Here in Florida one of the state requirements for third grade social studies is teaching the 50 states within their 5 regions. It’s one of my favorite things to teach! One of the things I’ve learned over the years is to work on giving students more autonomy and choice. I’ve found that organizing my thinking around how to simplify that process for me has brought back more joy to my teaching and higher engagement for my students.
The unit that I’ve been working on for the last few years contains some of my best classroom tested ideas. My daily plan is pretty simple.
Begin with a student friendly review
I have a powerpoint that I go through with the kids that features the states in Midwest region. Typically, as an incentive, I allow a student to lead this review if they know all the states in the region and can tell me about a landmark in the region as well. This review takes about 3-5 minutes typically, but is a great way to offer students who need to be ‘the sage on the stage’ this opportunity.
Teach 2-3 states with the teaching powerpoint
There are two different teaching powerpoints in this unit. At the end of each lesson there is a four question quiz. To get my kids up and moving, I have them share their answers 4 corners style. Each corner of the room represents a letter (A, B, C, D). Once I ask the question, students show their thinking by walking quietly to the corner that represents their answer.
Allow students the time to practice independently or with a partner to strengthen their skills.
This is actually my favorite part to watch! In my unit, I give you the choice board that I use, but there’s an editable version if you’d like to share other videos or resources with your students than what I’ve provided. I have done choice boards two different ways. I’ve pretested the whole class and then assigned them a level based on their performance. I’ve also done a different level each day over five days.
This year, I had one large group, and one smaller group. The large group did a level a day, and a small group of advanced students started on Level 3. The hum in the room is amazing and I get to walk around and support students as needed during this 20 minute period. I’ve loaded lots of different types of activities in the unit. Students have a blend of online and hands on practice.
Complete the mastery checks and assessments for formative or summative grades
The mastery level checks are a great conversation tool for understanding more clearly what students are recalling from their reading and activities. There are a few different versions of the assessment embedded in the unit for you to use as in class or out of class practice.
There are five sets to this unit: The Midwest, The Mountain West, The West, the South and the Northeast. Each unit will be released seperately and then bundled when all five units are completed. You can find them here in my blog shop or on Teachers Pay Teachers. Thanks so much for stopping by!