Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Integrating Social Studies and Science into Writing {Workshop Wednesday}

Hey there!

I am here to link up with my buddy Jessica at Ideas by Jivey for Workshop Wednesday!

We have been integrating science and social studies into writing like crazy over the past month!!

I discovered something really fun!  I can run notebook paper through the copier!!!  I probably shouldn't be that excited about it, but I really was!!  So, for the pieces that I am collecting to put in my students' writing portfolios, I have been typing the writing prompts and running them at the top of notebook paper!  It makes me happy!!  (Crazy, I know!!)  I wish I'd thought of it sooner!  You probably already knew about this!!  Why didn't you tell me?  ;O)

Here is a prompt we did last week integrating weather (the unit we were ending in science).  I like to give them choices and I try really hard to give a narrative, informational, and persuasive choice for each one, if I can think of one!

A while ago I blogged about the series of books "You Wouldn't Want to" and I talked about this activity below.  Although there isn't tons of writing in this activity, the point I was trying to get across to my students as we study informational writing craft is that pictures and captions can actually give a great deal of information about a topic, AND they are fun!!

I loved reading these because the students' voices came out loud and clear!  We are working on voice right now with our Native American informational writing and they are having a hard time, but they did it easily here.  This is a great reference that I can refer back to to show them how easily they used voice!  We are working on infusing this into our writing now, so we don't sound like an encyclopedia!  These books are a great mentor text for informational writing because they are so fun to read and they give the nasty details of sailing with Christopher Columbus!!

This is the book we read:

Finally, I followed up this "poster" of caption writing with our big Christopher Columbus writing prompt.  I am actually amazed at how they are coming along with their writing.  However, I think it really helps that we studied about Columbus in social studies and in language arts so they have tons of background knowledge (and opinions!) about this!

I'll tell you one last trick that has really helped me with getting all of this writing done this year.  One of the other reasons I started printing the prompts on notebook paper was because I wanted my ENTIRE class to be working on writing in science and social studies.  However, we don't have enough time for me to teach the entire curriculum, plus do all of this deep, intensive writing during our social studies block.  So, I started giving it to my students once a week as morning work.

Since some of my students go to Advanced Language Arts (gifted students) they have their writing notebooks in there.  I was afraid they'd get confused if I had them write in their science and social studies interactive notebooks.  So, this was my solution.  I print the prompts out on notebook paper (mostly, except this last one because they were very detailed prompts) and have them on their desk in the mornings.  For some reason 4th graders don't do so well writing on unlined paper (imagine that- neither do I!) so this solved multiple problems.

And you know what?  It's worked out beautifully!  I'm very pleased with how they have been doing!  Now I can use my writing workshop time to conference on these pieces, that are already mostly written!!  Granted, it usually takes about two days for them to produce a quality product, but it is well worth it!!

How do YOU integrate writing into other subject areas?

I hope you have a great Halloween tomorrow!


  1. Wow, I don't even know where to begin! Well, actually I do because I had NO IDEA you could photocopy on notebook paper!!!! I am as excited as you are!!

    I loved, loved, loved reading how you integrate these subjects into writing. I had to go back and reread it again because I loved it so much. I must try to do this more--thank you so much for all of the information!!!!!

  2. Brilliant! Copying on notebook paper, how have I never thought of this?!?

    I am so struggling to giving enough time to science and s.s. With the common core we are so focused on the reading, writing and math that we feel like there isn't enough time in the day to do it ALL. :( I need to get better at integrating, especially in writing! Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. Thanks for the tip on photocopying paper. I have photocopied lined paper onto colorful paper for our writing our first draft but this is great - you can put the prompt right on the page - no cutting and gluing!!

    I like how you are making the most of your teaching time by having your students write as their morning work. I imagine that is a nice transition into their day. I have not given my students choice like that in their writing - I really need to do that. So many great ideas - thanks!

    1. Oh, and Happy Halloween to you and your family. Can't wait for my super pumpkin to arrive in the mail :)

  4. That is so cool! I had no idea! Do you have to do anything special to the copy machine to use notebook paper in it?

  5. That is so cool! I had no idea! Do you have to do anything special to the copy machine to use notebook paper in it?

  6. I was just about to ask Jennifer's question as well- any special tray?? That is so awesome! And I love your pictures and captions idea!! I must have missed that?? Or forgotten... thanks for linking up BBB!

  7. I wanna know how to print on notebook paper, too!! I can just see me wrecking the machine at school and since we punch in our number, everyone would know I did it!!! But it just might be worth it for the cause! I love these books. Have you gone to the website? They have some fun activities for some of their books.

    Thanks for sharing, we will be using the Viking one soon to kick off our explorer unit!



  8. This is another fatal grammar mistake a lot of people tend to make due to not knowing how to use both of these words properly.


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