Social Studies Integration with Balloons Over Broadway

How to Teach Social Studies in Elementary

Or how do I fit it all in?

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.

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 with 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 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 it 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 balloons 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 on how to incorporate other content standards into your reading. Teachers are so busy! Work smarter not harder!

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