Great books! I actually use Tunes That Teach American History frequently in my own class to incorporate music into my Social Studies curriculum! It's wonderful!
I love the "Do Unto Others" concept! Our district is doing a study with Kent State University on place-based education, poverty (mainly via Ruby Payne), and brain-based learning. As a district leader for this new initiative, have been thinking almost obsessively about different ways to "give back to our community", which is basically the premise of place-based learning. How can we hit important state standards, engage our students, and give something useful back to our community?
Recently, I have settled on having the students create a children's book about the history of our school district. We just got a brand new school and consolidated two elementaries. So, I'm thinking about having the students interview community members to record oral histories and their perspectives. The plan is to trace our school district from the original eight one-room school houses into its current form. When finished, it will be given to the school library, local library, and the historical society. (I'm looking into securing primary sources like pictures or memoirs.) It's going to be a daunting task, but it is well worth it. Once it's organized, I think it's going to unfold relatively smoothly!
Of course, simpler ideas might include a school recycling project, intergrade mentorships, a clothing drive or used toy drive, adopting a park, creating a school garden, etc. One neighboring district has several classes engaged in saving the honeybees by working with beekeepers. There's really no limit to what the students can accomplish! Service projects, no matter how simplistic, are so engaging and meaningful. They teach civic responsibility and can be a useful vehicle to teach state standards in a creative way. It's also very brain-friendly!
As aforementioned! Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!
Lovely ideas, Amanda! I know the "Do Unto Others" idea will be going into December, as I have technically not started it yet. Today, though, we started reading one of the novels I mentioned- Blood on the River. It's something they really haven't read about before, but I think it'll definitely build their schema for American history in fifth grade next year! - Victoria
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