Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Around the World!

What better way to bring geography into your classroom then with salt dough! Salt dough is something made from flour, water, and the obvious salt. As this dough begins to form, it would remind someone of pizza dough. For this activity we used salt dough to create maps. Maps are very complex, and it may be hard for younger children to grasp the concept of them. However, if you create salt dough maps, the children can create mountain ranges and rivers, and they can feel and see the difference in "terrain" on their map.

Not only can salt dough be used to make maps, students can also create other things that represent their country by using salt dough. For example, our group created a mask that represented Brazilian culture, as well as the flag.
Here is a picture of brazil. We made the country green, the mountains purple, the water blue, and the fish yellow!

This is a picture of the Brazilian Flag.

This picture represents a mask that the Brazilian's where during something called Carnival.
This is a celebration that happens in Brazil. 70% of the people that attend this event are from other countries. It represents a time when people of other cultures can get together and celebrate.

This activity would be wonderful to incorporate into your classroom. As the teacher, you could integrate social studies, fine arts, math, science, etc. into this lesson. Children could research a certain topic about a different country, and then use their creativity to portray a piece of artwork. The children could then explain their artwork to their classmates, as well as explaining the topic to their classmates that they researched.

Below I attached a link to a social studies blog, that a boy created about how he used salt dough in the classsroom he was in.

Salt dough in the classroom!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Does you Anchor Hold?

One thing that could be very beneficial to students in any subject, especially social studies, is something called an anchor chart. An anchor chart is a chart that can hold specific facts, vocabulary words, definitions, or people's names, on a large piece of paper. When learning about social studies facts, it may be overwhelming for some children. Anchor charts help identify the important things the teacher wants the children to remember. For example, if a teacher read a story that was ten pages long, but she only wanted the children to remember the main character's, she could list those names on the anchor chart, that way children could refer back to it if they had a question.
One thing we did in our social studies class, was we had to pick a topic that had a lot of facts in it, and then make an anchor chart. Since my group didn't know a lot of the facts about the Boston Tea Party, we decided to research that. We looked up information in books, and on the internet, and then wrote down the concepts that we thought were important. Since the Tea Party happened in basically 5 parts, we decided to make our chart into a story board. Each section told a little story and displayed a picture, that way the children could read the text, and then visual learners could connect the text with the picture.
No one in my group had ever heard of an anchor chart before and we were so glad we were introduced to it because we will all use it in our future classrooms. Not only can it help the child learn the important parts of social studies, it can help them dig deep and find the information and learn something new. Anchor charts will also be beneficial because it is student work displayed around the classroom if they make their own charts.

Anchor charts are an essential part of the classroom. Below is a link to a blog posted by a teacher. She shows us how she used anchor charts to teacher her 5th and 6th graders about the Indians.

Anchor Charts in the Classroom!

Family Connections

Within the Social Studies realm of History, Geography, Civics and Government and Economics, there is also a place for relationships, family, and culture. Family holds a place in every one's life, whether it holds a good place or a bad place. The word family can incorporate culture, background, values, and the people that may or may not hold a special place in our lives. Family can also mean the word tradition. There are thousands of family traditions. Some people may have the same family traditions, and some people may have different traditions, but the most important thing is that when that tradition is happening, we are with family.
One thing my family likes to do is bake. Once a year we bake cookies for the local fire department, and all of the money raised goes to the fire department. There has been a cookie recipe in our family for a long time and it is called Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Banana Cookies. My grandma promises that these cookies are "healthy" cookies, but there sure is a lot of butter and chocolate chips to make them "healthy!"

Here is a picture of the cookies!

Family is something that is extremely important to me, and I would not be who I am today without my loving family. There may be students in my future classroom that do not have family, but that is where I as their teacher try to guide, direct, love, and support them in every way possible. By incorporating authentic resources into my classroom such as famous family recipes, then my students will be able to make more than surface connections.
Here is another picture of the cookies at the trade fair that we had at school!

