Two Birds With One Stone

My new school does not have a social studies curriculum.  But the State of Hawaii has social studies standards.  What's a teacher to do, who is learning a new school, new curriculum, new standards, teaching a new grade level, did I mention mommy and wife?  Embed in another subject, that's what!

The ever wonderful April from A Modern Teacher has a fabulous writing unit called: Happy to be Me! An Autobiography.

In this unit, parents and children fill out a questionnaire at home about their lives as babies, preschoolers, and kindergarteners.  This part was so smart!  Tons of my kids would have been hung up and not known what to write, but since they had already talked about it with their families and written it down, they all were able to do it.  If I had tried to do this project at my old school, however, I would need this form translated into Spanish and Russian, then I would have needed one of the Russian-speaking educational assistants help me translate.  Even though 65% of the population at Lanai School is Filipino, all of the families were able to complete this part in English.  I was very impressed!  

One of my students looking at the parent questionnaire and writing the answers in his book.
Once students brought in the questionnaire, they started filling out their book.  It includes pages from their life as a baby, as a four year old, when they started school, what they like now, and what they want for the future.   
Most kids turned that cute bunting graphic on the page into the sun!
Since our social studies standards include "construct timelines to sequence events", I was so excited this project included a timeline.  They write about their life in the past, in the present, and in the future.  I had them glue it inside the front cover.

April is so creative and suggests using a silhouette on the cover of the book.  I used my projector to cast a shadow, taped a piece of black paper to my bulletin board, and outlined each student's profile with a white crayon.  They cut it out and glued it to the front of their book.

I made this title for kids to cut out and write their name.

Look at his cute little mohawk.  I had to include it in his silhouette!

Another social studies standard is "investigate the history of families using level-appropriate primary sources."  The parent questionnaire counts as an interview and even though the history we are investigating is their life and not that of their entire family, I think that it works.  And this has been a wonderful way for me to get to know my new students better.  Each morning I've had parents come in and talk to me about it.  Some had to explain some of the stories they wrote about.  Some are dying to see the book their child is talking all about at home.  We are going to share them tomorrow and I can't wait to send them home.  I know this project will be something many families keep forever in their child's school scrapbooks.

How do you combine subjects and make sure you hit as many standards as possible?  Have you found some fun units recently that help you get more bang for your buck?  Do tell!


  1. I love how you integrated your ELA and SS Standards. The books are adorable and it is a great way to get to know your students and their families.

  2. Love this project!!!! I am definitely going to check it out!! Thanks! :-)

  3. Oh My Gosh!!!! I love it. I'm so excited you got to use it. Really!!! I hope the kids had a ton of fun. It makes me so happy to see you were able to use something all the way in Hawaii! I gotta come CRASH your classroom! Maybe it'll be a little trip the hubby and I take :) April

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Thanks for giving such a piece of wonderful information.If you want to enjoy our best massage services in Mussoorie. To get to know more about me follow the link: body massage services in Mussoorie