Last year, I posted a blog about my readers' theater plays. If you visit that link, you will find links to all of my readers' theater plays that supplement many different Social Studies topics. I wrote and use them to teach content at the middle school level, and my wife, an elementary teacher, uses them to work with kids on reading fluency. We sell most of them through her store, but the set I want to highlight today are my Mesopotamia plays which are available at my store.
Mesopotamia, the very first civilization can be daunting for a lot of students. Strange sounding place names (like Ur) and vocabulary terms (like Ziggurat) can scare some kids away from this fascinating group of cultures. My leveled readers' theater plays help make this content more relateable.
Students learn about a Mesopotamian myth, the first written laws (Hammurabi's Code), and the invention of writing (cuneiform) while performing these plays in small groups. I use these at least once in every unit I teach, and my students really have fun with them while learning history!
This week, I'm going to highlight my European Colonization Reading Response Journals. These activities are great to use as warm-ups, or as a way to introduce the process of generating and testing a Social Studies hypothesis. Personally, I typically use them to introduce a topic.
My European Colonization set includes these 3 topics: Spanish colonization, French colonization, and English colonization. In each, students are presented with a question about which they generate a hypothesis. Then, they read a brief selection and complete 5 Marzano aligned tasks while considering the accuracy of their initial hypotheses. The activity concludes with them re-visiting and evaluating their hypotheses citing evidence from the reading.
So, click the link below to check out my European Colonization Reading Response Journals which is also available as part of a larger bundle, and don't forget to check out and follow my store for more great American History resources!
Organizing students to do various tasks is so second-nature to most educators that it might be surprising that organizing students to interact with content is actually a Marzano element. But, like just about anything Marzano related, it's all about being intentional. Why are you putting those students in that group? What is the end goal?
Below are some things you (or an administrator during an evaluation) could look for to see if you are implementing this element in your classroom.
My classroom almost always operates in table groups of 4. To help things move more quickly and to better manage my class, each student has a number between 1 - 4 at their table and is either an "A" or "B" partner. It's easier for me to say, "Person 4 get books for your table while person 2 gets paper," or "Person 3 facilitate a quick discussion about..." than to list off each individual's task or responsibility every time there is a group related task. They also work help facilitate the many variety of round robin group activities I use in class on an almost daily basis.
To keep it all straight, I use the FREE Table Mats found at the link below. Click the link to take a look, and don't forget to check out the rest of my store for other great Marzano aligned Social Studies resources!
Help Your Students Learn About Native America At Their Own Reading Level With My Native America Differentiated Readings!
One of the real tragedies in Social Studies curricula is very small amount of attention given to Native Americans, and the New World prior to European Contact. The Western Hemisphere was filled with hundreds of ancient cultures for thousands of years. These civilizations developed complex religious, structures and civilizations, yet are rarely mentioned except in relation to their conquest at the hands of Europeans in the 1500 to 1800's. Because they appear so seldomly in most state standards, it can be hard to find modern resources to study these great peoples.
To try to fill some of this gap, I created my Native America Differentiated Readings. All of my differentiated reading sets contain three articles; each written at a middle school and upper elementary reading level (so 6 articles total), and my Native America set is no different. The topics included are: Native American Regions, Native American Lifestyles, and Native Americans Today.
Have you ever tried a reading activity with your students that calls for them to highlight what is important in a reading passage? If your students are anything like mine, they either go "highlighter crazy" and highlight almost everything on the page or just write "it's all important" in highlighter at the top.
If everything is the most important part, nothing is. The same problem arises when students skim. Many simply cannot pick out what is important from what isn't. Dr. Marzano picked up on this shortcoming, and placed it as number five on his teaching map.
The key with this element (as with most things) is to not assume your students can identify what is important - you must intentionally train them in this skill, then provide many small-scale opportunities for them to practice it. Most of my resources utilize this element in some way, but the ones that do so the most overtly are my Differentiated Readings, Reading Response Journals, and Native American Hypothesis Activities.
Click the links below to take a look at them, and be sure to follow this blog and my store for more great Social Studies resources and Marzano posts!
I'm a 14 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.