Below is a blog created by a teacher. She uses different receipes throughout her blog, and she makes family connections, as well as how she incorporated the receipe into her classroom. This was a great blog to read, and the receipes sound really good too!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do artifacts really define you??

Yesterday in one of my classes we were asked to bring in 5 artifacts that would define us as a person. I had my first three items picked out within a couple of minutes, but then I really had to think about what "defined me." The 5 items I picked were farm animals, a horse, my hunting hat, candy:), and a shopping bag. Some may think, "Do these items really define you?" My answer to that would be yes! Each and every item has a story behind it, and in order to find out that story you need to ask questions. One activity we did was go around the room and look at every ones artifacts. We were to choose one artifact and write about it. We had to describe the item in detail, ask questions, guess which time period it was from, and then we had to write about the story it told. This was a wonderful activity because we were able to learn more about one another, and it brought our community closer together. We are a tight knit community, but there were items that people brought in and I never would have paired that item with the person. Having a learning community is so important. A teacher can build a learning community by asking questions about one another, or pairing students up, but a teacher can also build a learning community by teaching Social Studies. It is becoming more and more clear to me that Social Studies can be integrated with any subject, or any subject can be integrated with social studies.

The items that you see above are some of my classmates, as well as mine. The horse laying on its side was from my dad. I got the horse when I was in the second grade after having a surgery that ended up bad. A doctor hit my voice box while taking out my tonsils, and he damaged it. Imagine an 8 year old not being able to talk! It was awful, let me tell you! While I was in the ICU, my dad brought this horse up, and told me that if I tried my hardest to get better, and I did everything the doctors and nurses wanted me to do no matter how bad it hurt he would get me a real horse when I got home. I pushed through months of voice therapy, and tubes being shoved down my throat, but I got my real horse!:) If anyone knows me, they know I am a candy FANATIC!! I would much rather eat candy instead of eating a meal. Chocolate is good, but the sweet/sour stuff is my favorite. The hunting hat was the hat I wore when I shot my first deer, so that will always be remembered! The shopping bag represents that I love to shop, and I am an even better bargain shopper! Lastly the farm animals. For those of you that also know me, you know that my family raises rodeo bulls. I have a deeper love for animals than you could ever imagine. They provide wonderful companionship, and I couldn't imagine my life without animals.

Below is a link to another blog about artifacts in the classroom.

Artifacts...do they define us?

Here is a picture of my first dog. He passed away in June from cancer and I was left with a huge void in my heart. He will never be forgotten. I needed that companion in my life again, so here is a picture of my new little guy:)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Look Into the Past!

Last semester we did multiple group activities involving social studies. One activity that my group did was to research and see how different countries played Hopscotch. One may think, "Hopscotch, that's not a hard game to play," but in fact, it is harder to play in some countires. We learned how to play Hopscotch in Aruba, Boliva, France, and the United States. One country that interested my group was France. The name of their Hopscotch game is called "Escargot." You may be thinking that is some sort of snail that you can eat, but it is much more than that! The people in France take chalk and draw the shape of a snail on pavement, and that is essentially their Hopscotch mat! In order to win this game the person has to choose one foot to begin hopping on, and then they have to continue to use that same foot for the rest of the game. They have to hop from square 1 to 17 without stepping on any lines or resting. You may think it is easy when reading about it, but hopping on one foot without stepping on any lines or without losing your balance is more difficult than it sounds! :D This was a wonderful activity because we got to learn all of the different ways to play Hopscotch, and it made us want to research other popular games around the world and compare and contrast with how they are played in the United states. Here is a picture of my group when we were researching the different Hopscotch games. I provided a link for you to use for the main website that our group used, just click on "How to Play Hopscotch, and it will take you to the website!

How to Play Hopscotch!

Below is another link to a blog. This blog is from a student that played a game from a different country. Enjoy!

Games around the world!