If you are looking for quick, no prep activities for first grade students to learn and write about United States Symbols, Maps, Presidents and More then you are in the RIGHT PLACE!
I'm a fellow first grade teachers and let me be honest by saying that planning social studies and science is never top on my priority list!
That was UNTIL I realized there are some hidden gems in the form of golden opportunities when it comes to my social studies activities.
Read this post if you want to learn how to build in intervention time and meaningful writing opportunities while teaching your students about United States symbols, maps, presidents and more!
Learning the Facts
Okay, “Guided Research” sounds like a super formal term… but what it really means is that these are the activities that we do together as a class and there is typically a right or wrong answer.
This is where I introduce new vocabulary about United States symbols and I am “guiding” students through books or videos to find new information. We are then recording that new information on a simple recording sheet.
These United States activities are completed at the beginning of the unit when students are just starting to build their knowledge base, so these activities might seem easy, but remember, they are BUILDING their knowledge on the subject.
I love using these Fact Posters (picture left) in place of a full mentor text to help save me time in the classroom!
I also think that “fill in the blank” style activities are super helpful for young learners. Not only are they building their knowledge of social studies, but they are also working on:
- context clues
United States Cut and Paste Activities
Next up comes cut and paste activities. These are PERFECT for when students are ready to become a little more independent.
You can grab the United States Pledge freebie seen on the right HERE for free!
You can still complete these together as a class, OR you can have students complete the activities independent FOR… wait for….
EXTRA INTERVENTION time for math and reading!!
YES! I use my last 30 minutes of the day (for social studies or science) to sneak in a little more intervention time.
I get my students going on an independent activity such as a cut and paste, then I pull back a group of 3-4 students for extra reading or math intervention rather than having them complete the social studies activity… because what's really more important?
Wait… did you see this —>
Side Note: If you check out the cut and paste image of American Symbols you can see how I easily differentiate this activity for my students. Most students simply trace the words, but for those who are ready for a challenge, they have to write a fact/sentence to match each picture!!
Creative Writing Activities about the United States
Okay, I know you are so tired of hearing me talk about this (I know I sound like a broken record) BUT creative writing is the BEST.
It really is the golden (and often missed) opportunity of social studies and science.
Why, you ask?
A few days into the unit, once students have a good foundation of our United States symbols unit, I like to start testing what they know.
Creative writing is the perfect opportunity for just that!
I love having my students write about what they would do “If I Was the President“. It allows them to apply the knowledge they learned from all of the other United States activities and combine it with their own creative spirit.
Another fan favorite of mine is “How to Be a Good Citizen“. This ties in so well with how our students treat each other, their teachers and their school. It is NEVER too early to start instilling this principles in our children!
These may seem like just fun writing prompts, but they really showcase what your students have learned about USA Symbols.
And the best part?
This doesn't even have to be done during your “social studies or science” time!
You can throw it into your writing station during Guided Reading or make it one of your daily writing lessons!
And you know what that means? You have no freed up that last 30 minutes of the day for…you guessed it… reading and math intervention!