I love teaching Social Studies. Unfortunately, I have about five minutes per day to do this, what with all of the required reading, writing, math, lunch, shoe tying, nose bleeds, tattling, one or two accidents, scraped knees, and recess. Nevertheless, I LOVE it!
We have been working on our American Symbols unit the last couple of weeks. I like to begin before September 11th so that my kiddos have at least some understanding of how great America is, even if they have no clue what September 11th means. This year, it is taking me forever to get through the six symbols that my team is choosing to cover. I think it has something to do with teaching math after lunch and/or I am twiddling my thumbs too much.
Our Social Studies curriculum is . . . oh . . . kay. It’s a really big textbook and the kids love looking at all of the pictures. But as far as the American Symbols go . . . it’s about one page with four pictures, some captions, and a paragraph. And then I am supposed to be able to check off this standard and move on.
No thank you. I may do that when it comes to teaching Matter in Science (yes, that’s right, I said it) but I can’t do it with Social Studies!
Scholastic had these great Welcome books for super cheap and you can also find them HERE at Amazon. These books are great — very easy for first graders to understand. And I created these little worksheets to go with them. Disclaimer: there was no Lincoln Memorial book so I have to check one out from our school library. Sorry about that. If I could fix that, I would. Also, the White House does not copy that well – the windows and some other fine lines disappear. But I actually like that because the kids enjoy drawing all of the windows and fine lines. Well, some of them do. Click the pic to grab all six symbols.
Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile now, you know the technology at my school is still up and coming. I have my best friend, TODD, (terribly old decrepit dinosaur aka THE OVERHEAD) so I make transparencies and we fill in the blanks together. You could be wondering why I don’t have the kids do a free write or something. And I’m just of the mind that Social Studies is Social Studies time and I don’t want my struggling writers to become frustrated during this time. Also, I want the kids to like me the best. And I guess I believe it’s about the content, too. Filling in the blanks together gives me a chance to go over consonants, vowels, patterns, endings, etc. I usually spell it a letter at a time and the kids echo me. If I’m feeling really hyper, I will say the letters in low or high voices or baby voices or monster voices or . . . well, I think you get it. Then the kids color and draw the background. I took some photos of some of their work but I don’t have a Statue of Liberty pic to show you. That bums me out! The Welcome book has a terrific picture of the statue with the New York skyline in the background so I teach my kids how to add that. They turn out fantastic. But that was our first day and I have long since sent those home before I decided that maybe someone would want to do this.