Sunday, April 21, 2013

Social Studies Sunday: Interactive Notebook - Native Americans

Welcome to Social Studies Sunday!  Every Sunday I will post something about social studies whether it be projects, lesson, pinterest ideas, read alouds, picture books, etc.  This Sunday is about our Social Studies Interactive Notebook and Native Americans!

I know this has been a long time coming and truth be told I just got caught up with so many other things in life and the blog world that I plain forgot to post it when we were studying Native Americans.  Better late than never I guess!

Here is our unit on Native Americans for our Social Studies Notebooks.  Since we did not have a lot of time to study this unit, it is not set up like my traditional interactive notebook with the learning on the left and reflection on the right.  Instead of me teaching the students about the four major Native American regions, I had the students teach the lessons!

We began our unit with a graphic organizer "Who Were the First Americans" and filled in our prior knowledge about Native Americans on the left side.  Then each table group was assigned a different region (Pacific Northwest Indians, Southwest Indians, Eastern Woodland Indians, and Great Plains Indians) and had to find information about the eight major topics for each (Tribes, Shelter, Music, Art, Food, Major Beliefs and Practices, Interaction with the Environment, and Interesting Facts).  I let the students use the textbook, Social Studies Weekly Newspaper, the computers and anything else they could find to help them with their research.  After all their research the students presented their information to the class.  Before each group presented we created a new graphic organizer in our notebook and the students even helped come up with some of the ideas for how they wanted their information presented.

Once all the presentations were over and graphic organizers filled in, we finished off our "Who Were The First Americans" graphic organizer by filling in the AFTER section.  It is the same categories as our prior knowledge, but now we should have more detailed descriptions :o)

On the left you'll see my example and the right is the student's final product.


You can really use any of these graphic organizers for any regions, tribes, or topics.  The kids really enjoyed getting to become the teachers for the day and did a pretty good job I must say!


  1. I love teaching about Native Americans. The kids are so naturally interested in them! Tell me more about the Social Studies Weekly Newspaper. Is this a Scholastic publication or something?

    Fifth in the Middle

    1. It is not a Scholastic Publication, it is its own company. They are periodicals and they are geared for each grade and state standards (also common core). They have them for character, physical education and science as well, at least for 5th grade. I LOVE them! It's a more current way to teach history and the kids really enjoy the articles, graphics, and vocab crossword puzzles and what not on the back. Here is their website if you want to check them out!


  2. I love interactive notebooks and your lesson looks like fun. We studied the Native Americans of Wisconsin and my students created museum displays out of their research. I'm glad I found your blog. You have great ideas!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

    1. Thank you Jennifer! I'm glad you found me too :o)

  3. Great interactive notebook. That was one of my goals this year, more interactive notebooking. I have been doing already, but I hope to improve next year. We study Native American's at the beginning of the year and your ideas will help me to make interactive notebooks more useful/interesting for my kiddos! Thanks for sharing!


  4. These look great!! And I love the new background, gorgeous. I haven't been by in awhile (crazy busy) but it looks fabulous.
    Thinking of Teaching

    1. Thank you Beth! Well I read your BIG NEWS and congratulations on your "crazy busy"!