Primary Chalkboard: social studies
Showing posts with label social studies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social studies. Show all posts

Content Integration and Close Reads

Hey y'all! I hope everyone has gotten off to a fab new school year. I have been in school for about 2 months already. But I can't complain because tomorrow starts my first fall break ever! A whole week off after 7 weeks of school. I really hope our calendar for next year keeps this break because kids and adults definitely needed it!

Today I wanted to do a throw back post to one of my own more popular posts about integrating Close Reads and Social Studies. I know there isn't enough time in the day to really set aside time to teach all subjects the way they should be taught, so I decided to pull my literacy standards into my Social Studies time....or my Social Studies standards into my literacy time.....either way works! I hope you are able to snag a few tips from my post that you can read by clicking {here}. Now that I am only teaching middle grades social studies, I find myself pulling in literacy standards left and right. It not only helps reinforce important reading and writing skills, but it also helps out my fellow literacy teachers.

And because it's getting to be my favorite time of year, I just have to say, "Happy Fall, Y'all!"

Heather- 2 Brainy Apples
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Labor Day Ideas for the Classroom

Sometimes, Labor Day gets skipped over during the month of September because of how busy curriculum starts off. If there is any freedom in your curriculum, it's a great holiday to incorporate. Reading, social studies, speaking and listening, and more! 

1. Host a Career Day
-Invite parents or other student family members to come into your classroom to chat about their jobs. One year, my grade level invited six people to come and the classes rotated through each room. The six helpers talked for about 10 minutes, then did a little activity for their career with each class. 
Here is a great article from eHow on hosting an elementary Career Day.
Check out these darling decorations for Career Day from KC School Counselor Chic.

2. Teach a Community Helpers Unit
-Community Helper and Labor Day go hand in hand. This is when I have always taught my community helper units. I tried to make the unit cross-curricular, so we incorporated them in our math, in our reading centers, and into our content lessons.
 Check out these two activities for community helpers from Life in First Grade and Primary Punch 
 Writing, math, interactive activities, and more in this unit!

3. Back to Basics: Reading and Social Studies
-If you only have one or two days to teach Labor Day and can't afford to give up the week to do community helpers unit, teach the nonfiction meaning behind Labor Day. 
 (Source: No Time for Flash Cards)
 These two paired texts are part of my Paired Passages sets!

4. Make It Crafty
-Kids love arts and crafts! As long as you're making the craft meaningful, it'll work great in your Labor Day unit!
(Source: Crayola)
(Source: Easy Breezy
(Source: JAM Blog)

Thanks for reading! 
Brought to you by Jessica for Primary Chalkboard!

What We're Chalking About September: A Visual Calendar

Hi all, Happy September!  What the what? September, oh my... How did that happen? 

It's Emma from Clever Classroom bringing you another, ''What We're Chalking About" post that covers what our multi-talented, cyber writers are posting about this month, via a visual calendar.

What We're Chalking About September: A Visual Calendar of blog posts from the authors at Primary Chalkboard

As you can see, our visual calendar aims to help you preview who and what is being posted.  

We have content for both primary and intermediate students, and topics that cover science, social studies, literacy, math, routines, planning and themes. 

This month, we are also featuring a few flash back posts, which we have aptly named, "Way Back Wednesday".
What We're Chalking About September: A Visual Calendar of blog posts from the authors at Primary Chalkboard

If you would like to receive notifications from us this month, click here to follow our blog. 

Here's what we have planned for you this month. 

1  Jessica from Second Grade Nest - Labor Day

2  Way Back Wednesday

3  Haley from My Silly Firsties - Morning Messages

4  Vicky from Teaching and Munch Moore - Poems in Primary Classrooms

5  Matt from Digital Divide and Conquer - MVP Partner Management

6  Autumn from The Primary Techie - Remembering 9/11

7  Karen from Mrs. Jone's Class - Interactive Notebooks

8  Nicole from Mrs. Rios Teaches - Back to School Night

9  Way Back Wednesday

10  Valerie from All Students can Shine - Primary Ideas

11  Naomi from Read Like a Rockstar - Class Newsletters

12  Sarah from Sarah's First Grade Snippets - Parent Involvement 

13  Anna from Simply Skilled in 2nd - Constitution Day

14  Emma from Clever Classroom - Social Skills and Classroom Expectations

15  Terry from Terry's Teaching Tidbits - Senses

16   Way Back Wednesday   

17  Katie from Teacher to the Core - Bats on the Brain

18  Laura from Peace Love and First Grade - Easy Ideas for Fundraising

19  Jennifer from Teaching to Inspire - 3-5 Ideas

20  Meg from The Teacher Studio - Accountable Talk

21  Ariane from The Science Penguin - The 5E Model Engage

22  Alyssha from Teaching and Tapas - Primary Ideas

23  Way Back Wednesday

24  Latoya from Flying into First Grade - Math Talks

25  Lisa from Growing Firsties - Student Goal Setting

26  Corinna from Surfin' Through Second - Math Games

27  Cyndie from Chalk One up for the Teacher - What's for Lunch?

28  Heather from 2 Brainy Apples - Social Studies

29  John from An Educators Life - Positive Culture

30 October's What We're Chalking About: October - Visual Calendar

What We're Chalking About September: A Visual Calendar of blog posts from the authors at Primary Chalkboard

To remember this post, you might like to pin it.  That way, you can come back to see the posts throughout the month. 

