June 7, 2017

SS Overview Map

Hey friends!! Just wanted to drop in to let you all know that I have picked topics for my social studies units this year!!

I just wanted to start off by saying how disappointed I am in the Arkansas state social studies standards! They are so vague, broad, and redundant it's ridiculous. I'm all for teachers having more of a say in what topics they cover, but I don't want to teach something that the teacher before me previously covered thoroughly. (Yes I know that's where vertical and horizontal alignment come in, but in my tiny school there is very little of that, unfortunately) There is also no need to have basically the same standard from K-6th. I liked our old standards much, much better. They were more defined, but still broad enough I could pick my topics. I also learned that from K-8th grade there is only one standard on the Civil War, and one standard on both of the World Wars. That seems crazy to me. Anyway....I'm sure there could be a lot of debate on our standards, or the standards of any state for that matter. Although, I am less than pleased with how our standards are written I was able to incorporate probably 90% of them into my topics.

I also think that social studies teachers are little more fortunate than other departmentalized subject areas. Because, we are not tested. I don't know about you, but I never have ever had anyone breathing down my back, wanting to know super specific details about my social studies class. This is beneficial to me because I am able to stray a little from the standards, teach more than is in the standards, and do what is best for my kids. If plans need to change it is absolutely no problem because sadly, the administration doesn't really care.

Okay rant over! :)

So without further adieu. Here are the topics I have picked for my social studies classes this year.




So there you have it! I hope this helps you plan your own units a little bit too! I will link a file for this for you to download from my TpT store as well if you would like to print it.

My own team had some questions, so I'm going to address them here in case you were wondering the same thing!  :)

1. Yes I have my students memorize their state and capitals, and label maps.
Now we don't spend forever labeling maps, and it is not the focus of my instruction, but I find that memorization is very powerful. There is a deep sense of satisfaction and pride that comes when you have to work to memorize something. Anything to build up their self esteem, and it's not busy work! I always have them memorize something important that is useful. When a kid can't tell you that California is on the west coast, and Florida is on the east coast we have a problem! This is knowledge that our kiddos need, and I fear because of the way our standards are written it is something that is more often than not getting left behind.

2. Yes, I teach economics.
I will address economics each 9 weeks. It is woven into my units. For me, it just doesn't make sense to teach economics on it's own.

3. Yes, I realize that this is A LOT to teach in one 9 weeks.
I may not get to all of this, but I will have the resources available. Also, I only spend 1-2 weeks on each topic. I could spend a semester or more on some of these topics, but my hope is to expose my kids to as many things as I can in the two years that I have them. They will get more in depth knowledge of these topics in high school.

4. Yes, I will teach AR History in my 5th grade classes. 
Remember when I said my standards are very redundant? That is so much  the case on our Arkansas standards. So, I'm going to have to do a little thinking to come up with really great topics for that class! I will update the files as soon as I make up my mind! :)

So that's it! If you're still with my thanks for reading! Look for the first mini unit by July!  Don't forget to download your copy of the overview! If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to email me! :)

June 5, 2017

2017-2018 Schedule

Hello friends!! I am bound and determined to keep my blogging going during this school year. I usually blog a few times during the summer, and then the school year hits and before I know it's May again! Sound familiar??!! So I thought I'd start this year off by sharing how I set up the first part of the school year. Now that I've been teaching this grade level for 2 years, I am getting more confident about sharing what we have been doing.  But first, I want to share with you my situation because it is a little bit different than most teachers, and it will help you make sense of my schedule a little more.

I teach at a small Title I school. We are actually consolidated with a school about 10 miles away, but we kept our building. We are a K-5 campus, but we do have 3 and 4 year old Pre-k program that share our grounds.  I teach fourth and fifth grade ELA and social studies. I have fourth grade until lunch, and then fifth grade until the end of the day. Fourth grade is my homeroom so I do get them back at the end of the day for a little while.  I am also my school's literacy coach for grades K-5. I am the elementary schools ACSIP Process Manager, and taking classes for a master's degree in administration. So I am very, very scheduled! Oh, and my prep period is never the same which is why I have 4 different schedules, and we teach our own PE. Now if you're still with me, and not totally confused let's take a look at what my week looks like, and how I block off time. :)

2017-2018 Schedule
Monday & Tuesday

7:45-8:00: attendance, morning work
8:00-8:40: prep period (computer lab)
8:40-9:00: Morning Meeting (4th Grade)
9:00-10:00: Reading Workshop
10:00-11:00: Writer's Workshop
11:00-11:25: Social Studies
11:25-12:05: Lunch and Recess
12:05-12:25: Class Meeting (5th Grade)
12:25-1:25: Reading Workshop
1:25-2:25: Writer's Workshop
2:25-2:45: Social Studies
2:45-3:00:Recess
3:00-3:20: Read Aloud, clean up & go home (4th Grade)

Wednesday

7:45-8:00: attendance, morning work
8:00-8:20: Morning Meeting (4th Grade)
8:20-9:20: Reading Workshop
9:20-10:20: Writer's Workshop
10:20-10:45: Social Studies
10:45-11:25: prep period (art)
11:25-12:05: Lunch and Recess
12:05-12:25: Class Meeting (5th Grade)
12:25-1:25: Reading Workshop
1:25-2:25: Writer's Workshop
2:25-2:45: Social Studies
2:45-3:00:Recess
3:00-3:20: Read Aloud, clean up & go home (4th Grade)

Thursday

7:45-8:00: attendance, morning work
8:00-8:20: Morning Meeting (4th Grade)
8:20-9:20: Reading Workshop
9:20-10:20: Writer's Workshop
10:20-11:25: Social Studies
11:25-12:05: Lunch and Recess
12:05-12:50: prep period (computer lab)
12:50-1:00: Class Meeting (5th Grade)
1:00-2:00: Reading Workshop
2:00-2:45: Writer's Workshop
2:45-3:00:Recess
3:00-3:20: Read Aloud, clean up & go home (4th Grade)

Friday

7:45-8:00: attendance, morning work
8:00-8:20: Morning Meeting (4th Grade)
8:20-9:30: assessments/independent reading
9:30-10:30: Social Studies
10:30-11:25: PE
11:25-12:05: Lunch and Recess
12:05-12:50: prep period (computer lab)
12:50-1:10: Class Meeting (5th Grade)
1:10-2:20: Assessments/Independent Reading
2:20-2:45: Social Studies
2:45-3:00:Recess
3:00-3:20: Read Aloud, clean up & go home (4th Grade)

And there you have it, my crazy schedule!! My hope is that this might help another new teacher to split grade levels/departmentalized subjects. I'm going to spend the next few days breaking down what I do during each subject, and the rationale behind it all! Also, these times are just a guide to help keep me on track. I "borrow" time from other subjects all the time, but I find over the week everything was covered about the same amount.

Do you teach different grade levels/subjects? Leave any tips you have for managing your time in the comments! I'm always looking for better ways to stream line things to get the most bang for my buck! ;)
Have a great rest of your day, and thanks for stopping by!