Monday, October 31, 2011

Social Studies Anchor Chart

We are so excited about joining the Anchor Chart Linky party hosted by Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes.
Do your students ever have trouble keeping track of names of cities, states, and countries?  My 3rd graders definitely do!  I started this anchor chart at the beginning of our geography unit.  I plan to add to it throughout the year whenever we read about another place. 

The red stars mark the state we live in, and the cities in our state.

Monday, October 24, 2011

RIP Tired Worn Out Words

A fun activity to do around this time of year is to encourage students to broaden their vocabulary and let those overused boring words RIP.  I began by discussing the importance of learning new words and increasing our day-to-day vocabulary.  I put the word good on the smart board and asked the students to brainstorm some synonyms which could be used in its place.  After the students shared as many synonyms as they could think of for the word good, I pulled out the thesaurus to see if we could add anymore.   Following this whole group activity, I partnered the students up and had them chose one word from a given list.  These could be any commonly used words which you would like to let RIP.  Some examples are: sad, said, happy, angry, friend, etc.  Together, the partners brainstormed synonyms for their word as well as using a thesaurus.  Next, they traced a tombstone onto construction paper and wrote in their retired word along with its replacements.  I hung the tombstones out in the hall for a very cute fall/Halloween display.

Monday, October 17, 2011

We're Going On a Field Trip!

With the beautiful weather in full swing, it was time to go on a field trip!  We have been learning about different types of communities in Social Studies.  We live in a suburban area, a (reasonable) driving distance between a larger city and a rural area.  We spend part of our time talking about our dependence on people in other communities.  This gave us the awesome opportunity to visit a dairy!
The day began with that joyous (ha!) bus ride.  Then the shocking announcement that their noses could smell the country.  (This part always makes me laugh, since my grandma lived across from a livestock sale barn and I know that smell all to well!)  We watched them bottle milk and make cheese.  We tasted all their flavored milks.  Root beer milk is always their favorite, followed by chocolate.  (Did I mention this dairy wins awards for how great the milk is?!)  Then, the best part, the kids got to milk a cow and pet a calf!  The trip ends with another fabulous bus ride. 
So where do you take your class for a field trip?


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Social Studies Journals

As a school, we are incorporating Social Studies into our Communication Arts.  I think this is a great idea and decided to use journals as way for the students to reflect on what they learn.  I am not a huge fan of text books as a sole resource to teach, so I am always on the internet looking for ideas/resources to use.  We also have USA Weekly papers which are a wonderful tool.  What I have been doing so far (which is tentative as this is new for me) is teaching the lesson either whole group or through partner reading of the USA Weekly.  After the lesson, the students write a reflection as to what they learned.  I give them questions to guide their reflections.  When they are finished with the written part of the journal, they include an illustration that goes along with what they learned.  Depending on the concept being taught, I plan to include maps, timelines, etc as well as the written reflection and illustration.  I would love to hear how other people use Social Studies journals in their classrooms or any suggestions/ideas.