Making a Social Studies Connection With "A Class"

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SWBAT identify key ideas and details about a social studies text class community; SWBAT analyze the main idea of the text and make connections; SWBAT write a structured informational paragraph reporting on their analysis of the text and their connections.

Big Idea

You mean you can teach social studies while you're teaching reading?

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

I love the fact that I can integrate science and social studies in the reading curriculum. The great part about Common Core is that there are so many great connections to both science and social studies in the books we read.  What I've found is that I can teach both science and social studies through our reading lessons.  This is one of those lessons.  

I love using Dinah Zyke foldable books.  They are easy to make and the books motivate the students to write.  For this activity I have made a quad fold book which wasn't hard at all to prep.  To see how to assemble the book look at my how to directions here How to Make Quad Door Writing Project.

Today, students will be reading the story and answering questions about the story.  This addresses standard RI1.1.  I will also be asking students what the main idea of the story is.  I want them to make the connection that our class is a community just like the class in the story.  Students will need to give me key details as to how our classes are alike.  This addresses standard RI1.2.  Finally, students will be writing informative text as they write about how our class is a community.  This addresses standard W1.2.

A note about the lessons within this unit: I have an hour to teach 4 small groups each day.  Each group gets 15 minutes with me each day.  I am writing this lesson as a whole lesson, but I could never get it done with each reading group all in one day.  Realistically it took me 3 days to do this lesson with each group.  You can easily take this lesson and chunk it out to how it will fit your classroom based on what your district mandates and what time restraints you have in your classroom.  Also, this lesson was geared for my on-level groups. I used the on level reader for Pearson's Reading Street called "A Class"  but you could easily use any text that showed how your class is a community or any kind of book about community helpers.

Vocabulary Introduction and Reading of the Story

15 minutes

Before we read our story, I introduce the vocabulary that the students will need to know. I preview the vocabulary that the reading series wants me to cover.  If the students already know one of those words then we don't focus on that word.  I keep looking through the text, and if I see a word that I know my students don't know, that becomes a vocabulary word that we will focus on.  For more Common Core guidance on which vocabulary words to teach intentionally, click here and proceed to page 33 of the document. 

After working on the vocabulary, we read the story, discussing important aspects on each page.  We stopped and elaborated on what we've read.  This helps the students build strong comprehension skills when you stop and really discuss the story in depth.  After reading the entire story, we worked on the main idea.  I said, "What is this story mostly about? Can you find me some details in the story that support your thinking?"

We then read our story for a second time.  The first time we read, students were working out the decoding and figuring out what the story said on a basic level.  Then second time through, we knew the story better and we could work on our fluency and deeper analysis of the main idea.  One simple way to work on fluency is just through repeated readings.  I always tell my students that there's no rule that you can only read a book once.

Writing Our Own Book

30 minutes

We had just finished discussing that the main idea of this book is about how a class is a community.  I wanted my students to make the connection that our class is a community as well, and I wanted this to be brought out in our writing.

Since we were making a quad fold book we had 4 facts that we need to write about.  We actually wrote two sentences for each idea.  We wrote a fact about what our class did to show that we were a community.  Then we wrote another sentence that elaborated on the first fact.  Then we started making connections.  I said, "Do we do something similar to the class we're reading about?  Give me more details about that."

We found evidence in the book that supported how the class was a community. Then we made connections about how we did some of those same things in our class.  We wrote about our class in our books.  Some of the things we wrote were:

  • Students share materials with each other.  We wrote about what materials we shared.
  • We discussed class jobs.  Students wrote about some of the specific jobs our class had.
  • We discussed recess time.  We wrote how we made friendships and what they did with their classmates at recess.
  • We discussed how we ride the bus together when we go on a field trip.  We wrote how we sit and talk and get to know each other better on school field trips.


3 minutes

I feel that I've struggled with my closures in the past so I really wanted to make sure this year that I worked on having strong closures in my lessons this year.  I found this excellent resource, 40 ways to leave a lesson, online, and I've been including some of these ideas into my closures.

Today we worked on Idea #4 from this list.  It's called "You're Stuck Here Until......" This is a great closure to use during small groups.  This closure is meant to be fun and light-hearted.  It's not meant to feel like a punishment in any way. 

I said, "OK.  You're stuck here until you can tell me one way our class is a community.  You can't say the same thing that someone's already said."  Then I went around the group and as soon as they told me one way that our class was a community they could leave.  If students had a hard time I would help them a bit by asking questions.  It was a great closure and it tied back to learning about what the main idea and details of the story were.

After we had completed the project my students wanted to share their writing with you.  I brought some of them up and asked them questions about the story.  You can see what the writing is supposed to look like on the inside of the quad fold paper in this video: Kids A Class.