Thursday, January 28, 2016

American Revolution {Part Two}

When I said that teaching about the American Revolution was my favorite subject ever, I wasn't kidding. We have been at it for a few weeks now and it is finally coming to an end (insert sad face). 
I find that making social studies engaging can be hard, so for this unit I really pushed myself to find some out of the box ideas. While searching the web I found some wonderful teacher bloggers who have the same love of teaching the American Revolution as I do, and I knew I had to take their lead. 

While pursuing Pinterest I found an activity about Paul Revere that I knew I had to do. Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6   had a great lesson idea for teaching the myths that surround Paul Revere and that midnight ride. During our reading unit where we discuss multimedia and the tone and beauty of a text my students read part of the poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and go on a online ride along side Mr. Revere. Later on during our Revolutionary War unit we read the entire poem along side a letter from Mr. Revere himself to displace the myths from that ride. 

For my students I knew that I had to do some differentiation. For my higher kids, I had them read the original version of the poem as well as the letter from Paul Revere.  For some of my other students I knew that the abridged versions would be great. I divided my students and had them read either the poem or the letter. Then, students partnered up to discuss the differences and similarities in the accounts. While they were discussing they were to record the myths and facts from that night. We then got together to create our own anchor chart. If you are interested in this resource you can grab it in my store for $1. 

When we learned about the Boston Tea Party we had an actual tea party. While I read the "The Boston Tea Party" by Russell  Freemand my students enjoyed glasses of sweet tea. We also listened to "The Boston Tea Party Song." My plan was to tea paper with my students to use as journal entry pages for an exit slip, but snow days got in the way and google classroom had to take its place. If you are interested in the Boston Tea Party exit slip that is below, click here. You can choose to print it for students or upload it on to google classroom. 

Finally, to sum it all up we are working on a Project Based Learning experiences to show our knowledge of the American Revolution, informational writing, informational text structures and text features. More information coming about this! 

I hope that you can engage your students with some of these activities and spread the love of the American Revolution to your students. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

The American Revolution {Part One}

I love teaching the American Revolution. It is by far my favorite thing to teach when it comes to Social Studies. I just love to see how our country fought for their freedom. Now, even though I love to teach the American Revolution, it is not easy to teach. I have found that my kids don't know that much about the topic and that seems to slow us down. That is why I have been working hard this year to #setthestagetoengage when it comes to this topic and let me tell you there are some AMAZING things out there that helped me. 

Let me start off with how I address my students lack of schema when it comes to social studies in general. Meet the schema box. This is where I pull tons of books from our school library (which I might add we have a pretty awesome librarian who helps me) that have to do with our current social studies topic. My students can pull from this box whenever they want to. I have found that this helps my students feel more confident in social studies because they can actually make some connections about what we are learning. I have also found that if I add some books about our next topic students begin to make connections between events. 

Another helpful resource that I have for the American Revolution is the pack from Collaboration Cuties. I have been using this in my classroom as morning work for students to build schema on the topics that we will be discussing each day in social studies. The kids really love the flippables that they can use in their interactive notebook. By building schema before the lesson, we are able to dig deeper into events during our social studies block. 

We begin our unit on the French and Indian war, which leads into the Stamp Act. If you are interested in a exit slip for the French and Indian War I have one here and here. Before students can really understand the Stamp Act the have to put themselves in the shoes of a colonists. In years past I've done the lesson where one student is the king and he makes students pay taxes based off of rules he passes. This year, I found an awesome resource by Kristine Nanini and the best part of all, it was FREE. My students got so upset when they had to give up their m&m's to the king and they got even more upset when some of them had more m&m's than others when it was all over. This lesson was so much more meaningful to my students than if I would have told them how angry the colonists were. 

After this lesson, students read more about The Stamp Act, and added this event into their timeline in their social studies notebook. Then they were assigned the task to create a political cartoon depicting The Stamp Act. They loved this activity and it was a great assessment for me to see who know knew what The Stamp Act really was. 

If you are interested the rubric used to grade this assignment you can grab it here for free! 

Up next was the Boston Massacre and this is my favorite topic to discuss during this unit. So much happened leading up to the Boston Massacre and after it was over. I wanted to do something engaging with this event so I immediately searched Pinterest. 

My search led me to a blog that I had never seen before, but quickly became one of my favorites. To Engage Them All has so many wonderful engaging activities for students. Immediately I knew that I had to do the crime scene lesson for my students. Kara has everything that you need for his lesson ready to go and guess what, its FREE! You can't go wrong with awesomely engaging free lessons for social studies. This lesson was a HUGE hit in my class. I even heard some of my students who don't usually like social studies talking about how much fun this was. 

I will have to say that this lesson was made for 8th grade students and I did make some changes to the detective guide for my 5th graders. 

I set up the crime scene before school so my kiddos had time to stew over what could have happened in our classroom. They couldn't wait for social studies to see what had happened. 

This is just the beginning of our American Revolution. Come back next week to join our tea party and midnight ride with Paul Revere.