On the last day of each month, we will post this visual calendar for you to see what we have planned. 

If you have any suggestions that you would like us to write about, please comment below. 

Click here to see our posts from July

Click here to see our posts from August

Thanks so much for dropping by. 

Engaging Strategies for Integrating Reading in Social Studies

Hi everyone! I am so excited today is my blogging day at Primary Chalkboard! I am Heather from 2 Brainy Apples, and I am so excited to be teaching middle grades social studies this year! There is a LOT of content in our 6th grade SS curriculum. Lots of facts, lots of geography, lots of everything! And being an ex-elementary teacher, I believe that integration of reading into social studies is a non-negotiable. But reading passage after passage can get downright BORING. Even if the content is interesting, my students are sitting through 7 55-minute classes a day. If they are with me first thing in the morning, they may not mind sitting and reading....but, if they are with me at the end of the day, this is the last thing they want to do. And I totally understand how they feel. How do we feel after an all day professional development or meeting where we sit most of the time? I am ready for a nap! Or I am so focused on how much my bum hurts, I don't pay much attention. Knowing that reading is necessary, I decided to mix things up a little bit for my kiddos to keep them engaged and attentive to what they are reading, as well as having them look forward to reading about social studies content.

Engaging Reading Strategies for Social Studies- 2 Brainy Apples Primary Chalkboard
Photo courtesy of umjanedoan CC license

I like to write my own passages for the social studies content I have to teach. It allows me to make sure I include everything my students should know, I can leave out unneeded info, and I can add in fun facts that they may not have to learn, but it sure does make reading it a whole lot more fun! Even though I write the passages, I do get that my students may not be as excited about reading them as I would like. We do a lot of close reading, too, and this can be exhausting on their minds! I am on the team that doesn't believe in making my students close read everything I put in front of them. OVERLOAD. Some days my students might close read a paragraph. Other days they may close read half of the passage. Some days they will close read all of the passage. The goal is to get students to close read all on their OWN, without me having to tell them to do it. Easing them into, not forcing it will help them see how much close reading does help them understand the text, which will result in students choosing to close read the entire text without prompting be me. Lofty goal? Yes. Totally realistic? Absolutely! Has this happened in the past? Yep! 

Movement Reading
One way I bring novelty into reading is by taking the passage my students need to read and cutting apart the paragraph. Then I hang each paragraph in a different place in our hallway for them to find.
They are still reading the passage, completing the activities that go along with it, but they are moving about the hallway. There's something about just being up and moving, reading one paragraph at a time that really engages them! I do this with passages that have paragraphs that don't need to be read in chronological order. Otherwise it would be very difficult for the students to glean the meaning from the text. One passage I did this with was the passage I wrote about air pollution in the United Kingdom (one of our standards addresses environmental issues). I wrote the passage with 4 headings: overview of air pollution, sources of air pollution, effects of air pollution, what the UK is trying to do to solve the issue of air pollution. There ended up being 3 paragraphs about the effects, 2 paragraphs about the solutions, 1 paragraph about the sources, 1 paragraph about what air pollution is, and a conclusion paragraph. Students did not need to read the paragraphs in order to be able to complete the activity pages I gave to them because it was not a chronological text structure. Students were free to wander the hallway looking for each paragraph that would help them complete the activity pages. I gave students activity pages because I wanted them to be accountable for what they were reading. One activity page was about how smog is formed, one activity page was about the solutions the UK is implementing, and they had to create a foldable with the sources and effects of air pollution. My students were totally engaged the entire 55 minutes because they were able to move at their own pace. They read in chunks, moved, read some more, completed an activity page, moved again, etc. The movement really helped my kiddos I teach at the very end of the day keep from being bored and kept them focused.

