Literacy Activities

Literacy instruction is becoming an increasingly crucial part of the Social Studies classroom. There are so many wonderful primary and secondary sources available for use in the Social Studies classroom!  There is a lot of pressure to stop relying on textbooks and start exposing students to the wealth of primary sources related to topics we study. If you have tried and failed to incorporate more reading and writing strategies, you might be interested in a blog post I wrote about my experiences.  C3 Framework: Dimension Three – Evaluating Sources and Using Evidence outlines some basic changes I made to transition to a more literacy based Social Studies classroom.  These are just a few of the activities I’ve posted that use primary and secondary sources:

Current Events Article Analysis

A free article analysis activity for incorporating current events into your classroom!

Introduction to Paraphrasing –  Effects of European Exploration

Plagiarism is one of the biggest literacy problems we face as educators.  Students need direct instruction regarding strategies for writing without plagiarizing.  This activity teaches students how to identify key terms as they read that can be used to write paraphrased information.  The topic for this lesson is the effects of European Exploration but can be edited for any article.

Primary Source Exploration:  Seneca Chief Red Jacket’s Speech to Christian Missionaries 

In this literacy-based lesson students read and listen to a speech given by Chief Red Jacket regarding white missionaries attempts to convert natives to Christianity.  Students are asked to answer three questions using quotes from the source to support their answers.

The Battle of Bull Run

Students will explore primary sources from the Battle of Bull Run.  This lesson includes a powerpoint presentation with maps and photographs from the time period.

Transcontinental Railroad Citation Activity

This activity combines textbook and internet research to help students better understand the Transcontinental railroad.

Influential Government Document Inquiry Activity: 

This lesson helps students understand how the Magna Carta, English Bill of Rights and Mayflower Compact impacted the development of American government.

Were Native American Groups Civilized? Hyperdoc Inquiry Activity

Sometimes students need a little guidance with internet research.  Hyperdocs provide guidance for internet research and incorporate a sense of student choice.  In this activity, students explore links listed in the Powerpoint Hyperdoc to learn about the culture of Native American groups. (Don’t like my links? Edit the PP to add your own!)  Students use in the information they learn to answer the extended response questions.  You will want to begin this activity with a discussion about the word “civilized” and characteristics of civilized societies.  

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