Sunday, September 16, 2012

Social Studies Notebooking- Unit 1: Geography

I've been meaning to get these pictures posted, but we're STILL trying to figure out pull-out schedules and reading schedules!  It's been a crazy year already!

ANYWAY, I was inspired by Eve Heaton at Science Notebooking to start using interactive notebooking in Social Studies.  We've gone really, really slowly as this is something completely new to my students and to me.  I've never taught with this much creativity!  This is the PERFECT year to try this out...I have 3 or 4 awesome artists and the most of the rest of my class loves nothing more than getting a blank piece of paper and drawing during their limited free time.  Also, we did many lessons on how to glue papers into the notebooks.  I have them put 1 small drop of glue in each corner.  Drizzling glue and putting lots of dots wrinkles up the pages.  1 small drop of glue in each corner will hold everything. 

I decided to start out with a Geography unit. I've included a study of the five themes of geography, regions, states/capitols, directions of a compass, continents, and state abbreviations. Each activity has an informative reading passage to go with it.  These items are available as a whole unit in my TeachersPayTeachers store.

Social Studies Cover Page

Divide the page into enough sections, so that each topic you cover can be in it's own section.  I listed our topics (Geography/Maps, Native Americans, Explorers, Colonies, Revolutionary War, Government, Westward Expansion, and Civil War).  Then we discussed these as a group.  My kids had never heard of many of these topics, so I did some quick little overviews.  Then we brainstormed some symbols or pictures that could represent each topic.  These are what they placed in the sections on their cover page. 

This was my favorite cover page.  This guy is always drawing comics, and is really enjoying notebooking.  But don't worry, most of mine don't look this great.  I only picked the best examples to share on here!

I did require that they color in the page- little or no white space.  It makes them look really good!

 Standards and Geography Title Page
I typed up a list of geography standards that students would learn during this mini-unit.  I used the Missouri GLEs to get these standards.  (Note- I put the Word Doc on landscape, then made 2 columns and pasted the same thing on each column.  When they print, just cut the page in half and you're ready to glue them into the notebooks.) I passed out the standards, and we read them as a group.  Then we brainstormed a list of questions about the standards.  I used the list of questions to create 4 focus questions for the unit.

On the title page, they divided it into 4 sections, and wrote and illustrated each question.  As you can see, these aren't quite as exciting when they aren't fully colored!

(Anyone know why this picture turned sideways?  The original is horizontal and it shows it as horizontal outside of blogger...)

Mnemonic Devices and Compass

We did a quick review of the directions on a compass, then listed some mnemonic devices (memory tricks) to remember the directions.  Most of them were: "Never Eat Sour Waffles," "Never Eat Soggy Watermelon," etc, so I challenged them to come up with new ones with out using the words Never and Eat.  We had "New Elephants Stand Wobbly," and "Next Exit: Sea World."

They listed these mnemonic devices in their notebook, then created a movable compass.  The moveable compass template is available in the Geography unit in my TeachersPayTeachers. On the compass, they had to list N,S,E,W as well as NE, NW, SE, SW.  We used a brass paper brad to attach the arrow and allow it to spin.

This one has the brad in upside down, but oh well, it still works!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Water Cycle Collages

We've started a "Missing Work Center" on Friday afternoons.  My co-worker takes every kid with missing work and has them work on it.  If they finish, they can read a book until Fun Friday is over.  While the kids with missing work are in the center, I get to hold Fun Friday activities with all the others!  I'm excited for this and I think it will help motivate the kids with perpetual missing work get their work done on time.

On Fun Fridays, we can do just about anything fun, as long as it ties in with curriculum we're teaching that week.  Today, we did Water Cycle Collages.  As I was explaining this, a couple of the kids groaned, and asked if there was another option.  I told them nope, and kept on explaining.  What made this activity really fun was that they could not use any writing utensils on their posters.  That meant no markers, pencils, crayons, pens, color pencils, etc!  I had gone through my house picking up scraps of fabric and tissue paper, and then scrounged around my classroom for other craft items- construction paper, buttons, foam stickers, string, ribbons, and cotton balls.  They loved this time to express their creativity, and they loved using all these craft supplies and making a big mess!

The results were great, and we had some fabulous posters created!  I did let them use a writing utensil to label the parts of the Water Cycle, but that was it!