Wednesday, February 14, 2018

3 Reasons Why Social Studies Notebooks ROCK

Hey Y'all!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous day today and that your children are being little angels!! (It's Valentine's Day...the craziest day my first year teaching was Valentine's Day...if you're kids are acting calm in any way I would be SHOCKED.) I do hope that the chocolate gifts you get do make you feel better at the end of the day!! :)

Today I would like to talk to you about why I think social studies notebooks rock. Now I will be honest, I used to really dislike teaching social studies to my second graders. It was really hard to find good activities and resources, like really hard. Our textbooks were way outdated and the TEKS (the Texas state standards) were really specific. I would spend a lot of time coming up with things to do with my kids and ended up not ever being satisfied with the end product.

Then I thought about transferring the idea of notebooking that we did in science to social studies and it really helped spice things up. My last year teaching second grade I tested out notebooks and started developing ideas that would turn into my Second Grade Social Studies Notebook. Here are three reasons why I think social studies notebooks rock and how you can use them in your class.

They document learning. It's really nice to have a place where everything should be. It's a good refresher for kids to look through and remember lessons we have done in the past. When planning I used them to see what we still needed to get to and what standards we have already mastered. It's also very empowering for the kids. They tend to take ownership over their work more when it is in their notebooks. They know they will take it home at the end of the year and it just matters more to them than typical seat work.

There are so many things you can do with notebooks. For social studies specifically, there is a lot of research done. You can create pockets in notebooks to store notes on index cards or fold paper up and store them inside. I will say that creating pockets and tabs in notebooks does require some fine motor skills and I wouldn't try doing with children younger than 2nd grade. My 2nd graders were just the right age and stage to be able to create many different pockets, tabs and foldables in their notebooks.

Different is always fun and engaging. Children (and adults) get tired of the same old thing. Using notebooks allows you to create several different methods of teaching a lesson. The really cool thing is that you can make your own foldable templates by getting clip art online. You can create any resource you want pretty easily!

I can tell you that children will be more likely to write a lot about being a good citizen when they are using a cool accordion book versus a typical sheet of paper. Little novelties here and there can make a big difference.

My 2nd grade social studies notebook is probably one of my favorite products I've created on TpT. I find it to be the most helpful to teachers because every single standard is addressed. I also think it's cool because it is Texas specific which is really hard to find. If you'd like to see more pictures from that file you can see some below:

 You can always create your own templates for notebooking lessons as well. If you search TPT for notebook templates you should find several. If you are interested in my 2nd Grade Social Studies Notebook it is sold in two parts. You can view part one here and part two here. Right now they are both on sale so it's a great time to pick those up.

Happy Teaching!

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