Weaving Children’s Literature into Social Studies K–5

G. Strands and Big Ideas Activity

Suggested Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Materials:

  • overhead of The Strands Of Social Studies (Appendix XVII)
  • overheads of any desired activities or parts of activities
  • books as selected by participants

Participant Handout:

  • literature lists
  • blank paper
  1. Review the six Strands of the Social Studies, and illustrate by introducing some key books from the lists below.
  2. Many of these titles are books that have not been used yet in the workshop, but have been selected for their ability to support the concepts in the Strands. Appendix XVII provides the Strand definitions from the curriculum so they can be used as an overhead or a handout. The document is entitled The Strands Of Social Studies, filename The Strands of Social Studies.doc. Underlined titles below are from the book box, others are examples of additional titles that may be included.

    Overheads from any of the activities files listed in the table below the lists may be used in conjunction with the discussion of Strands and literature.

    Strands

    • Time, Continuity and Change
      • Growing-Up Tree
      • House in the Mail Briefly tell the story of this book as you show a few pages.
      • Our Tree Named Steve
      • Miss Rumphius
      • Boy of the Deeps
      • Clip-Clop
      • Jingle the Brass
      • Prairie Willow
      • Something from Nothing
      • Little House
      • Keeping Quilt
      • Goodbye to Griffith Street
      • Pioneer ABC
      • New Land: A First Year on the Prairie
      • Moccasins
      • Our Tree Named Steve
      • House on Maple Street
    • The Land:  Places and People (There are a great many books that fit here.)
      • Carolina’s Gift: A Story Of Peru
      • Tonight is Carnaval
      • Are We There Yet Daddy?* Briefly tell the story as you show the pages.
      • As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps
      • All the Places to Love
      • Prairie Alphabet
      • Tiger’s New Cowboy Boots
      • Strongest Man This Side of Cremona
      • Belle’s Journey
      • Boy of the Deeps
      • Stoneboat
      • Promise is a Promise
      • Luba and the Wren
      • Claire’s Gift
      • Boy Who Ran with the Gazelles
      • Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish
      • Qu'Appelle
      • Hidden Buffalo
      • Bibi and the Bull
      • Anklet for a Princess: A Cinderella Story from India
    • Power, Authority and Decision Making
      • Thomas’ Snowsuit
      • Enough. Briefly tell the story of this book as you show the pages.
      • I Could Do That!
      • Vote for Duck  (Gr. 6)
      • Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type  (Gr. 6)
      • Refugee Child
      • Silver Threads
      • Secret of the Dance
      • Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
      • Library Lion
      • King’s Chessboard
    • Economics and Resources
      • Carolina’s Gift: A Story Of Peru
      • Tonight is Carnaval
      • Enough
      • If The World Were A Village. Select specific pages to show and summarize, particularly the food and water pages.
      • Shaman's Apprentice
      • No Room for Napoleon
      • King’s Chessboard
      • Going Lobstering
      • Sugaring-Off Party
      • Something from Nothing
      • How Much: Visiting Markets Around the World
      • Clip-Clop
      • Market
      • Luba and the Wren: A Ukrainian Folktale
      • Prairie Alphabet
      • Hidden Buffalo
      • Delta is My Home
      • Canadian Shield Alphabet
    • Global Connections
      • Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World
      • Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Briefly tell the story of this book as you show the pages.
      • Three Questions. Briefly tell the story of this book as you show the pages.
      • If The World Were A Village
      • Whoever You Are
      • Quilt of Belonging
      • If You Could Wear my Sneakers: a book about children’s rights
      • Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World
    • Culture and Community (There are a great many books that fit here.)
      • Carolina’s Gift: A Story Of Peru
      • Tonight is Carnaval
      • Bird’s Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story
      • In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree
      • Promise is a Promise
      • Red Sash
      • Quilt of Belonging
      • Secret of the Dance. Briefly tell the story of this book as you show the pages.
      • Claire’s Gift
      • Luba and the Wren: A Ukrainian Folktale
      • Sugaring-Off Party
      • Lobster in My Pocket

    There are a number of documents available in the Appendices and on the CD-ROM containing book lists and activities for some of the Strands for some of the grades, as listed in the table below. These serve as samples and may be handed out, and used and modified by teachers.

