I am writing a quick post today to share two of my recent favorite “activities” for social studies that are quick and easy to implement.
1. Social Studies “Head” Organizer
I don’t know about your social studies standards, but we have what feels like a hundred different people to learn about and remember. Geesh, sometimes I even get some of the people mixed up in my head! When we study a new person that is important to remember, we make a quick interactive organizer “head.”
I type out the name of the person most of the time. However, I keep a set of “heads” ready to go in case we need one on the fly. For the heads, we write 3-4 sentences describing the person and why they are important to that period of time. Then the students draw some type of image to help them remember the person. And when they are studying, they can quickly glance at the name and the image and hopefully recall who the person is. Here are some more examples:
Click here to download the “head” organizer I used. (Image from clker.com.)
2. Compelling Quick Writes
The next activity is one commonly used in reading: Quick Writes. I love to use this activity when I am teaching a history topic that is particularly emotional or can evoke mixed reactions in the students. For this particular one, we were discussing The Great Depression. I was reading parts of this book, and stopping periodically to ask questions.
The students were instructed to quickly write their answer or their opinion. Then, we shared with a partner or shared a few with the whole group. Here are some of the questions I asked with this book/topic:
- Why do you think some referred to the day the stock market crashed as Black Tuesday?
- After reading about people stealing to feed their family, I asked the students to write their opinion about this and whether they would steal to feed their family, if needed.
Here are some examples:
As you can see, I only asked 5 questions and we really got into some deep discussions after these. I can’t wait to see what we do with this activity when we study World War II in the upcoming weeks.
Do you have any quick and easy “go-to” social studies ideas or activities?
Join 18,000+ Other Teachers!
Want even more free resources? Enter your information to join my email list and get exclusive access to my freebie library!
You will also receive regular emails with tips, resources, freebies, and updates on paid products.