Keeping up with state standards can be a strenuous task anytime of the year. But, during the holidays? Over the years I’ve found ways to tie in multiple subjects with our thematic units. Because of the high level of interest, social study standards are driving my instruction. It’s so easy to do a whole Native American unit and tie in reading, writing, and grammar skills. The same goes with any type of history you are studying. Today I’m sharing what’s been working for us.
First of all, the fourth grade social study standards began with indigenous settlements. Because the very first skill was to learn about the first people of North America, I went ahead and began our year with the Paleo and the Woodland Indians.
In addition to learning about the Indigenous Settlements of our area, I really wanted the kids to be able to locate and draw out the Bering Strait. So, not only are the kids getting the history of these places, they are also getting geography. Also, a skill I had been avoiding was the 5 paragraph descriptive essay. I tied this skill in after the kids read all about the different settlements and Native Americans of this time.
In this unit, I had the kids read the first story using the sticky note method. They then answered the Think About It Questions and Vocabulary Activities. After reading all of the stories, we began the descriptive writing process.
Our next social studies skill was to learn about the culture of various Native American tribes. I chose the Cherokee. I tied this unit heavily into the reading skill Comparing and Contrasting First and Second Hand Accounts of the Same Event.
This unit has anchor posters included so the kids know the difference between first and second hand accounts.
I had the kids copy and create their own anchor posters in their journals.
Then I had them sort first and second hand accounts.
I also used social study skills with my second graders. American Indian Legends and summarizing are two skills to be taught in second grade. I tied these skills together in this unit.
Stories and questions to answer to help with summarizing.
Interactive Vocabulary Notebooking
(This picture is from our Chickasaw Unit, but the American Indian Legend unit has vocabulary notebooking, too.)
After teaching the units, games as an assessment can be a fun teaching tool.
Because we all learn if the material is relevant, teaching by units is more effective than teaching by individual subjects.