Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Using Language Arts to Meet Social Studies Standards in Grade One: Part 1

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

The purpose of this series of blog posts is threefold: sharing the importance of the social studies standards, explaining how to combine the uses of the Language Arts and Social Studies in the first grade, and sharing ways to use Language Arts Standards and leveled books to deliver social studies expectations centered around homes. Specific books will be keyed to specific social studies standards as examples.

The Importance of Social Studies

First grade children are living in a swiftly changing society. There is a great need for them to recognize how the past and present are alike and different. They will be required to problem solve within societal constraints. Understanding the importance of authority roles and rules is essential, as is anticipation of long-term consequences of poor decisions.

First grade children are interested in games and problem solving. They love hearing and talking about heroes and need to develop an appreciation for the past generations of their families. They enter the classroom with differences among them in terms of socioeconomics, cultures, value systems, experiences, and learning styles. How does a teacher help these children from very different home backgrounds prepare for the future?

Schools are very aware of the continued need for developing vocabulary, reading and writing skills. Can these skills become strategies to facilitate the future success of young students? I think many of the "Language Arts Standards" can be used with leveled books to place a new importance on social studies.

A conversation with a member of the National Association for Social Studies gave me insight into the teaching of social studies. The states are looking at "expectations" for the studies as the social studies curriculum is defined. The grade one expectations are mainly based on the home and community. This series of blog posts will concentrate on the home and the tools for delivery of these home based standards.

Click here for the second post in the series, which identifies which Language Arts Standards are also helpful in the teaching of social studies.

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Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection Series. For more information about the Kaleidoscope Collection Series click HERE to return to our website or click the series highlight page to the left below. 

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