Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Way is North?

 My teammate, Sarah and I start our Social Studies unit the first week of  school for two reasons: one because we miss each other when the wall is closed and second because the students are just as excited to open the wall and see their friends. Both of these reasons are social and isn't that why they call it "Social" Studies?

This year we started differently although our goals were the same. We wanted to get to know our students better and learn about their families and traditions. We asked the students to choose 3-5 photos that are important to them and glue then on the inside cover of their SS spiral and write about them.  Answering these 3 questions:

a.  Why is that photo important to you?
b.  Where is that photo taken?
c.  How does that photo connect to your family?

This conversation then launched us into our Geography Unit focusing on North America. Locating all 50 states, geographical features, regions, and reading/understanding maps including latitude and longitude.

It's always fun to see the students excitement as we pull out the geography tub filled with games, puzzles, books, poems, songs and maps to practice their skills.  One of my favorite books:  How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A. This is a great book about the process of making a pie all the way from how to make the bowl, to making the crust, picking the cherries and finally having a delicious cherry pie. The story travels all around the country to 14 different states, so we give the students a blank map and ask them to track the journey. Once the students become familiar with the states they then have time to explore our geography box of interactive puzzles, games and some students play Stack the States on their iPods.

Practicing for the states test- check out the $1 aisle at Target. 
In additon, we will share the following Wonders of the day @Wonderopolis.

Wonder #55 How are Maps Made?


  1. This is my first year teaching 5th grade social studies and I'm loving it!! I'm preparing to teach my kids about the 13 colonies, but I'm actively searching for an interactive way to do so... hopefully incorporating technology! Any suggestions? I would love feedback!

  2. What a cool and fun filled way to begin the Social Studies year! We are just about to dive into the Constitutional Convention....woo hoo!