I’m sorry I haven’t blogged this past week. We haven’t been at school since last Thursday! It has been incredibly cold here (-30s) and we got about 7 inches of snow over the weekend. We’ve been off for cold days!
I was so excited when I saw Jivey’s Workshop Wednesday topic, because it gave me inspiration for a post.. especially when inspiration was lacking since I haven’t been doing a ton of teaching lately!
Every year I have students (especially boys) that are incredibly interested in Historical Fiction. I make sure to stock my library with every Titanic, WWI, WWII, Military historical fiction and nonfiction book for kids. I have students who just plow right through those books.
So when it’s hard to get students motivated to learn about Social Studies sometimes, I find ways to integrate things they love.
Enter one of my favorite books to teach…
I read this book with my class before Christmas Break, trying out different lessons and ideas to make this pack meaningful and jam packed with resources.
One of my favorite parts of teaching this book is the historical tie-ins. The book is set in Oklahoma during The Great Depression. The main character, Billy, lives on a farm in the Ozarks. His family is a perfect example of what most families went through during this hard time.
Every year my fourthies seem to struggle with setting. They always remember to tell me WHERE the story takes place, but they forget the WHEN. So I make it a HUGE point with this book, since the WHEN is so important to the rest of the story.
I start off by introducing the book and the setting:
Description from Amazon: During the Great Depression, a family seeking work finds employment for two weeks digging potatoes in Idaho.
After we read these books, we make a class “web” of all of the things we now know about The Great Depression.
After our discussion, I introduce our research project. I have students think about at least (3) GOOD research questions that they want to use to learn more about The Great Depression.
I start this research project small on purpose. I don’t want them to feel overwhelmed, and I want them to learn about things they are INTERESTED in that relate to the Great Depression. I give them about an hour of class time to research their 3 questions and come up with answers.
The next day, I pass out the project presentation guidelines. I explain that this is a project where they can CHOOSE what to present and how to present it. They LOVE this about it.