Engaging younger students in lesson

Tips on Making Studies Weekly More Engaging for Younger Students

If you teach kindergarten or first grade, you may have received your Studies Weekly publications and wondered, “How do I make this engaging for my students when they’re still learning to read and write?”

While each publication has lexiled text to make reading easier for your students, some children learn how to read faster than others, and you don’t want any of your students to fall behind or get bored because they can’t follow along.

Studies Weekly’s teacher advocate, Debbie Bagley, taught kindergarten for 8 years, so she knows all about teaching young children and keeping them focused for an entire lesson. Here’s how she recommends teachers use Studies Weekly for younger grades:

Step 1: See, Think, Wonder

The See, Think, Wonder graphic organizer is a great tool for helping students know what they’re about to learn, establishing prior knowledge, and building excitement for the lesson. Here’s how to use it:

  • Pull this graphic organizer up on the projector or draw it on the whiteboard.
  • Have your kiddos look at the photos and illustrations on their student edition and ask them what they see. Write their answers in the first column under See.
  • Ask them what they think they’re going to learn about, and write their answers in the second column under Think.
  • Ask them what they already know about those things and write their answers in the third column under Know.

Students can discuss their answers with a partner or in small groups before they share them with the whole class.

Engaging younger students in classroom

Step 2: Vocabulary Words

Choose one or two vocabulary words and ask students to circle, highlight, or underline where they see those words in the publication. For pre-K or kindergarten students, you can have them mark letters or words they are learning that day or week.

See how your students haven’t read a thing and yet have already engaged so much with their student edition? This gets them comfortable with the lesson materials and prepares them to learn more.

Step 3: Watch Video

At this point, Debbie recommends giving your kiddos a little breather by playing a video or audio recording. On Studies Weekly Online, you have access to tons of multimedia content to keep your students engaged. Some articles will even have a video that goes with it. You can find more videos under the Extras tab or use the search bar to find media on a specific topic.

Step 4: Start Reading

Now it’s time to dig in and start reading! Pull the article up onto the smartboard or projector so your students can see it as you read together. If needed, point to where you are reading so students can easily follow along.

Debbie recommends focusing on one page at a time. Because Studies Weekly’s publications are set up in bite-size pieces, you can cover as much or as little as you have time for each day.

Step 5: Read Again

Now that you’ve read as a class, have your students read the article again, this time using their fingers to point to the words on their student editions as they follow along. Discuss as a class or in groups how the article relates to them and their lives.

social studies interactive notebooks

Step 6: Check for Understanding

Assign a short exit ticket as they leave or do an activity as a whole group, small group, or individually. It can be the activity recommended in your teacher edition, or your students can make an artifact such as a pop-up book, poster, circle graph, display tray, puppets, etc. and share them with the whole class, their table group, or partner.

If they are working in interactive notebooks, they can cut out and glue images from the publication into their notebooks and draw or write about what they learned.

It all depends on what you have time for and what you have done previously. To keep children engaged, it helps to do a different activity each day.

Would you like to have a free consultation with Debbie Bagley? Ask customer support to set up an appointment for you. Call (866) 311-8734 or email support@studiesweekly.com.

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