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Social studies needs your help!!

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I am in a very tight situation. I am a grade 4 social studies teacher. In my classroom, I have students of mixed ability. Some students are above grade level, some on grade level and some below grade level. The bulk of students is below grade level.

What activities or instructional strategies could I use in my lesson plans that will cater to the needs of all the children without making any of them feel isolated?

I was thinking about including charts and grouping the students based on different levels.
Charts will all the students because it gives them a clearer understanding of the content area and for my ELL students, it will give them a better visual understanding the topic being discussed.

Do you have any other ideas? thanks for your help....

  • Social studies needs your help!! -

    I am looking for a specialist to give you advice, come back in the late morning and see if you have been answered. I can advise you to however seek out an experienced teacher in your school and present the situation and ask for advice. Folks learn things over time, what works, and what doesn't. Don't hesitate to use that experience.
    Check back in the late morning. Thanks for posting.

  • Social studies needs your help!! -

    I also had mixed students, but in a different discipline. Have you considered having them work in groups? Groups of 4 worked very well for me. Of course, you have to know the student's abilities first.

    With high school students, groups of 4 worked very well. In each group there was an EXCELLENT student, a POOR student and 2 in-between. They got a "group grade" so they worked hard to be sure everyone understood what we were doing. Naturally the exceptional student usually became the leader.

    Please try this GOOGLE Search and hopefully you will get acceptable ideas.


  • Social studies needs your help!! -

    Charts and any other visuals you can think of will help a great deal with all students, including ELL students. Anything that helps them organize the information they need to learn is helpful, and one way to find out what works is to try many, many of them! Bob Pursley also gave you good advice in seeking out other teachers' ideas -- what has worked, what hasn't.

    I've found that grouping kids as Sra mentioned above works, too -- better with younger kids than older kids, IMO!

    (Older kids seem to get wise to this and a few are happy to "skate along" and let the sharper students "carry" them. As you supervise kids when they're working in groups, you can prevent a lot of that. Another way is to give a group grade so that the kids in each group decides who gets how many points. THEY know who worked and who didn't!!)

    Here are some websites with graphic organizers you can print out or copy:

    You can use graphic organizers as you present new information, as students organize information from which to study, as students prepare to write up what they have learned, etc.

    Here are some websites for teaching ESL/TEFL that have sections that should be helpful to you also:
    Check out For the Teacher, Group Formation, Kids, Vocabulary, and others.
    Check out different categories at the left.
    This online book will give you many, many ideas about what's going on inside your students' heads, especially the ELL students'! The chapters are linked at the left. The point of this is that anyone who teaches ELL students is always teaching English along with whatever subject areas you are focusing on.

    Please feel free to post again if you'd like more ideas.

  • Social studies needs your help!! -

    You've received some excellent advice from three very experienced teachers.

    Grouping for math and reading is a good idea. Reading materials with the same content but at different reading levels are useful so that the class can hold lively discussions.

    As a 7th-8th grade social studies teacher, I assigned individual visual projects that involved all of the students. Visual and creative learners profited by getting a feel for what we were studying. Maps, illustrated timelines, and three-dimensional projects were included.

  • Social studies needs your help!! -

    Posters and collages are also good visual projects.

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