Units 1 & 2 Teacher Tips

Fifth Grade Social Studies
Where do I begin?
Teaching Unit 1
Moving Forward with the Next Units
Marlo Mong
September 2, 2008
Out with the old. In with the NEW!!!
Day 1 QCC
• The text book tells me
what to teach.
• Day 1=Chapter 1=page 1
• Endless vocabulary lists
and multiple choice or
matching tests, then
move on to the next
Day 1 GPS
• Start with introducing
concepts so students can
build important schema
• Design an authentic
activity/task that will
demonstrate student
• Think about trade books
that will enrich the content
being taught.
Here’s a Curriculum Map…
…the Curriculum Map
…the Curriculum Map
Here’s a framework…
More of a Framework…
Teaching Unit 1
• Think about all you do to teach
routines and procedures at the
beginning of the year…this is unit 1!
– Lasts about 2 weeks
– Introduces all the Enduring Understandings
that will be used in Social Studies
– Accesses students’ prior knowledge
– Builds the scaffolding needed to understand
historical, geographic, government, and
economic concepts.
– A great way to integrate reading strategies
and good literature in this unit and beyond!
K-5 Suggested Enduring Understandings
Introducing Economics
and Establishing Community in Your Class
The Great Fuzz Frenzy
by Janet Stevens and Susan Steven Crummel
Connecting Theme: Scarcity
Enduring Understanding: The student will
understand that because people cannot have
everything they want, they have to make choices.
Connecting Theme: Individuals, Groups, and
Enduring Understanding: The student will
understand that what people, groups, and institutions
say and do can help or harm others whether they
mean to or not.
The Great Fuzz Frenzy
Give students good mentor texts that help them make
connections to their lives.
Engage students and activate prior knowledge by doing prereading activities.
Discuss with students any new concepts and vocabulary that
reflect why you chose the story.
– Scarcity, interdependence, opportunity cost
Tie more than one EU with a story if possible.
– What else could we teach in this story?
Integrate reading, writing, and social studies whenever
– What is Violet’s next adventure going to be?
– What will the prairie dogs do with the tennis ball this time?
Introducing Distribution of Power and
Establishing Routines and Prodcedures
When Owen’s Mom Breathed Fire
By Pija Lindenbaum
Connecting Theme: Distribution of Power
Enduring Understanding: The student will
understand that laws and people's beliefs help
decide who gets to make choices in government.
Connecting Theme: Rule of Law
Enduring Understanding: The student will
understand that laws are made to keep people safe
and explain what the government can and cannot
When Owen’s Mom Breathed Fire
How will I engage my students?
– Give students some play-doh and ask them the
following question:
– If you could be anything you wanted real or
imaginary, what would it be and why?
What new vocabulary is needed?
– distribution of power, responsibilities
Are there other EUs that could be taught?
– Getting along with others, making changes/choices
What other content can I teach?
– What will Owen’s mom turn into next time?
– What is something someone in your family would
turn into? Why? What would you do?
Now what do I do?
• Introduce a “Concept Wall” to your students
– Visual reference to help students organize their learning
– Bulletin board, permanent marker on white board, Smart
Board flipchart, interactive notebook
– Connecting Theme and Enduring Understandings listed at
the top
– Include broad essential questions
– SS GPS listed under appropriate Enduring Understanding
– Examples from lessons, important vocabulary, student
work, book covers
It could look like this…
Or this!
Photo courtesy of Yvette Welch,
Gilmer County Schools
Using the Next Units
• Now that you have helped students understand
the themes of Social Studies, now it is time to
teach the content!
• Add to your concept wall!
– The broad and specific essential questions that will
guide student learning.
– Here is where to include the standards you are
going to teach.
– Include important content vocabulary for the unit.
– Visuals of the sponge and “hook” activities you will
use to introduce the next unit to your students.
How do I know what concepts to teach?
• Use your curriculum map!
– Unit One on every map lists the
concepts used for the rest of the
– Every piece of content for the rest
of the year is listed under a
relevant concept
• These are suggestions – make them
work for your class!
• Keep up with it all using a
concept wall.
Econ Lesson Activities!
• Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday
by Judith Viorst
• Use this story to teach students about saving,
opportunity cost, voluntary exchange, and price
• Activity: Four Corners
• Play four corners but instead of calling out numbers, students
will go to a corner after choosing from one of four options.
Students will keep track of their choices on a chart they take with
them from corner to corner.
• After playing several rounds, students will return to their seats
and look at the choices they made. For each choice, the student
will identify two benefits for that choice and one cost (what they
gave up) for that choice.
What is opportunity cost?
•Opportunity cost is understanding the gains of choosing one object
over the cost of giving up the next best alternative.
Where should I live?
First Choice:
The suburbs
Next best alternative:
Downtown high rise condo
First Choice:
The suburbs
Next best alternative:
A country manor
Opportunity Cost
•By living in the suburbs, I gain a quieter area &
lower cost of living.
•By giving up living downtown, I lose the
opportunity to have a 5 minute commute to work.
•By living in the suburbs, it is closer to mass
transit and shops I use on a regular basis
•By giving up a country manor, I lose a larger
piece of land.
Excellent Economic Resources
http://www.free.ed.gov/ ***
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-worldfactbook/index.html ***
• http://www.fte.org/
Final Thoughts
• Remember, Unit 1 is the key! Connect the Social Studies
curriculum to what students already know.
– Front end planning and instruction will pay off in the long run.
– Students will know more than memorized dates, names, and places.
– Make the concept wall an integral part of your teaching…it will help
you and the students make connections within and between
• As you begin to teach the standards in Unit 2 and beyond
always, always, always refer back to the Enduring
Understandings on your concept wall.
• Integrate reading and social studies as often as you can!
• Any questions or comments?

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