Sunday, September 9, 2018

Info, Info, Read All About It!

We've been without a social studies textbook for YEARS so I've always had to supplement my history curriculum. (Although I had to roll my eyes laugh because last week a huge box was just delivered to my room with over 80 social studies workbooks published in 2006!)
Before teaching anything about California, I always do a quick pre-assessment, often with INTERESTING results! You can read more about that HERE.  Since I did not know those old workbooks would be arriving, I used our state standards, several old textbooks by various publishers (all out of print now. . .) and photos to write and create California Regions information cards. Included are specific facts that I wanted my students to understand about each region, particularly about natural features and industries (these were hard for students to find when researching on their own).
Students were divided into 4 groups (the 4 regions). They took notes on graphic organizers while reading the information cards (printed double sided and laminated for durability). To assist my students who needed more reading support, they used dry erase markers to circle or underline key facts.
After introducing the regions, we began to delve deeper. Students were divided into regions groups to do more research. Along with the info cards, some of the picture books we used were: Mojave (desert) and Sierra (mountains) by Diane Siebert, A Day's Work by Eve Bunting (Central Valley), Redwoods by Jason Chin (mountains) and Celebrating California by Marion Dane Bauer.
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I have not found any appropriately leveled books for the coast yet. There are many gorgeous books with pictures of the coast, but there's not enough meaty information about the LAND. If you know of any titles, please let me know!! After groups gather information, they present their facts to the class while students take notes on a graphic organizer. You can download a copy of the organizer HERE. After gathering enough information, students used Chromebooks in Google Classroom to work on a Google Slides trifold travel brochure. 

(I just noticed the desert group seemed to be the only students finished so far, hence only desert samples! But each region is represented; LOL) To download the brochure template, click HERE.  In other years, my students have written a book on the regions based on The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. You can read more about that HERE. How do you teach about California regions? I'd love to learn more!

For more great ideas, visit the blogs below!

6 comments:

  1. I love your posts. They're so informative and helpful. I just know your kids love all your activities. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. WOW! First, let me say that I love the look of your blog. Pretty and soothing to the eye. This social studies project is super! Your explanations and photos are very clear. Those information sheets look beautiful! This reminds me of something similar I did MANY years ago with first graders. We didn't have computers in schools then, and I didn't even have a personal computer. So, the pictures for my "information sheets" came from authentic travel brochures. I visited many travel agencies to get all of the pictures I needed for that project. Thinking of that, I have to say that your student travel brochure look professional. I'm impressed!

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    1. I love the idea of using authentic travel brochures; that would have been more helpful for teaching how to write a slogan (vs. a sentence on the cover). I will share your praise with my students; they'll be thrilled! :)

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  3. This is a great activity! It is clear that your students were engaged in this meaningful lesson. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. My kids did well using these info cards because there wasn't too much distracting information and the pictures helped a lot. Thanks, Michelle!

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