Pairing Fiction with Non-Fiction
If you’re anything like me, you love when your students get excited about reading. Sometimes I really struggle to find that spark that will make them really engaged. One way I’ve learned to really work through that struggle is by pairing nonfiction articles with fiction articles. It’s important that I remember to make them rigorous and relevant for my students! For example, since winter is upon us, I love reading the story “Snowflake Bentley.”
If you haven’t read this story, you can find the free online version here. This is an amazing picture book biography about the first man to ever photograph a snowflake close up. It is so much fun! My students ADORE learning about cameras back then and how our cameras have changed. They also love to learn about snow and how snowflakes are unique. I pair this book with two original fiction and nonfiction passages titled, “Snow What?!?!” and “Snow Fun!” This really helps the students identify the standards we are discussing, such as theme and central idea, while still incorporating social studies in the lesson. Students will learn about different places around the world where it is more likely to snow and how snow develops. You are even using science in this lesson too! Go you!
Who doesn’t love a timeline? I know I sure do! Timelines really should be incorporated in social studies lessons. It helps students map out everything. I think I need to start making timelines of my own life to assist in my memory loss! I guess that’s what happens when you’re almost thirty. GASP! Well, almost 29. After reading any story or passage we like to identify with the historical period, or the main character. If the character is real or imaginary, their life or series of events throughout the story can be mapped on a time-line. Timelines have been used throughout history to pinpoint specific events. It is so important to use timelines when introducing new historical figures such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Dr Seuss, and so many more!
Incorporate Interactive Notebook Foldables
Maybe I’m a little biased, but this is my absolute ALL TIME favorite way to incorporate social studies in any lesson – INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOKS!!!! EEEEEEEKKKKK!
In case you don’t know the basics to interactive notebooking, you can check those out here. I’ve been an advocate for interactive notebooks for at least five years now. I haven’t learned everything there is to know about them, but I do have a lot of practice and trial and error. I could go through many tips and tricks with you, but that’s not what this blog post is about. Let’s say you’re teaching English, but really need to squeeze in a social studies lesson. This is the perfect way to work across the curriculum. For example, last week my students read an exerpt from the novel, “Life of Pi.” This book is a difficult text, and it is really hard for students to make connections about a place they have never been before. The story discusses the different parts of the Indian Ocean and the Mariana Trench. This was the perfect teachable moment for students to learn a little bit about geography without even knowing it! So what did we do? We decided to cut out our Ocean Foldables!!!
You can find all of these foldables in my Social Studies Interactive Notebook here.
Seasonal reads are a significant part of the learning in my classroom. Students really enjoy learning about the current season, and common core also urges teachers to discuss important seasons throughout the year. Snowflake Bentley is again another example of a seasonal read. It incorporates winter and leaves the social studies content open for discussion. New Year’s is quickly approaching and with that is also the cool breeze of winter air. Use New Year’s Resolutions to get students engaged in writing and create a content map of resolutions for your students to display.
Google Earth has always been one of my most favorite teaching tools. Since I began teaching, I remember the first impression Google Earth gave to my students. This was five or six years ago, so technology has developed tremendously, but even then, Google Earth was breathtaking. It undoubtedly took our learning to another level. We were reading the novel, “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton. During our introduction we discussed where the story took place. Since this novel was based on a true story, we located the places on Google Earth and dove right in. Not only were they engaged, but they were also learning geography without even realizing it.