The best way to motivate students to learn social studies is to make history their story. How do you do this? You involve students in the lessons in a way that is interactive and fun. No worksheets will be thrust at students to fill out in the name of Common Core. No fill in the blank tests or needless vocabulary cards will be pushed in this unit. No graphic organizers will be filled out. T-charts go in the trash. Let's reinvigorate your classroom. Let's are that you can now begin to facilitate the fun learning scenarios. And let's have students be a part of their own learning. Sound liberating? Continue reading. This is your chance to add the pizzazz you want and the students desperately are longing for.
The following activities that you and your students will participate in are listed below. They are not intended to replace what your district has suggested you do in your class. These activities can be used in part or full to round out what I believe are missing pieces in most classrooms. All of the items listed below have been used in my own classroom. These are the best of the best that I used after many years teaching 4th grade. Frankly, these are the lessons my students remembered the most. What student ever comes back to visit and says, "That gold rush worksheet you gave me really changed my life!" They talk about the bank robbery or Gold Rush Day.
Finally, these activities should not be seen as lock-step lesson plans. In fact these are not lessons, but experiences. You as the professional have to ask yourself, "Will these activities work for my class this year? Do my facilities keep me from completing some of these tasks? Am I willing to give up a bit 'control?'" Be ready to have the most fun you had in teaching! This unit is 38 pages of sugary goodness!
Activities included in this unit are:
1. Make Your Walls Look Like a Mining Town
2. Put Students in "Mining Camps"
3. Use Gold to Reward and Discipline Students
4. Choose Games and Activities to Motivate Students
5. Create a Bank that You Can Deposit and Withdraw Gold From
6. Shop in the General Merchandise Store and Grab a Drink from the Saloon
7. Rob the Bank
8. Create Wanted Posters
9. Use Media to Help Show Students What the Miners Look Like
10. Use Research to Have Students Wrap up the Unit
11. Gold Rush Day
12. Gold Rush Review Game
13. "There's Gold in Them Thar' Hills!"
14. Gold Rush Project Ideas
15. Appendix (includes the signage for the mining towns)
Keywords: Home school, charter school, common core, best seller