Sunday, February 8, 2015

ELA Across the Curriculum & FREEBIE!

We've heard the words "cross curricular" for quite some time now, but with the pressure to teach our students how to master the material needed to take the inevitable state exams, it's been said by many teachers that science and social studies take an unfortunate back seat. I'm hoping that with this post, you will be inspired to take back those science and social studies reigns, and find a perfect blend of history, science, and the much needed critical thinking, test-prep skills!

There are so many ways to approach this topic, but I'll share with you some simple things that I do with my students in an effort to integrate every course throughout my day!

What I'm about to share is not ground breaking, but, it IS a great reminder just HOW to integrate two amazing subjects into your day without losing any state exam prep time.

I wanted something that would be print and go for my students.  I wanted something concrete for them to hold in their hands, to reflect on, and also to interact with one another while using.  I came up with a couple of worksheets that assess ELA skills, as well as a focused word study form.  

I focused on these key skill areas:

Content-Specific Focus Word Skills:

Here's what I came up with!

It's my hope that while learning either social studies or science, that students will be gaining a sense of comprehension, as well as a much-needed sense of critical thinking and reading skills.  

Take a look at what my students did when they were given this task during our social studies class.

As I already mentioned, I incorporated an illustration task.  My students had such a great time trying to illustrate their words!  The connection between something visual, and something written in words has a huge impact on how our students remember information.  Sure, it's fun, but little do they realize, it's helping that information "lock in" to their memories!  Can you say win, win?!

Here's a look at some other amazing artwork produced by a couple of my in-class Van-Goghs today!

 This was one student's interpretation of plantation life.

 Here's another student's take on hardship: a boat facing a furry of thunder and lightning on an angry sea.  Love it!
So, for the most part, we used our textbooks to complete these pages, but you are certainly not limited to them.  You could use a variety of texts and a variety of topics to complete the tasks given.  If you are a tech fan, or your kiddos enjoy researching on the good old world wide web, I HIGHLY recommend using a site called Word Central!  It's hosted by the well-known Merriam-Webster.

Take a look!
On my "Focus Word" hand out, I have a section for synonyms and antonyms.  If you're not familiar with "Word Central," take a minute to check it out!  Students can enter any word in the search bar, and choose to find the definition, use a thesaurus to look at alternative words (synonyms), and at the same time, this site also provides the antonyms for most of the words being searched!  Key word: most.  Some words didn't have synonyms.  Some didn't have antonyms. However, Web Central offers words that are very close in meaning, so we would use their synonyms and/or antonyms, if needed.  We simply had to justify that it made sense with the meaning of our word.
 It's the perfect blend of technology, discovery, and information overflow! So much fun. :)
Working hard and having fun!  Yes...I said "having fun!"  Without even asking my students what they thought about our ELA/Social Studies lesson, they were TELLING me that it was "fun!"  Yah! Mission. Accomplished.

I'm THRILLED to be able to give you the opportunity to share this fun lesson with your kiddos!  To download it, simple click HERE!

This was my very first post with friends here at Upper Elementary Snapshots, so I want to thank you for stopping by to see what I've been up to in my upper elementary classroom!

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 With love from my classroom to yours!