Building Social Studies Skills
Tips for Parents
Watch the television news together regularly. Let the events on the news -- human interest stories, hurricanes, elections, and the peoples and circumstances of other countries -- become a basis for conversation. You might also watch documentaries about historical figures with your child; biography is a good basis for helping children learn about history. Such documentaries are becoming more common, especially on public television and certain cable networks. Documentary programs are also available on videocassette and can be checked out of libraries and rented from many video stores.
Ask what would happen if the oil-producing countries agreed to sell only one-half as much oil as they now sell. (The price of oil and of many other goods would probably increase dramatically.)
Many cities have nicknames. Can your child identify the following: the Motor City (Detroit), the Windy City (Chicago), the City of Angels (Los Angles), the City by the Bay (San Francisco).
Children in intermediate grades will notice and ask about the problems that they see around them: homelessness, drugs, conflict. It is good to talk about these issues. Ask your child whether he or she is discussing such topics in school. Does your child have unanswered questions?
See what your child has to say about why countries need laws, and about why people and countries fight.
Inquire about the work of demographers (specialists who keep track of population growth, habits and beliefs, trends, and the like). Look at some census data about your community and discuss its meaning. What does it tell you about race? Income? Education?
Have your child place various events into chronological order. Try the following events: the Renaissance, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, the Roman Empire or the Babylonian Empire, the travels of Marco Polo, the city-states of Athens and Sparta, the Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome.
See if your child can identify some of the following names related to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome: Hippocrates, Homer, Julius Caesar, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Moses, Osiris, and Isis.
Sixth graders study religious traditions. Ask your child to tell you about the Old Testament source of the Ten Commandments, monotheism and the Hebrews, Muhammad and the Koran, Jesus and the origins of Christianity, and Guatama Buddha and the origins of Buddhism.
As part of your child's study of the ancient world, he or she will learn about the civilization of early Egypt. Ask about the Egyptian practice of preserving the bodies of the dead (mummies). How were mummies prepared? (With surgery, chemical solutions, and cloth wrappings.) Why did the Egyptians do this? (They believed that people would need their bodies in the afterlife.)
Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 6th Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers.
Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.
The end of the school year is quickly approaching! Celebrate with fun activities, then prepare yourself and your students with report card advice, summer reading guides, summer math, and more.
Common Core Lessons & Resources
Is your school district adopting the Common Core? Work these new standards into your curriculum with our reading, writing, speaking, social studies, and math lessons and activities. Each piece of content incorporates the Common Core State Standards into the activity or lesson.
Top 10 Galleries
Explore our most popular Top 10 galleries, from Top 10 Behavior Management Tips for the Classroom and Top 10 Classroom Organization Tips from Veteran Teachers to Top 10 Free (& Cheap) Rewards for Students and Top 10 Things Every Teacher Needs in the Classroom. We'll help you get organized and prepared for every classroom situation, holiday, and more! Check out all of our galleries today.
June Calendar of Events
June is full of holidays and events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Summer Begins (6/21), Helen Keller's Birthday (6/27/1880), World War I Began (6/28/1914), and Meteor Day (6/30). Plus, celebrate Child Vision Awareness Month, National Rivers Month, and National Safety Month all June long!
Causes We Support: We Give Books
Visit We Give Books, an ever-growing, free online library of children's picture books! For every book read on the site, a brand-new book will be donated to a children's literacy campaign of your choosing. Read aloud to students or encourage them read independently, and you'll teach them to help others at the same time. Giving is as simple as reading!