Thursday, January 22, 2015

Resources for Teaching About 9 Amazing Americans

In addition to running this blog, my RVing with the Rakis blog and homeschooling full time, I also create and sell resources that teachers can use in their classrooms and home schooling parents can use to help out their children.  To be fair, I am not creating nearly as many resources this year as I did in the past 9 years, for 2 reasons.  Reason #1 – I already have over 500 resources available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, so much of what I need for my kiddos I have created already.  Reason #2 – I only have 3 students this year, so I have need of less resources.  However, I am going through resources that I made while I was teaching in a classroom full time and “cleaning them up” with clearer teacher directions, better fonts, etc.  I am also finishing out groupings or “series” that I have started and putting them into bundles so that teachers who are interested in buying multiple items from the same category have the opportunity to save some money.  For the next few weeks, I am going to spotlight some of the resources I have available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Four years of my teaching career were spent teaching 3rd grade in Georgia.  A large part of our Social Studies curriculum was to teach students about 9 Americans who were important historical figures.  Through these figures we taught geography, history, government and character.  We looked at the events that shaped their lives to make them who they were.  We also looked at the events that they helped to create and how those events shaped history.

The 9 Americans that are taught as part of the Georgia Performance Standards are: Paul Revere, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Mary McLeod Bethune, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Lyndon B. Johnson and Cesar Chavez. 

When I was teaching this unit, it generally covered two quarters or more, so I made sure to have consistency between each person we studied.  We had a large, classroom wide timeline where we posted important events from each person’s life.  This helped students to make connections between those individuals who worked and lived at the same time and eradicated misconceptions like the idea that Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. were friends – which one student told me before we started our timeline.  Then, after we studied each person, I printed my students these timelines to use as a “cheat sheet” and keep in their notebooks.

Timelines for 9 different Amazing Americans throughout American History.  These resources were designed to help teachers meet the Georgia Performance Standards for 3rd grade Social Studies.  Download now from Raki's Rad Resources.

One thing I learned while teaching this unit was that most of my third graders had great difficulty understanding what life might be like in 1745 or 1900.  The idea that there was life with no electricity, no t.v., no video games, blew their minds.  Then add in things like girls not being able to attend school and they were flabbergasted.  Additionally, they thought that life in 1745 was identical to life in 1920.  In order to help change their misconceptions, I put together Time Machine Power Points.  These Power Points gave students some information to help them truly understand what life was like for each of these people growing up.  To make it more fun, we would turn off the lights, stand up and spin around as if we were being transported to a new time. 

Time Machines for 9 different Amazing Americans throughout American History.  These resources were designed to help teachers meet the Georgia Performance Standards for 3rd grade Social Studies.  Download now from Raki's Rad Resources

Once we had learned the important facts about each of the 9 historical figures, I let the students choose one person to become an expert on.  Using my Amazing Americans Technology Project, the students would research their figure and create a Power Point or Prezi to present to the class with the information they found.  This aligned beautifully with my Informational Writing Unit.  Next, they would use the same information to create a brochure explaining why their person should win an award, which worked us into our Persuasive Writing Unit. 

Technology project for 9 different Amazing Americans throughout American History.  These resources were designed to help teachers meet the Georgia Performance Standards for 3rd grade Social Studies.  Download now from Raki's Rad Resources 

Finally, as a review for our Comprehensive Unit Test, the students would explore the Amazing Americans Internet Scavenger Hunt.  This is one of the first internet scavenger hunts I ever designed, and the way the students responded to it inspired me to create many more. I know have over 40!  It also provided a great way for the kids to solidify their knowledge about these historic individuals.

Internet Scavenger Hunt for 9 different Amazing Americans throughout American History.  These resources were designed to help teachers meet the Georgia Performance Standards for 3rd grade Social Studies.  Download now from Raki's Rad Resources

After I taught this for a few years, I put together the timeline, the technology project, the internet scavenger hunt and the comprehensive test into an Amazing Americans Bundle, which you can find on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Just recently, I bundled all of the American History Time Machine Power Points,including the years 1745 (Paul Revere), 1830 (Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass), 1880 (Mary McLeod Bethune), 1900 (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt), 1920 (Thurgood Marshall and Lyndon B. Johnson) and 1940 (Cesar Chavez),  which you can also find on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I hope that all of these resources will be able to help you better teach your students about these 9 Amazing Americans, whether you live in Georgia or anywhere else in the world. 

 Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources