Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tackling Social Studies While Teaching Writing

I will be honest with all of you, I have struggled with how to fit everything into my day for many of my years as a teacher.  The sad reality is that the amount of "work" we have to do is not decreasing, it is instead doing just the opposite.  Knowing that the additional paperwork and mandates are not going away anytime soon, I really have been looking at different ways to tie subjects and even skills together to cover more. 

This week during our scheduled ELA/Writing block, I did just that.  I pulled in a topic (families) that is normally a Social Studies focus and taught it along with some writing/ELA skills. 

We began our week of crossing the curriculum with just some basic brainstorming.  I asked the owls to think of all the people that would be part of one's family.  These people are people whom we care about, take care of, and love dearly.  The owls started by doing a quick think to themselves, then turned to their knee partners, then to a small group of 4, and then we finally shared out to the whole group.  While the owls listed the family members they came up with, I wrote them on our Smartboard and they each had a paper to write the list on as well.  This kept all my owls engaged even the ones who were not providing answers.

Next day we reviewed our family members list and introduced the word adjectives.  We discussed what an adjective is, examples of adjectives, and when we might use them in our writing.  The owls thought of different adjectives to describe their families.  We went through the same process of brainstorming and sharing as the previous day, along with me writing on the Smartboard and each owl writing on their own papers.
The following days were spent talking about sentence structure and how we could use our brainstorming pages to build sentences.  I would think aloud and model how to write a sentence and then the owls would get a turn.  To help them feel a bit more comfortable with the idea of sentences, we said our sentences aloud before writing them.  In the end, most owls had three complete sentences on their papers. 

On the last day, we made those adorable little faces to put with all of our writing.  I simply traced the bottom part of a container of wipes to get a circle and the owls cut them out.  Each owl was allowed to pick the size google eyes he/she wanted and the girls got a pair of pink lips and the boys a mustache.  Those were just foam stickers that needed the paper peeled from the back.  The hair was cut from small, black construction paper rectangles.  The girls cut their pieces into long, thin strips and the boys small strips.  Love how each one looks just like the owl who created it.  :)
So basically for the whole week we focused on a Social Studies topic and still worked on improving our writing at the same time.  I would call that a successful week!  The owls were super proud of their writing as well!
On a different subject, don't forget to enter my 1 year blogiversary giveaway that is happening right now through to next Saturday.  I will be giving away two fabulous prize packs!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and enjoy the rest of your Sunday!  We are currently getting  hit with snow, so I will be heading outside soon to shovel.  Nothing beats the workout you get from shoveling.  Haha!


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