When the pandemic began, my oldest began learning at home: first, by me (and sort of his school) then full-time via virtual school that was conducted by his school district. It was awesome but I was privy to how little social studies instruction students actually receive.
Social Studies is not just one subject and each subject has its own set of skills that students need to learn in order to be successful. But if students aren’t really learning social studies in the classroom, how can they practice these skills?
Social Studies By Grading Period
I can’t solve the problem of teachers not believing social studies is important and deserves dedicated time in the classroom. This is a problem that begins with administration in most cases and I can yell till I’m blue in the face, I can’t really change this perspective.
What I am capable of doing is creating a resource that takes little time yet focuses on the major topics in social studies curriculum: geography, government, history, economics, and then supporting these by focusing on vocabulary too.
I introduce you to Social Studies Skill Builders.
These TpT resources are divided into four grading periods, each containing 45-days worth of worksheets. Just one page a day can improve your student’s social studies skills and knowledge.
Social Studies Skill Builders: First Nine Weeks
This introductory resource was created using Pennsylvania 3rd grade social studies standards. It doesn’t address all of them rather, just a few of them, giving students opportunities to practice skills. The prompts were created with the idea that students need to be able to complete this work entirely on their own.
They either know it or they can figure it out. Students shouldn’t need additional sources to answer these questions instead requiring encouragement to use deductive reasoning with questions they don’t know.
This resource works best with students in 3rd and 4th grade but is listed as Not Grade Specific because students of all ages can benefit. Maybe you have a group of 6th graders who are behind on their social studies knowledge. Maybe you have a group of 9th graders who have never really had social studies. It happens. Every classroom is different.
Social Studies Skill Builders: Second Nine Weeks
This is exactly the same as the first nine weeks. I wanted another nine weeks of the same work/different prompts to ensure students knew what they were doing.
Social Studies Skill Builders: Third Nine Weeks
Students are introduced to new standards and new prompts. The standards are still PA 3rd grade social studies standards but I used different ones. Some of the prompts in this nine weeks will need a teachers guiding hand. Some of the prompts are more challenging and students may not have a background knowledge nor will they be able to answer on their own.
I would preview each page to determine which ones will require a separate source to look up the information. Some may even need you to provide the information such as elected officials.
Social Studies Skill Builders: Fourth Nine Weeks
The final installment in this series is mostly a copy of the third nine weeks with changed prompts but there are also a few new pages. Again, students will probably need help with some of the information or be provided with the information.
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What do some of the prompts look like
You can download the free sample from my TpT store by clicking here. You get five pages, enough for one week if you use a page a day. If you check out the first nine weeks paid resource (click the image above) there is a preview that includes the next five pages. These pages aren’t downloadable but you can at least see them.
For the second, third, and fourth nine weeks, if you look at the previews, you can see five pages of the resource.
Ways to use this resource
I like the idea of adding this to your morning work if that is something you do. What I would do if I taught elementary school students would be to create a weekly social studies packet. Staple five pages together and voila, a nice packet to supplement our social studies learning.
It would also be cool to create a social studies center activity. Create five tables that students rotate through with each table focusing on a different social studies subject. Print out a few pages for each table or all nine weeks. If you can do a social studies center twice every nine weeks that would be best.
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