One of the largest problems that I have to solve each year in my classroom is how to teach social studies. We are given very little resources for social studies and no time in our schedule!!!! How about you? Last year I decided to really focus on how to integrate social studies into our day, teach the students the best lessons available and appease the powers that be as best I could. The first task was to find books that I could build a social studies library with. While I can't afford every book in this post, I tried to focus on a few key ones and check the rest out from the library when needed.
If one can be addicted to books then I'm certainly addicted to True Books. They are perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade. The students are drawn to the vivid photographs making them a hit for everyone. I purchased one from every native American region for my students to read. If you are interested, try to purchase them used on Amazon. Prime members get some used books shipped for free. Each book ran around $4 with library binding. That's right library binding. They are sure to last a long time. Most of them look brand new. If they didn't look brand new they had just a bit of wear. Only having one book for students is an issue. To overcome this we split the class into groups and have each one study a tribe. We then came together and debrief with classroom conversation and show projects that we have worked on.
Samuel Eaton and Sarah Morton are always a hit with students. The vivid photographs capture their attention. "The Thirteen Colonies"s is a great book, but not as captivating as Samuel and Sarah. I haven't purchased "Land of the Pilgrims' Pride" with Ellis the elephant, but it's next on my list. If you have it would you please leave a comment on how you like it?
"The Name Jar" and "Grandfather's Journey" are both great books that tell stories of immigration. I have a feeling I'll be collecting the entire collection of Ellis the Elephant books this year.
"How to Behave and Why" is a fabulous book that explains why we follow rules. It's not fancy, but it does a great job of explaining the content. The biography books by Meltzer do a nice job of showing contributions by exceptional citizens. There is a whole series so you could pick one near and dear to you.
Finding the perfect book on economics for children is an arduous task!!!! The books on the bottom row have the exact content to teach students. They are written on a lower level, but sometimes it's nice to have a quick read that does the job.
Have you found a book on mapping that you can't live without? This is a tough subject to write on. I used "Mapping Penny's World" and "Follow That Map!" last year. They got the job done.
If I had to have one book with symbols, "America" is a good one. It has a lot of nice illustrations that show symbols.
It's hard to suggest culture books when there are so many. I try to focus on informational text that engages students and explains the basics of the culture. We didn't have enough time in our school year to study a meaningful amount of cultures last year so we came up with a plan. My grade level held a culture fair. Each class studied a different country. The students then got to rotate through the classes to learn about different ones. It was a great way to increase learning and engagement within a short time span.
Aside from finding books to use I also had to write lessons that ran about 20 minutes each. We needed to have materials that were hands-on, engaging and explicit. I worked all year to develop lesson suggestions and materials that fit my student's needs and helped them to master the content. If you don't have time to do this, you can click on the link below to visit my store and materials.