This school year I will have two new teachers on my third grade team. They are veteran teachers, but they have not taught third grade. One important strategy I think they should use is being creative with the use of our Social Studies textbooks. We are lucky because our Social Studies textbooks are consumable. This means students can write in them, highlight, circle, underline, and most importantly...they can CUT THEM APART!
After reading a chapter in the Social Studies textbook, students may not be able to identify the three regions of North Carolina. They may not be able to describe characteristics of each region. If the students create a brochure of North Carolina by cutting out graphics and textboxes, they take ownership for their learning.
Students read about the topic, talked about the topic, wrote about the topic, drew illustrations about the topic. Some designed Thinking Maps. Others used boxes and bullets to state the main idea and supporting details. They read their brochures to each other. They took them home and read it to family members. They created an authentic product which helped them retain their knowledge.
A textbook does not have to be boring. You can make it fit into your Balanced Literacy framework.
Students who may not be confident artists can cut out photos and maps instead of being pressured to draw illustrations.
Students can be creative and display the information they learn in whatever style they choose.
Reluctant writers may decide to use bulleted phrases instead of paragraphs.
Students show that they can summarize text instead of copying directly from the textbook. This is a great opportunity for conferencing during Reading Workshop or Writing Workshop.
The box contains the main idea and the bullets list supporting details. What a great link between a nonfiction reading strategy and writing!