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EducationCity Feature Focus: Integrating Social Studies and Language Arts

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 -- Madison Michell

In the elementary world, all subjects are not created equal. Speaking as a former elementary educator, I would be the first to admit that reading and math often reign supreme. Other educators might agree (if their experience was anything like mine) that there just aren’t enough resources nor time to go around when objectives across all four core subject areas must be met. Too often, a reading lesson was interrupted by a fire drill or math rotations ran long, and despite my best efforts, the day ended before we could really dig in to social studies and science.

It was when I started approaching these science and social studies concepts as math and reading lessons in disguise that I found a solution I could get behind. Rethinking my overall instructional approach as a cross-curricular experience where complementary subjects were often paired together—integrating science with math and social studies with language arts—allotted many more meaningful opportunities for my students. Planning for this method of instruction however, wasn’t always easy.

One online elementary solution regularly crosses the “subject line” to ease this common frustration. EducationCity provides pre-K through 6th grade teaching and learning resources across Language Arts, Math, and Science, but when you look a little closer, social studies is often represented as well.

Uncovering Community Leaders in Kindergarten

In the Digging for Detail Activity, kindergarten students are tasked with practicing the Language Arts skill of identifying the main topic and key details of a text. Students begin by listening to a short story about different examples of community leaders before they are presented with several questions about what they have read. In this activity, instruction centers on literacy themes, but by incorporating a social studies text, students are simultaneously exposed to meaningful information about community leaders.

EducationCity Cross-Curricular Activities: Digging for Detail

Exploring Historical Figures in 2nd Grade

In the Famous Faces Activity, the EducationCity characters visit a history museum and practice the Language Arts skill of asking questions as they read to help them understand and remember the material. This scenario lends itself nicely to the incorporation of social studies texts, and follows through by using a story about the life of Helen Keller to explore this concept. Students read about her early life, the adversity she overcame, and her many accomplishments before answering a series of questions about this historical figure. 

EducationCity Cross-Curricular Activities: Famous Faces

Discovering Cultural Celebrations in 5th grade

Social studies themes also extend into the upper elementary grades, such as in the Culture Celebration Activity for grade 5 students. This activity has been designed to help students practice analyzing the similarities and differences between an original text and its dramatic adaptation. In this example, a script is available for students to read followed by a short movie covering the same topic before students reach a question section of the lesson. In both stories, a student and teacher discuss the significance of Cinco de Mayo and how it is celebrated by those of a Mexican heritage. Yet again, in this example the social studies themes are cleverly woven into the activity’s storyline.

EducationCity Cross-Curricular Activities: Culture Celebration

To help highlight the social studies themes found within EducationCity, we’ve done some of the legwork for you! Following a recent release, customers will now find 11 of these cross-curricular Activities assembled into what is known as an Example MyCity. Creating and leveraging MyCities is a feature found in EducationCity that allows educators to quickly assign individualized learning pathways to students. This Social Studies MyCity is one of three examples created to help users differentiate learning while getting a friendly introduction to this useful functionality.

When you take EducationCity for a spin, you’re doing more than just teaching a single subject in isolation. By carefully intertwining literacy objectives with social studies themes, you can feel confident executing a cross-curricular approach in your classroom!

Want to learn more about EducationCity’s most recent release? Get a glimpse at all of the exciting updates in our EducationCity summer enhancements post!