Expository Writing Projects – Writing About Social Studies

I love teaching social studies, and hated teaching writing. So what did I do? Write about social studies.

I’m one of those odd ducks who loves to write, but hates to teach writing. I had such a hard time turning my passion of writing into valuable writing instruction. It wasn’t until I started incorporating social studies into my writing block that I began to love teaching writing, and I got to see my students come alive as well!

How it Started, and How it’s Going…

I started incorporating social studies into my writing blocks by doing “What do you think Wednesdays”. I would pose a question to my students that related to what we were learning about in social studies, and they would spend the whole writing block responding to it. Their knowledge was their evidence, and they loved it!

Examples of “What do you think Wednesday” Prompts:
– Do you think Andrew Jackson was a good leader? Write from the perspective of an American citizen in the 1830s, OR a Native American in the 1830s.

– The year is 1852. You just lost your job and you have 5 kids to feed. You have just enough savings to prepare for a journey on the Oregon Trail, and there is ample cheap land waiting for you in Oregon. Do you go, or do you stay where you are and find another job? Why or why not?

– You are one of the 188 people living in the Alamo in 1836. You receive word that Santa Anna and his army might be attacking in the near future. What do you do to prepare? Do you leave the Alamo, or stay to fight? What can you do to ensure a better outcome?

…When I started “What do you think Wednesdays”, the kids LOVED it! They started asking “can I look up something? and “can I use my social studies book to help me”? They were starting to pick sides and research and connect with what they were writing about. Truth time – my students loved the Oregon Trail prompt so much that we turned it into a 3-day writing project!

Once I saw how much my students loved to write about social studies, I incorporated it into all of their formal writing projects!
Yep, from then on all of my students’ formal writing projects were related to our social studies curriculum. But I was finding that it took SO MUCH TIME to put the projects together. I had to pull books from the library, create a rubric, create graphic organizers, gather checklists…what teacher has time for that? The summer following, I decided to do all of the work up front. And I am SO glad that I did!

EVERYTHING is ready to go for you and your students.
– Research articles
– Note Taking Guides
– Guided Research Questions
– Domain-Specific Language
– Graphic Organizers
– Student Samples
– Examples of Thesis Statements
– Guided Rough Drafts
– Editing and Revising Checklists
– Final Draft Guides
…By printing ONE SINGLE PACKET, your students will have everything they need to write a researched, well-constructed informational essay from start to finish. When I say that they changed my writing game, I mean it literally changed how I felt entering my writing block each day.

This is one of my favorite Expository Writing Projects to use in my own classroom! It is the perfect tie-in to social studies!

When I tell you to take a peek at these writing projects, it is because I know how much they changed my writing instruction for the better. They have made such a difference for me that my heart would love to offer them as free resources, but the honest truth is that each one takes 20-30+ hours to put together, and I have to value that time as much as I value yours.

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