Interactive Social Studies Activities
Listed below are 5 tips to incorporating interactive social studies activities and interactive notebooks into any lesson! No matter what subject you teach, you can always sneak in a little bit of social studies.
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 successful incorporate interactive social studies activities is by really working through that struggle. Instead, I love pairing nonfiction articles with fiction articles. As always, 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. Plus, it is so much fun because my students ADORE learning about cameras back then and how our cameras have changed. In addition, they also love to learn about snow and how snowflakes are unique. It’s fun to pair this book with two original fiction and nonfiction passages titled, “Snow What?!?!” and “Snow Fun!”
Who doesn’t love a timeline? You see, timelines really should be incorporated in all interactive social studies activities and lessons. After reading any story or passage 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. These things 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 Social Studies Interactive Notebooks
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!
Social Studies Interactive Activities and Notebooks
In case you don’t know the basics to interactive notebooking, you can check those out here. Truthfully, 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. For example, last week my students read an excerpt from the novel, “Life of Pi.” Of course, 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 social studies interactive notebooks below:
Seasonal reads are a significant part of the learning in my classroom. In addition, students really enjoy learning about the current season, and common core also urges teachers to discuss important seasons throughout the year. Another example is Snowflake Bentley because 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. Finally, 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. Anyways, the app undoubtedly took our learning to another level. While reading “The Outsiders,” 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.