Each school year, I set a goal for myself. This past year, my goal was to do a better job of integrating science and social studies into my reading and writing curriculum. Although I’m pleased with my progress, I can’t wait to make a few more changes to make this upcoming year even better! Below are four things that tremendously helped when integrating science and social studies easily.
1. Align Science and Social Studies with your Basal
Regardless of what your feelings are about your basal series, some schools are required to follow it. Meaning, whether you like it or not, you’ll be utilizing it. Why not align your weekly basal stories to match the time periods and topics in your science and social studies curriculum? This was also perfect for sharing with my specials teachers, special education staff, and our reading intervention teacher. I’m making a few changes this upcoming year to this spreadsheet, but I really loved having our reading stories match our science and social studies material.
2. Graphic Organizers
Graphic organizers give my students a purpose for reading and allow them to remember important details. As you have probably noticed, each chapter of most science and social studies curriculum has a targeted reading skill. I take a look at my textbook ahead of time and create graphic organizers to align with the subheadings throughout the chapter. Then, as we read, my students are intentionally seeking information. It gives them a purpose for reading, and requires them to record key ideas from the text. I also love to use graphic organizers to differentiate.
3. Ditch Your Schedule
Maybe it is because I have worked in a departmentalized setting for too long, but I find myself a slave to the schedule all too often. From time to time this past year, my teaching partner and I decided to choose a topic of the week and ditch our typical schedule! We would focus on a science or social studies topic that needed to be addressed and spent our time reading news articles, picture books, or watching short videos. This was a perfect way to spice up test prep season! One of my goals this upcoming school year is to ditch my typical schedule more often. Why can’t we be working on reading while doing a science lesson? Why can’t we be writing an informative piece about a social studies objective?
4. Fall in Love with Close Reading
Close reading is a great way to allow your students to dive deeper into a text while focusing on a specific science or social studies topic. These passages from The Sweetest Thing are the PERFECT way to do just that. I am amazed at the deep conversations that take place while doing a close reading of these passages. My students are analyzing text, comprehending difficult material, and conversing over excellent fifth grade content. Plus, they really seem to enjoy it!