Friday, January 31, 2014

Social Studies Brackets, Word Walls, and Interactive Notebooks....oh my!

Another great couple of weeks in the book!  The hubs, kiddos and I got our third bout of strep throat but we weathered through it and we can finally see the other side.  School wise... knock on wood... everything has been bliss.  The kids have hit a sweet spot, academically, where I can continually ask for more and a greater percentage rise to the challenge.  Here's a breakdown of what I've been doing:

1. Civilization Madness
We finallllllllyyyyyyy finished Mesopotamia and I wanted to finish it up in an engaging way but not too engaging because the kids had just finished their Hammurabi plays.  I had been reading about using a bracket system in social studies.  You take multiple THINGS (people, events, etc.) and you have the "compete" in a March Madness type bracket system.  We had Sumer, Babylon, Assyria, Chaldeans, Phoenicians and Hebrew compete against each other for "best" civilization.  I told the kids they were able to choose what made them the "best".  I launched with this....
...and then the fun began...






The kids loved the whole activity and it was a great way to summarize the whole unit.  If you are interested, click here to grab some of the resources so you can do this on your own!

2. Egypt!!!
Egypt is always fun and I decided to combine the spirit of genius hour with a Common Core research activity. I decided at the end of this unit, the kids would be able to choose any topic they found interesting and research it.  Instead of just a simple research and report, the kiddos need to make a claim and support it through research (i.e. "Mummification was disgusting." or "A woman's life was tough in Ancient Egypt.")  The kids will be able to support this claim with evidence and I'm going to have them present in a variety of ways.  I'm going to allow Go Animate, the Zimmer Twins, Google Presentation and basically whatever they want.  We just started our Egypt unit bit I wanted my early finishers to have a chance to start thinking about the project.  When I moved into my new classroom, I was amazed at the amount of nonfiction was there but I wasn't sure how to use singular books on a single topic.  I figured it out though...


When kids are done with class activities, they are able to peruse the books looking for possible topics.  So far, my early finishers love it.  By the way... isn't my word wall fabulous....


3. Rejuvenation of Interactive Notebooks!!!!
I love my interactive notebooks, but being my first year with new curriculum, I lost my path around November.  I really started to plan and document with the notebook and I see the buy in from the students increasing every day.


 It's so funny, the more I focus on the notebooks, the more invested the students become.  It really shows that what a teachers feels can go a long way.  We did a pretty amazing Constitutional Convention unit where the kids did text mapping while I worked with six kids at a time on the Great Compromise and the 3/5 Compromise.  I looooove when I get to figure out how to work small group teaching into a class of 27!  After we completed our unit, the kids had to pretend they were a member of the Constitutional Convention and were Tweeting at the scene.  I gave them an example......
Then they amazed me......



All in all... an amazing week!

If you are interested in some of the foldables, head on over to Teachers Pay Teachers and check out my newest activity.

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