I need to finish my second post on ideas for teaching dialogue. The month of June is already flying by...
Today I was working on making Scopes and Sequences for next year for the different subjects I teach. While looking at our 5th Grade US History curriculum I noticed they covered most of the US History topics and then covered US regions at the end of the year. I understand the logic behind this, but I find having an understanding of the differences of the climate and geography of each region better helps students understand US History and the way people adapted to new environments. I decided we are going to cover the regions at the beginning of the year and then start with the Jamestown and the Colonies after covering the regions. I think we will plan "a road trip across the US" as we study the different regions. Maybe we will make a little "travel scrapbook" or write entries for a pretend travel blog.
Time to teach Social Studies each week is always limited. I also think I like the idea of using an interactive student notebook this year. I tried it some last year, but it did not really work. My students work at different levels and paces so we are not always doing the same thing. I like the idea of interactive student notebooks where they incorporate more visual notetaking and have a creative output to show their learning. I want my students to learn how to take notes and take ownership of it. I think if I take on interactive notebooks I will have to make some templates for them to use and put a detailed guideline of what to do on my class website. I am even playing with the idea of just doing the notebooks in a binder instead of a composition notebook since my students have to work a little more indepedently. I like the idea that in a binder you can move things around if they accidently get put in the wrong spot. I am thinking instead of left/right thinking for inputs and outputs we could just do like front and back of the page.
When studying the US regions, I also like to touch on the Native Americans of each region so students can understand that often many of the differences in various tribes was largely to do with the climate and natural resources of where they lived. I decided that while we are studying the regions in Social Studies, we will complete a unit in Language Arts on Native Americans. My plan is to have us read either Native Americans myths, legends, fiction, or nonfiction each week to go with whatever region we are discussing.
Then I spent a lot of time today doing research on lessons on Native Americans, projects, and book lists of Children's Literature about Native Americans. The other day I read Hiedi Raki's post about how she used Livebinders to create student portfolios. It reminded me I had not used Livebinders in a few months. I have found Livebinders to be a fabulous way to collect research on different units I want to plan. Today I made a Livebinder for a Native American unit. You can see my livebinder below. I am going to make a Livebinder for each major unit I plan to teach with collections of sites and ideas I come across in my research. Here is the link to my livebinder.
What are some of your favorite books to use when teaching about the Native Americans? Do you have a favorite way you like to organize your approach to teaching US History?