Planning Homeschool Social Studies Part 1

Friday, August 19, 2016
Happy back to school season!! It sure feels strange to not be joining the troops on the front lines in the classroom this school year! However, I'm really excited to be able to share my passion for American History on a larger scale! I am on a mission to bring social studies back!!! I love that I've already been able to help many classroom teachers through my Facebook group and my Teachers Pay Teachers store digital products and will definitely continue this part of my making history hip happenings!! Anyone who teaches Social Studies is welcome to join the group! Click here to join after you finish reading!

Maybe you are thinking about how easy a teacher's guide or set curriculum makes things for you. Maybe you aren't sure how to plan Social Studies units if you don't have a set guidebook. It's important that children understand the sacrifices and stories of people who have come before them so they appreciate what they have. History shouldn't be something that is skipped or left out. Here is one idea I have to help you make Social Studies awesome this year! 

Person of the Month

Start by asking your children if there are any people or events from history they would like to know more about.  Share anything you remember studying when you were their age that you really enjoyed (fake it if you can't remember anything) and explain why. Find a way to include these topics in your lessons no matter what. Even better have your child help you plan out a person of the month to learn more about! Kids are more motivated to learn when they have a choices. Have a special notebook or Google Drive folder to record what they are learning about their "person of the month." 

Make sure you include a diverse collection of people. I have several other posts about great sites for Social Studies. Just type in what you are looking for in the search bar on the sidebar or contact me for more help! I'm kind of a SS website guru;). The National Women's History Museum is a great site for learning about significant women in history who may not normally appear in textbooks. Let your children do some exploring and have them make a list of interesting women.

If you are still struggling to come up with enough people to have one per month, plan someone who would fall into the month seasonally or who was born that month. For example, Constitution Day is in September so you could do James Madison because he is the Father of the Constitution.

Wouldn't it be great if your child found so many interesting people you could do one a week? Maybe your child likes a particular sport. Incorporate role models from that sport and include any historical events that person may have lived through.

The easiest way to teach Social Studies is to integrate it into Reading! You can find biographies from the public library or Amazon in addition to online articles to use as reading materials. Have your kids use post-its to write down cool facts they are learning (post-its make everything more fun) or brainstorm a list of  questions or "I wonder" statements they have about the person. Another strategy could be to have them summarize by listing important facts or make up a true/false quiz for you! See if they can stump you!

In terms of writing, have your child write about who this person reminds them of or what traits they admire. You could also have them write a first person diary entry as if they were the person. See how easy it is to tie in Language Arts skills with Social Studies?? What about grammar? Well, how about an easy parts of speech lesson? Make a three column chart and label the columns "nouns, verbs, and adjectives." See where I'm going with this?? Under nouns list names and places that go along with the person. Verbs?? What did the person do? Come up with a list of character traits that describe the person. Then cover synonyms and antonyms by creating a list of words that do NOT make sense! There are plenty more ideas where those came from:)!

You could extend this idea even further by labeling birthplaces on a map and creating timelines for each person. You could even keep a master timeline for all of your events/people you cover throughout the year! Index cards or post it notes are a great DIY timeline tool! And there are tons of great free printable maps online. I have a post about timelines here with a free, fun printable acronym/acrostic poem If you need geography help, check out this Pinterest board:

If you want to take a creative approach, let your children write a play about a person of the month and create costumes and draw background scenery on poster board. They could create the person out of play doh or clay or paint them, too. Stick puppets out of construction paper and popsicle sticks could be fun, too. Decorate shoe boxes or cereal boxes as the person's home or other important place related to them and go to town with a puppet show! Older learners could create Vokis Chatterpix to animate their person of the month.

So as you can see the "Person of the Month" idea could be something quick you do in addition to your regular lessons or it could totally springboard your curriculum!  I would love to know which people your children want to know more about!! Share in the comments any cool people your family plans to study! I created a free printable outline of topics/people for each month if you need some ideas! Sign up here to receive it and receive updates and helpful tips for teaching Social Studies from me!

Exciting News!!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2016
Running Things with Runnels will be transitioning to The Social Studies Whisperer over the next few weeks! Stay tuned!! I am excited to be expanding my business by adding consulting services for homeschool families to make HISTORY HIP along with my digital product line on Teachers Pay Teachers! Let's BRING SOCIAL STUDIES BACK!!!

Map Out Your Social Studies Space Tips and a GIVEAWAY!!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

It's that time of year!! Back to School Season has arrived and the smell of fresh pencils is in the air and streets are buzzing with the frenzy of teachers and kiddos alike rushing to get that perfect first day of school haircut! No matter what type of school setting you are teaching in, one thing stays the same. We all want our space to be set up for success!

What comes to mind when organizing and decorating a space for Social Studies? Visualize every classroom scene you can from television shows and movies. What did you spot? A dusty globe and a faded map with an apple sitting on the teacher's desk. Those days are over! I'm on a mission to "Bring Social Studies Back!" And to do that we need to make it engaging and interactive. And that starts with your learning environment!

We also need to factor in multiple learning styles, personalities, backgrounds, and interests! When you connect students to the content, they are invested in the subject! How about instead of just hanging up that same old map (or leaving it hanging on the wall getting more faded by the year) you make it student-focused? Have students come up with a way to label places they have lived or countries of origin. This is a great way to build community with your learners! Include places you have lived, too!

You could even extend the idea and have students bring in an object that represents their family or pictures. And you could extend the extension by making it a writing assignment. I mean I could keep extending it and you will have a whole week's worth of activities but I digress (if ya need it feel free to hit me up on the contact form haha). You see my point! I had a community bulletin board where I hung up family pictures and mementos that students could add to throughout the year. This really made kids feel like the classroom was their own space therefore they took pride in taking care if it!

Also last year instead of just boring maps, I set up a bulletin board featuring U.S. Landmarks. I always start the year with basic geography and map skills. Trust me your students need it whether they have pigtails and a My Little Pony bookbag or are sporting a crossbody hipster satchel with a laptop hanging out. I also knew I would have lots of English Language Learners who may not be familiar with some of the iconic images. It was so neat to have students "spy" the places they may have read about or even visited! I had one student who had transferred from New York and it made him feel so good to have a little piece of home in our room! Well, I have truly upped the ante with this activity and turned it in to a huge iSPY Back to School bundle!

Get to know your kiddos the first few days with with those "All About Me/Welcome Back" activities but then move on to same content that will be fun and help build foundations for what you will be covering the entire school year or just for getting to know America!

GUESS WHAT?!!?!?! I have two pieces of great news for you!! Number one, you are going to have your BEST YEAR EVER starting with the moment we have all been waiting for: The Teachers Pay Teachers site-wide sale that runs August 1st and 2nd!! You can save up to 28% with the code BESTYEAREVER!!

And even better, I have a way for you to really map out that space! I have teamed up with some other Social Studies stores to offer a giveaway!! Enter the giveaway here (ok, true story I would totally do that first) and then check out their tips for making this the BEST SOCIAL STUDIES EVER!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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