The specific social studies topics studied in 1st grade classrooms typically vary according to state standards. Different states may focus on their own history, geography and communities as well as slightly vary the focus of their learning. However, in most 1st grade classrooms students begin to more deeply explore their communities and the world around them, enhancing their research skills, their general knowledge of the world around them and the ability to compare and contrast different groups. This is done in a variety of ways through group projects, group research, read-alouds, class trips and exploratory activities. In addition, 1st graders continue to have class meetings where they learn about the calendar and discuss class events. American holidays are studied as well.
In order to build social studies skills, your 1st grader:
- Learns and talks about his own family, different types of families in the present and in history, and his community.
- Uses and studies maps to locate his own community as well as others.
- Develops communication and conversation skills.
- Creates both group and individual work to represent what he has learned, using writing, illustrations and graphic organizers such as ven diagrams and T-charts.
- Begins to explore the role of technology and media.
- Gains an understanding of the importance of rules, citizenship and democracy in the classroom and in his community.
- Learns about American holidays and important events and days.
Social Studies Activities
- Make the Rules Together: Talk about the rules in your house and write them down together. Talk about why you have the rules and ask your child if she would like to change, add or make new rules.
- Make a Community Collage: Ask relatives or friends who live in different places to send you newspapers, magazines or pictures of their community. Talk with your child about the similarities and differences with your own community and make a poster of the pictures, which compares the two and shows what’s different and the same. Use a chart such as a T-chart or Venn diagram.
- Find a Pen-Pal: If you know of another child who lives somewhere else, coordinate with a parent to set your children up as pen-pals, using technology, when possible. Your child can use email, letters, pictures and video calling to communicate, all under your supervision. Have the children send pictures of their communities to each other.
- Make a Map of People You Know: Take either an international or national map and mark the places where other family members or friends live. Mark the places with a picture of the person or write their names. Talk about where each person lives and the distance between the different places.
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