statements, some true, some false. The statements are related to the important info in the text that they are reading.

    Before they read, they guess whether each statement is true or false in a blank to the left of the statement. (this also gives them a preview of what they are about to read)

    As they read, they write whether the statement WAS T or F in a 2nd blank to the right of the statement. If it is false, they need to change it to be true.

    The kids like it because they get to guess and like to see how many they got right. I like it because I could bring attention to the important parts of the text.
     
  12. kburen

    kburen Cohort

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    Nov 30, 2006

    Those of you who get to teach interesting stuff are lucky!!! It may be difficult to get their attention but it's much easier when you have some "action" to teach! I also teach 5th grade....We're almost half way into our second 9 weeks. So far....My Social Studies lessons have included.....Map review (for 9 weeks), important bodies of water.....and next week we get to move on to the regions of the US.....Yay......
     
  13. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

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    Dec 4, 2006

    We do a 50States project in our our 5th grade SS classes, each child is assigned a state, can work independently or with a partner. The assignment is broken down into parts, with about 3 or 4 weeks given to complete each section, in which time they complete their basic research. This culminates in an activity in which they publish a state booklet about their state, complete a large cardboard cutout of their state that is put together with all others on the floor in the gym, during our 50 States Bonanza at the end of the year.

    At this age also Skits and Plays about the various times in this part of history, such as the Revolutionary War and Boston Tea Party are usually well received by the group.
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Dec 4, 2006

    I like using Social Studies Weekly instead of our textbook. Each week's issue is concise and it helps keep the kids' attention. There is always a map or graphing activity and a crossword puzzle in each issue, too.
     

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