January 21, 2013

Social Studies Anyone?

At my school, there is a huge push for social studies. At times, I wish my reader's and writer's workshops weren't so content driven. Other times, I'm amazed at the work my students do through the content.

Currently, in social studies and reading, I'm covering the changes that took place in the colonies right before the American Revolution. In writing, we're in the beginning phases of persuasive writing. I have one period a week to teach straight social studies (the other texts and lessons are through reader's workshop)--meaning I don't have to take conference notes (...yet!!) and I can work on projects with the students. :)

My school uses has a textbook to teach social studies (though we're not really allowed to teach out of the book--here's where the projects come in :) In the textbook, my next lesson was on Influential Colonists.

I looked through my library and what did I find...
a perfect fit for the textbook!!

There were 6 people I wanted to cover (which was only the first few pages of the book--another bonus!!) I needed an organizer for it, so I used a flippable from 4mulaFun!
This is the 6 flap petal from Jennifer's  Flippable Template Pack. (This is just one of 51 different templates--definitely check it out if you do a lot of flippables in your room!)

I read a little bit in the book, stopped and had the students think about the most important ideas we were learning about the person, then we jotted the notes in the organizer. There was a lot of discussion about each person and more content knowledge was gained through this focused conversation!

To link this project with our new unit of study, I had the students answer this prompt:
They drafted in their notebooks and I had them publish. Here are some student examples ( I have to say that the majority of my class chose John Peter Zenger!)


Here is how I planned for this:

How do you make social studies fun? Do you create projects or are you limited to the textbook? I'd love to know about it :)


  1. Hi Jen! I'm very excited about the flippables! thank you for sharing the resource!

    Teaching With Moxie

  2. This is a great idea. I used social studies journals where the students would reflect on what they learned that day and when they finished their writing, they could illustrate. The illustrations had to include things like labels, captions, maps, etc. Your flippables would be an excellent addition to this. Thanks for sharing!
    Antoinette :)

  3. This looks great!

    PS: your blog layout is perfect-- so organized and clean! :)

    I'm your newest follower!