The majority of the Social Studies standards taught in third grade in Georgia generally revolve around famous American figures. We study Susan B. Anthony, Paul Revere, Thurgood Marshall, Mary McCleod Bethune, and so on. It can be very hard to find information that is accessible on the student’s reading levels. My district, like many others, has adopted small readers called American Heroes by Houghton Mifflin. While they provide great information, they are often at a higher readability level than grade level. Compounded by the fact that 2/3 of my class was reading 2 years or more below grade level and I was sunk!
About mid way through the year (or maybe longer- when I returned from maternity leave) I decided to try a new approach. I created a “workbook” about each figured based on the text. I know, it sounds so backwards and boring and against all research. However, just listen for a minute.
Using my brand new Promethean Board (which I LOVE), I imported each page of my workbook into a new slide. Before reading the book or anything, the whole class looked at the first page (after the cover) and predicted and filled in what we thought the answers could be. Then we completed the reading as a shared reading, using the first workbook page to set the purpose for our reading. As we read when students heard an answer, they put their thumb up. We stopped and then adjusted or confirmed our answer. When we completed the page all the students filled in the answers. Because some students wrote more quickly than others, students could color in the title page as they waited. Then we would move to the next page following the same format.
Ideal? No. However, my students did learn and retain it. Using the board was a huge motivator and then requiring them to be accountable for the answers as we read kept our many, many, many ADHD student on task (or close).
These packets could be done in pairs or individually if students were stronger readers. Maybe another year I can try this! I am attaching my first Famous American packet about Paul Revere. The packet also contains a song (not created by me- by another teacher in my district, the famous Wadsworth poem and an Important frame).
Just as a side note: on United Streaming there is a video over the book And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? I can’t decide if I want to start the unit this way or end this unit with this….
Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website (www.mandygregory.com) and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.