Emily Cain » Social Studies

Social Studies

Our first Social Studies unit is on communities.  This will be perfect as we set up our new classroom communities.  We will also enjoy a subscription to Scholastic News and learn a lot by reading this weekly magazine.
Students learned that a community is where people live, work, play, and solve problems.  We read about communities in our Social Studies journals and identified what we see in our Bordentown community.  Last week students worked in groups to build different communities, thinking about where different things should go, including our own homes.  We repeated the activity with larger and larger groups, making similar decisions and practicing working as a group.
Students discussed our upcoming Week of Respect and discussed what showing respect looks like.  On Friday we read a "Scholastic News" magazine about the kindness challenge.
Students began the week by brainstorming different problems that can happen in a community, and what the solution might be.  Students also learned about the 3 different kinds of communities: urban, suburban, and rural.
Next students practiced identifying rural, urban, and suburban communities from pictures.  They identified evidence based on the amount and size of buildings and green space.  We also read a Scholastic News article about a "Firefighter Challenge".
After that students were arranged in the classroom into the 2 different types of communities, and they were asked to identify which is which.  Students compared where people live, how they get around, and where they get ice cream in these different communities.  They also wrote about what they would do when visiting relatives in each type of community.
December Holidays:
Students have been learning about the December holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, Las Posadas, and Kwanzaa.  They have listened to read alouds of both nonfiction and fictional stories.  This week students will learn about the Indian holiday of Diwali.
Students will read and disucss a Scholastic News article about a New Year's Walrus.
Students learned about the parts of a map, including the title, grid lines, map key, and compass rose.  Students practiced reading and interpreting several maps using these features.  They also made a map of their own community that included these key features.
Students learned about Martin Luther King Jr and made plans for how they can improve our world.
Next students learned the definition of GEOGRAPHY and about the 7 continents.  We even learned a song.  Students learned about various landforms, including lakes, rivers, oceans, mountains, deserts, valleys, plains, and islands.  We found these landforms on physical maps and learned the difference between physical and political maps.  Students ended the unit by designing a map of their very own continent, that included a title, a compass rose, and at least 5 different landforms.
Students learned about Groundhog Day and made predictions about what they thought might happen.