Tuesday, January 22, 2013

History Webs: A Great Social Studies Project Idea

My 5th graders just finished Civil War History Webs. This little project only takes a few periods of work, and really involves creativity and writing.

I found the idea for History Webs in "Super Social Studies," a Scholastic teacher guide that has served me very well over the years (I HIGHLY recommend this little book, it's amazing).

I don't want to quote directly what they call a history web, to respect their copyright, but as I've changed it up quite a bit from what is discussed in this book, I'll let you know about my version of this great project. BUT, you should go buy this guide, it really is one of the most used resources in my possession.

To make a history web, I recommend the large construction paper (I use the 12" x 18" paper that my school keeps in stock). You want your students to draw a rectangle in the middle of the paper, and from there, divide the paper into however many sections you want them to (I've done 4, 6, and 8). I recommend 6, it's a good number for drawing pictures, they don't come out too small at that size.

However many sections you've divided the paper into is how many different topics you will assign. We just completed these for the Civil War, and their options to choose from included (but were not limited to): Abraham Lincoln, the Battle of Gettysburg, the First Battle of Bull Run, General Lee, General Grant, General Stonewall Jackson, the Emancipation Proclamation, the end of the war, the battle of the Ironclads, Lincoln's Assassination, the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, the fall of Richmod, Sojourner Truth, and Nat Turner. You can obviously choose many other things for this.

The assignment for students is to research each of their six topics (or four, or eight, depending). Students will be asked to draw a color picture depicting the topic, and write a paragraph in their own words about that topic, either on the back of the paper or on index cards.

Here are a few examples of exemplary work. Some have the work on index cards, and some have it written on the back:

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