Jigsaw Reading
Another strategy I use is the jigsaw method to integrate reading. The next passage I had my students read was about the acid rain issue in Germany. Instead of having my students read the entire passage, I broke them into 8 learning groups because I had 8 paragraphs (each group had about 3-4 students).
Again, because the paragraphs did not need to be read in chronological order, I did not have to worry about students reading a paragraph out of order. If the text structure was chronological, I would have had my students read more than just 1 paragraph of the text in their learning groups to prevent confusion. The headings of the passage were similar to the air pollution passage: what is acid rain, sources of acid rain, effects of acid rain, and solutions Germany is implementing to decrease acid rain. Each learning group had the same paragraph to close read. After they read their paragraph, they then discussed the ideas presented and took notes to ensure they were experts on their information. Once they were comfortable with the information they read, I reassigned them into expert groups. I took one student from each learning group to make 3 or 4 8-person groups, depending on how many students I had in my class for that particular period. Yes, these groups were larger than the first grouping, and sometimes having a large group can be a problem because each student's voice won't be heard. However, since only 1 student (or at the most 2) in each group was an expert on his/her particular paragraph, this wasn't an issue. Students also had 2 activity pages and a foldable they needed to complete while these discussions were taking place, so they knew they needed to be attentive and participate. Each student took time to share his/her information, answering questions the other students may have had about the particular aspect presented. I loved this! I was able to walk around and listen to the conversations taking place, making notes on which students understood the reading and which ones did not. Students having to answer questions to clarify to their classmates is such a powerful learning tool! And the best part? I did not have to teach my students anything about acid rain because they did it themselves. And I guarantee they were more engaged and interested in the topic than if I had led the discussion after they had read every paragraph by themselves. 

I know I am going to be using these 2 strategies a lot more often in my social studies classroom because they kept my students engaged, and they told me that they enjoyed the activities because they weren't sitting at their desks doing it. Sometimes it's the little things in life! Have you tried these strategies in your classroom? I would love to hear about your experiences! 'Till next time!


2 Brainy Apples blog
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Bring History to Life for Your Students… And Integrate Reading into Social Studies!!!

Hey everyone! It feels good to be back blogging again with the most supporting, amazing, and caring collaborative group: The Primary Chalkboard! It's November, and while you shouldn't give thanks only during this time of year, I do want to give a huge shout out to my Chalkies because I am SO thankful for each and everyone one of them. Love y'all!!!!!

Now, onto business :) If you know me, I am a huge proponent of content integration. There just isn't enough time in the day to separate every subject in isolation, and students learn better when they can see the relationship between the various concepts they are learning. I also love using authentic documents to teach social studies. Which is going to engage a child more? Reading an informational text about the Declaration of Independence, or reading from the actual Declaration of Independence? (Ok, so I know they may have a hard time with the cursive handwriting but that was just an "off the top of my head" example). Which brings me to the meat of my post: 2 amazing resources you can use to find some authentic documents that will keep your students engaged and help you integrate reading and social studies. DocTeach and Digital Archives. Head on over to my blog to read up on how I use these 2 resources, and how they can help you, too!

I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving, and a SMOOTH last week/days with your students before the break! Good luck, y'all! 


Bringing the World to Your Students with Virtual Field Trips

Oh, I am SO excited to be writing my first ever Primary Chalkboard blog post! I have been looking forward to this day ever since I was fortunate enough to become a Chalkie :) I hope you enjoy it!

We all know how beneficial field trips are. Students are able to experience, first hand, what they have been learning about in the classroom. Students are able to touch, feel, and see things they might not have an opportunity to otherwise. Well-planned field trips with close curriculum tie-ins help students mesh together the concepts they have been learning about with how it relates to the real world. Field trips, though, do take a lot of planning. They can be expensive. And sometimes the perfect place to go just isn't realistic. This is where virtual field trips come into play!

A virtual field trip can take students to a far off place and can be planned just days in advance. Virtual field trips enable students to travel through space or go back in time. And they're perfect for those teachable moments that just happen to spring up. Just visiting a website, though, doesn't constitute a virtual field trip. The same care and planning that goes into planning a real field trip must be done for an authentic virtual field trip. With advancements in technology and technology becoming more mainstream, virtual field trips have really changed over the years. 

You can have students work through a virtual field trip whole group, small group, with a partner, or individually, depending on your purpose and the level of your students. I have also asked parent volunteers to be the "chaperone" so they are there to help students along the way. One of the first virtual field trips I ever used was The First Thanksgiving. I love how this particular virtual field trip has the option for the text to be read aloud to students. There is a teacher's guide to help you plan out the field trip. 

Students can track the path of the Mayflower from England to America. Students can click on the blue dots and read (or listen) to significant events that occurred along the Pilgrims' journey.

Students can also take a virtual tour of the ship and learn about the various parts of the ship.

Students can pretend to be detectives on this virtual field trip where they investigate what really happened in 1621. 

Students can drag and drop the descriptions of myths to the picture it describe.

 There are several interactive pages students can read or listen to to learn more about the Native Americans or Pilgrims.

Here are a few other virtual field trips you might be interested in taking your students on :)

A virtual field trip can also be where your class connects with another class over Skype. Students can even work collaboratively with students in another part of the world on projects using Skype. It will take time and planning, but think of the rich experiences your students will have! I haven't done this yet, but can't wait to give it a try when I get back into the classroom!

Virtual field trips certainly can't replace the real thing, but when the destination isn't realistic, a virtual field trip can further enhance your unit of study and help your students make connections.

I am always looking for additional virtual field trips to add to my list. What is your favorite virtual field trip? Thanks for letting me share one of my favorite classroom activities!

Heather from 2 Brainy Apples