Yay!  I successfully survived my first day of the 2015-2016 school year!  I am seriously exhausted at this point of the day.  Not only did we have our first student day but we also hosted Open House from 6-7:30.  Does anyone else do this on the first day?  I’m wiped out.  Yet here I am, typing away at my keyboard.  Why?  Well, I wanted to share a fun back to school social studies activity!

Before we really dive into our social studies content each year, I like to do this fun little activity to assess prior knowledge.  Plus, it’s pretty funny for me! 
1.  Give the students a blank piece of paper.
2.  Instruct them to fold it to create the number of rectangles needed.  In this example, we have NINE chapters in our social studies textbook, so I needed NINE rectangles.  Depending on your social studies series, you may need to adjust this!
3.  Have students record the chapter titles in each box.  I allowed them to use their textbook for this portion ONLY!  We all know that some kids need something right in front of them when copying.  🙂
4.  Ask students to draw pictures of what they believe each chapter or unit is talking about.  For example, the first chapter of our book is titled “The First Americans.”  I asked my students to think about: Who they think the first Americans were?  What did they looked like?  Where were they?  Ect.  Some of my kids are right on track.  While others….well, that brings me to the entertaining parts! 
The second chapter of our book is titled, “Age of Exploration.”  It discusses the time period where Christopher Columbus discovers America.  One of my students drew this^^^.  It cracked me up!  His drawing is of a T-Rex and a Pterodactyl!  I don’t ever tell the students that they are wrong on this paper.  After all, it is simply a pre assessment to see what the students know about the upcoming content.  
Then, you have the kid who draws a nearly perfect representation of what occurs in our Age of Exploration chapter!  I love it!  It is such a fun way to see what the kids know on day one.  It also really intrigues them to see what is ACTUALLY discussed in each particular chapter.  
At the end of the school year, I repeat this activity.  Last year, I LOVED seeing what they remembered from each chapter.  I could also see what time periods interested them the most!