Sunday, October 16, 2016

Interactive Notebooks: 1st Grade Social Studies

Interactive Notebooks
This year, we decided as a team to utilize interactive notebooks for our science and social studies units.  This decision was made made in an effort to be more cross curricular and to provide our first grade students with a more hands on approach to learning the content we were covering. Our first unit that we used our notebooks for was our communities unit in social studies.  Before beginning this process, I was a little worried that this would be too much for firsties, but now that we are into our unit, we our loving our notebooks!

We started our year learning about community helpers.  This is an extension off what students learned in kindergarten.  I was hoping that the notebooks would provide a place for students compare community helpers, keep a word bank, and be hold our assessments and other activities that we did in social studies.  I was so thrilled when I found the best resources to meet this goal!
Why make it cross curricular?
In my classroom, it is really important for me to make my science and social studies units cross curricular.  I want to integrate them across the content of the day as much as possible because we get such a small amount of time to teach science and social studies.  We spend at least 60 minutes a day (if not more) in our major core areas, but yet we only get 30 minutes for science and social studies.  I value the content in these areas as much as I do the content in our core areas.  I also think that the same "rules" about the amount of exposure students need to develop mastery also applies here too.  I spend a lot of time looking for quality resources, books, and centers to leave out throughout the day, so that students can have repeated exposure to this content as well. I love that the interactive notebooks provide an hands on-way for students to capture their learning, and utilize many different skills when completing science and social studies tasks.

Reading about Community Helpers
Scholastic Teacher Store
Last year we asked our dear teacher librarian if she had any extra money to purchase books for our students that would match our community helpers unit.  We searched for the best "bang for our buck" and decided that we really liked this Community Helpers set from scholastic.  It contains 6 sets of books (6 books in a set) about different community helpers.  The books have beautiful pictures, nonfiction text features, and contain glossaries and key words to build vocabulary. The only down side is that they are written for some of the later in the year reading levels.  Students can however read the pictures. We would use these books as shared reading books, read aloud books, or read them during social studies to help use research different community helpers.

Researching about Community Helpers
Get this resource here
The first part of our notebook was dedicated to helping students capture information about community helpers and use their research skills.  I found there amazing foldables from Elementary Nest.
 I love the Labor Day and Community Helpers activities because there are 9 of these fun foldable community helper information sheets.  Everyday in social studies, we would read a book about a community helper, gather information on a class bubble map, and then glue in our matching foldable, and fill out or draw what we had learned about how they help, what they use, and what they can do.  My students were able to color the picture of the community helper with the time left or the next day during morning work.  This set also includes two matching activities that reinforces what each community helper does and the tools they use.  I loved leaving this activity for a parent volunteer during reading groups.

Building Vocabulary and Collecting Words for Community Helpers
Get this resource here
The other amazing resource that I used for our interactive notebooks was the Writing about Community Helpers from First Grade School House.  This set is amazing for stocking my writing center with pages for students to write about community helpers during work on writing time.  There are 13 different writing pages so students can write and draw about community helpers.  The set also include colored and black and white vocabulary cards.  My kids loved using these cards, and they were HUGE for my ELL students.  We add the community helper word list to the front of our notebooks, and then added everyday different words that we felt were important to community helpers. This set filled our writing center with wonderful resources to make our study of community helpers cross curricular.

I love how our interactive notebooks for Community helpers turned out.  I feel like my students were using the vocabulary and ideas they were learning about throughout the day.  I also feel like I have an amazing portfolio of work that shows off their research skills, their ability to collect and understand vocabulary, and their thoughts about the different members of our community!  I am so thrilled that we found the amazing resources that we found to make this unit happen!
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