    Strand Gr. Document Title Document Filename Appendix
    Time, Continuity and Change 1 Change Over Time: Miss Rumphius Change Over Time 1.doc APPENDIX XVIII
      2 Change Over Time Change Over Time 2.doc APPENDIX XIX
      4 Change Over Time: Grade 4 Change Over Time 4.doc APPENDIX XX
      4 House in the Mail House in the Mail.doc APPENDIX XXI
    The Land:  Places and People K Children’s Literature to Help Develop Geographical Thinking in Kindergarten Geographical Thinking K.doc APPENDIX XXII
      1 Children’s Literature to Help Develop Geographical Thinking in Gr. 1 Geographical Thinking Gr 1.doc APPENDIX XXIII
      2 Geographical Thinking with Children’s Literature, Grade 2 Geographical Thinking Gr2 lit.doc APPENDIX XXIV
      3 What is Peru Like? What is Peru Like.doc APPENDIX XXV
      3 What is Ukraine Like? What is Ukraine Like.doc APPENDIX XXVI
      3 How Much Alike? Comparing our Community with the Indian Village Banyan Tree comparison .doc APPENDIX XXVII
    Global Connections 3 Global Connections: Using Literature as a Springboard Global Connections 3.doc APPENDIX XXVIII
        If The World Were A Village World a Village.doc APPENDIX XXIX
    Culture and Community K Culture and Community: Children’s Literature Activities Culture and Community K.doc APPENDIX XXX
      K School Stories for Kindergarten Social Studies Our School.doc APPENDIX XXXI
      3 Hat Designs Hat Designs .doc APPENDIX XXXII

Big Ideas

  1. Explain the “Big Ideas” concept as outlined below and suggest appropriate titles. Elicit suggestions from participants.
  2. The Strands and other key ideas, such as those suggested below, might function as “Big Ideas” around which many learning outcomes can be developed. These Big Ideas are related to the Strands and help lead to enduring understandings in social studies. Books that serve as centrepieces for Big Ideas need to be carefully selected for their quality and universal appeal. Do the stories inform and enrich? Do their themes touch the human imagination and spirit? Truly powerful books are rich in ideas and multi-layered in thematic content. They can lead to memorable classroom experiences for both students and teacher. They also offer multiple opportunities to link to other ideas, and other subjects. A perfect example of a Big Idea book is Miss Rumphius.

    • Life Cycles
      • Miss Rumphius
      • Growing-Up Tree
      • Our Tree Named Steve
      • Prairie Willow
      • Moccasins
      • Love You Forever
    • Journeys
      • From Far Away
      • Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish
      • Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
      • Legend of Old Befana
      • Grandfather’s Journey
      • Belle’s Journey
      • Coming to Canada: Building A Life in A New Land
      • New Land: A First Year on the Prairie
      • Miss Rumphius
      • Show Way
      • Follow the Drinking Gourd
    • Trees (which very often have Life Cycle and/or Time, Continuity and Change themes)
      • Growing-Up Tree
      • Our Tree Named Steve
      • Prairie Willow
      • Great Kapok Tree
      • Aani and the Tree Huggers
      • In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree
    • Goals
      • Miss Rumphius
      • Legend of Old Befana
      • Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel
      • I Can Do That!
      • Three Questions
      • No Room for Napoleon
      • Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
    • Global Citizenship
      • Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World
      • If The World Were A Village
      • Three Questions
      • Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
      • No Two Snowflakes
      • Quilt of Belonging
      • River Ran Wild
      • From Far Away
    • Environment and Stewardship
      • No Room for Napoleon
      • Shaman’s Apprentice
      • Miss Rumphius
      • Birdman
      • River Ran Wild
      • Elders are Watching
      • Great Kapok Tree
      • Rabbits
      • One Duck
      • Luba and the Wren
    • Freedom and Equality
      • Follow the Drinking Gourd
      • Show Way
      • Refugee Child
      • Silver Threads
      • Mr. Hiroshi's Garden
  1. Have participants select and read in grade groups a Big Ideas book or one that addresses a Strand directly. If there are more than three participants in a group, have one person read aloud to the others.
  1. In grade groups, building around the Big Ideas books and using both the books on display and other familiar titles, ask participants to outline a series of lessons or a mini-unit. This unit can focus on a Strand or on groups of Specific Outcomes. Encourage participants to refer to the literature lists for titles that address Specific Outcomes and some of the other special lists for many titles that address various Strands.
  1. Have each group appoint a spokesperson to share their ideas with the whole group.
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This resource was developed by ERLC as a result of a grant from Alberta Education to support implementation.