Sunday, March 23, 2014

George Washington's Socks {Must Read Mentor Text for Social Studies}

Hey there!!

It seems things are crazy busy and we can't get more than one blogpost done a week!  Hopefully things will ease off (ha!  yeah right!) and we can get a little more consistent!  Well, I guess every Sunday is pretty consistent, but you know what I mean right?  I guess I mean we'll blog more often, hopefully!

Anywho, I'm hear to share a must read for Social Studies, especially if you teach the American Revolution!

My must read is George Washington's Socks by Elvira Woodruff.

This is a chapter book that goes right along with the Battle of Trenton.

Here is the synopsis from Amazon:  A mysterious rowboat transports five adventurous kids back in time to the eve of the Battle at Trenton where they experience the American Revolution. Through encounters with Hessian soldiers, revolutionaries, and even George Washington himself, Matthew, Quentin, Hooter, Tony, and Katie watch history unfold before their eyes as they see first-hand, the grim realities of war and the cost of freedom.

Students truly love this book!  It really is amazing!  We are using it right now as our extended text.  All of the students in my LA group are reading it.  Right now, they are reading two chapters a night and then I am picking passages from the chapters they read the next day to highlight with a close read.

I created questions and reading response prompts for each chapter (you can find this product HERE).  I started off having the students answer the questions as part of their homework because I wanted them to READ the book and I knew they'd be hooked with the first chapter.  I don't plan on having them answer questions for each chapter each night, but I do have them respond.  They just paste the response at the top of the page and then respond in their notebooks.
We talked about foreshadowing with Chapter 3.  We did this activity as part of our close read during class time.
It's amazing what you can do with one book!  And all the while that you are reviewing history!  This is a great example of historical fiction!

Stacia is also using it in her class.  She made this super cute chain of character traits with her class!
She asked her students to each name one character trait to describe Matt, the main character. After they named their character trait, the students had to provide evidence from the text to support their trait. If the class agreed that the evidence supported the trait, they added the link to their chain. Stacia said it was awesome to see her students making such great inferences and truly analyzing the character. It was also an excellent way to show how characters change and grow throughout the story.
She also did a summary of Chapter 5 and made a vocabulary foldable!  The polka dot plot came from Krista Wallden's pack of Reading Responses.
The vocabulary foldable was quick and easy, and it was a great way to practice a few important reading strategies- stopping, slowing down and questioning when you come to an unknown word; context clues; using a dictionary. The vocabulary words sparked great discussion, and students made connections to other subject areas.

Last year we did a close read with figurative language and I have it in my plans for next week.  Here's the picture from last year:
They wrote examples of figurative language on the left and then drew it to show how the author helped the reader visualize!

We've been working hard on our own personal narrative and this book is great for them to see how Elivra Woodruff used "show, don't tell" and we are trying to apply it in our writing.

There is just so much you can do with this book, and even if you don't teach the American Revolution, you could still use this book, or use some of these ideas for a historical fiction book for the Social Studies unit you are teaching.

Hopefully this post makes sense!  I'm writing it while we watch the movie Frozen and it's such a great movie my attention is divided!  Sorry!  :O)

Next week's linky- Language Arts


  1. You know I love this book too!! :) :) Such a great one- my kids love it every year too!

  2. Until our curriculum changed, I used to read this book as part of my historical fiction unit! It does such a great job of covering the Revolutionary War! My students always loved it as our read aloud :) Sometimes, I still wish it was in our curriculum but I do think the book is more appropriate for fourth graders!

    I do like how you set up your questions for the novel in your notebooks. I might have to try that format with our next read class read aloud! I really like having that two page spread! Thanks always sharing your ideas :) Happy Sunday!

    My Shoe String Life

  3. This is such a good book--one I used to share with my 5th graders... Love the character trait chain idea--one I can use with my second graders!

    Sarah @ Hoots N' Hollers

  4. I don't teach social studies, but I do teach ELA, and I LOVE the notebooking ideas! Can't wait to get more ideas from this amazing blog as you newest follower!

  5. Many great ideas. I really like that figurative language close read. The table really highlights effective words!

  6. Ladies,
    So sorry I've been MIA on your linky. I've been working on a project this year, that is about to wrap up. Hopefully soon I'll be able to contribute to your linkup more often. It's such a great resource.
    Have a great week.
    School Is a Happy Place


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