Social Studies Integration with Balloons Over Broadway

Being a lower grades teacher I was always trying to integrate content into my reading block to get more bang for my book!! *wink* See what I did there. So I love to find books that I can tie to other content areas like science and social studies. Today I am going to show you how I use Balloons Over Broadway - the True story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Day Parade by Melissa Sweet.  I love to use this book to teach some of my social studies standards!

You can get the book on Amazon (I am an amazon affiliate meaning that by clicking this link to purchase the book I get a small portion of the proceeds) by clicking HERE or clicking the link below.

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There are so many fun things that you can do with this book! 

First a quick synopsis this is a beautifully illustrated book that is Non-Fiction. It is the true story of Tony Sarg. A Puppeteer who changed the Macy's Day Parade making it what it is today! Tony was an immigrant who had a mind for engineering! (Can you say STEM challenge?)

This book is great for working on non-fiction skills such as questioning and summarizing along with overall reading skills like character, problem and solution and vocabulary. We start by a movie read of the book - by this I mean I read the book and the students are silent like we are watching a movie in a theater, no talking no discussing just pure enjoyment. Then we will discuss vocabulary. The students have a vocabulary page that they work on all week. I like to hang the book jacket (or a copy shh) up and post the vocabulary cards around it.  Each day I will reread part or all of the book doing more think aloud strategies depending on which skill we are working on for that day. I will also make an anchor chart if it is appropriate.

I used this book to work on the social studies skill (and reading skill) of compare and contrasting it is social studies because you are comparing and contrasting THEN and NOW. This is great because you can do it if you have a dedicated time or with another shorter practice page in reading! This is so great because they are recalling the book and comparing and contrasting as well. You can make a Venn Diagram anchor chart for this as a class then have students complete on their own.

I also use this for Map Skills. I love this because it is a real life example of how map skills are still relevant today with GPS and all.  It is also a great example of reading and following directions in real life! The students have to read and follow the directions to draw the parade route as well as answer questions about the map.

To culminate this unit my students participate in a STEM challenge creating their own balloon. The students will complete a STEM challenge book and then create their balloon and reflect. You can  then have your own parade! This is a great activity for the last Tuesday or Wednesday if you should be so unfortunate before Thanksgiving. The kids love it and are so engaged!

I really like using this the full week and then the short week before Thanksgiving break. It is the perfect way to keep them learning and engaged in meaningful activities. I hope this post gives you some ideas of how to incorporate other content standards into your reading. Teachers are so busy! Work smarter not harder!

If you have made it this far thank you! I am giving away a copy of this book and a $20 GC to Amazon to one lucky winner! Just fill out the rafflecopter to be entered. I will select next Tuesday and notify the winner on Instagram.
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8 Great Autumn Books to Read in your Classroom

If I wasn't a teacher Fall would be my favorite seasons hands down. But being a teacher it's hard to beat summer with so much time off. Fall books are always some of my very favorites! I have rounded up 8 today that include fall leaves, Halloween, Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving. Check them out and leave me a comment if I forgot your favorite!
(this post includes Amazon affiliate links, which means I get a tiny amount if you click on one of the books and choose to buy it.) Just click on the title of any book to add it to your Amazon cart.

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A beautiful Reading Rainbow book by Lois Ehlert. Includes stunning graphics and a great description of a tree life cycle this is a perfect early book about fall and the life cycle of a tree!

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Ok ok I know it's another Lois Ehlert book but it's amazing! Use them as a paired reading! Gorgeous illustrations and cut outs! Would be good to introduce seed dispersal with older grades. We always collected leaves and made our own leaf men when we read this book!

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I know Room on the Broom is the current favorite but this will always be my go to for the youngest readers! It is by Linda Williams. Repetitive building text and a little old lady who is not afraid of anything (duh) but also has a very clever solution to a problem! Your students will beg you to read it over and over!

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If you've read any of my book posts you probably know by now that I LOVE Chris Van Allsburg. This may just be my absolute favorite by him. This was a second grade Touchtone (Mentor) text in my district for years and is my all time bigger kid favorite Halloween or October read aloud. So much inferring and stunning black and white pictures! I love this one so much I created a unit to go with it! Grab it by clicking the picture below or by clicking HERE.
October Reading Comprehension - The Widow's Broom Chris Van Allsburg

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Excellent Reading Rainbow book by Eve Bunting (another one of my favorite children's authors) for Veteran's Day.

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Absolutely hilarious read aloud for Thanksgiving! Runt has always been in the shadow of his big brother Turk....until Thanksgiving when being the biggest and best isn't necessarily a good thing!

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The true story of the puppeteer of the Macy's Day Parade! I love using this book for social studies connections and a STEM challenge! It has great illustrations and vocabulary as well! I love this book so much I created a unit to go with it! click the cover below to grab it in my TPT store.

Or read more about how I use this book to integrate Social Studies content into reading in this post HERE.

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Yep I had to slip another Chris Van Allsburg book in! The Stranger is so good for inferring because it never comes out and tells the reader who the stranger is! I have done this with students as young as First Grade! They love solving the mystery of who the stranger is! I could tell you but what fun would that be? Check out this other post I wrote about this book and Questioning by clicking HERE. Or grab the unit I created to go with it by clicking the picture below or HERE.
Winter Reading Comprehension - The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg Inferences