This summer when I found out I would have to create a unit to enhance a topic I already taught, I immediately knew that I wanted to do mine on a social studies concept. History has always interested me and I love learning about things that happened in the past, but social studies has always been the subject that was so horrible to teach. The curriculum is a little boring and our text is less than thrilling. This unit began with a study of where in the world do we live. It never fails, every year my students get our state, country, and city confused. I wanted them to be able to tell me for certain what our state and city were. I started with our universe and worked all the way into each students' actual street address. I used the SMART board to create interactive instruction and some clips from Discovery Education to get their prior knowledge going. My students also responded to a blog post about which continent they would most like to live in at the end of our unit.
Next we moved into talking about each specific type of community. We watched 3 short videos from Discovery Education about each type of community. We then created classroom charts listing the things that would be found in that type of community. Students then took what they had learned from the videos and their peers and created a community foldable (thanks Pinterst!).
I then broke the students up into cooperative learning groups and assigned each group one of the community types: urban, suburban, or rural. As a group, they completed a Netvibes reading and answered questions about what they had learned.
Sorry its so small, I can't figure out how to make the images bigger!
Each group took what they had learned and created a diorama to represent their community.
We never once cracked our text book, and I feel that both my students and I learned so much more then when I force them to read the text book and worry about taking a test to get a grade. I can't wait to plan more units to increase their excitement of social studies and hopefully help some of my students pick up my love of history in the process!