As teachers uncover the Common Core standards, they will discover that a strong emphasis is placed on moving the students beyond the simple rote memory writing tasks. Students are challenged to do something with the information they read and the content they study. Students are challenged to become stronger writers as they react to content through opinion pieces. At TCI, we have a perfect strategy cued up just for those challenges!
Look at this example taken from the Writing Standards K-5 (p.20). Here the students need to work on writing opinion pieces, support a view, and back it up with supporting evidence. One of the six powerful strategies embedded in every TCI program grades K-12 is the Writing for Understanding strategy. This strategy is perfect for hitting a combo of teaching the skills set forth in the common core writing standards and AT THE SAME TIME, teaching social studies!
Here are a couple of Upper Elementary examples of TCI activities where students will get an opportunity to improve their writing prowess:
Social Studies Alive! Our Community & Beyond, Lesson – “How are People Around the World Alike & Different?” In this lesson, Students compare and contrast their lives with the lives of children in other countries. Pairs study artifacts related to the daily lives of six children from around the world and use Venn diagrams to show similarities and differences between their lives and those of the children they read about. In a culminating writing exercise, students write a letter to one of the six children they studied to tell them what they have learned about similarities and differences among all children around the world.
-Social Studies Alive! Regions of Our Country, Lesson – “A Train Tour of the Northeast.” This wonderful activity gives rich pre-writing experiences as students take a train tour of such sites as Hershey, PA and learn how Hershey Kisses are wrapped. As students make various “stops” they collect notes that are graphically-organizers. In the end, students write a letter to a friend, in which they must include a date, greeting, introductory paragraph, descriptions of three details, what was most interesting, something learned, and specific content words from the text. They also must include a simple visual of one of the sites they visited on their tour.
Social Studies Alive! America’s Past, Lesson – “The Civil War.” Students learn about the experiences of Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Students take a “walking tour” to visit five sites at the battlefield at Gettysburg in July 1863. Students see powerful visuals, act out encampments, and listen to period music on this tour. When students are completed with their visits, they use the information to write a eulogy to the brave soldiers who fought in the civil war.
Download your free 30-day trial to a TCI program and find out for yourself how the marriage of powerful pedagogy and meaningful activities make conquering the common core easier and more fun than ever!