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This well-developed idea uses a museum analogy to explain “What will we be learning this year”


Social Studies  


6, 7, 8  


Title – Our Classroom is Like a Museum
By – Heidi Willard
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – 6-8 

When introducing social studies at the beginning of the year, students always want to know what exactly are we going to be studying. I developed an easy concept for my special education students that they like, because everyone gets involved. Their nondisabled peers like it as well.

Anticipatory Set: Virtual Field Trip that I designed of museum pictures. I have some music that I play to also grab the kids’ attention (any music will do). I ask the kids who have been to a museum to please share what they remember.

We all draw a huge rectangular box inside our notebooks (give kids without notebook paper some to use). Make a door. Make a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floor inside this box. (Later you will explain the different floors as the different quarters.)

Just like museums have separate rooms with separate exhibits, so will ours, I tell the kids. I begin on the 1st floor and work my way up with the kids following along my transparency. For my Special Ed kids, I always have a couple completed transparencies that I give them – saying something like, ‘I can see you are in a spot that won’t see the transparency well’ so that they aren’t singled out by the class. I make little boxes for my separate rooms and list a unit topic inside one. However, many units I have in 1st quarter will be the number of little boxes on our paper. All get labeled and then we move to the 2nd floor and do the same thing.

I have kids design their museum further with color and require that they keep it in the beginning section of their notebooks for all year. Each quarter they get 10 extra points toward their grade for having it. That way there is no excuse about not knowing what the course is all about. I have extended this so that now I have the kids put in unit dates too. Any other extensions? Love to hear what you come up with to piggyback!

E-Mail Heidi Willard !

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