Oh, the Places You'll Go - How to Incorporate a Book into the Classroom

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Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss is by far one of my favorite books to use with students of all ages.  The message in the book is simple... in life, there will be obstacles you must overcome; sometimes life will be easy, but other times it might seem little tough.  You have to dig deep within yourself to keep going until you reach success.  Along the way, you may also experience some loneliness; keep pushing until you reach your goal.

I love how Dr. Seuss created the main character in this book to be the reader (you) of the book.  It really allows the reader to stop along the way and think about the words he/she is reading. I know every time I read this book, I read it with a new viewpoint.  What I find fascinating about this particular book is any person can relate to it; whether it is a young student who has yet to experience life ahead or an adult who has lived a full life. Everyone seems to get something from reading this book.

In a classroom, Oh, the Places You'll Go can be used in a variety of ways.
  1. Use the book as a read aloud. 
  2. Use the book as in literature circles.
  3. Use the book in a reading center with independent activities to complete. 
  4. Have a class set of books. Each student reads the book and dissects the meanings behind the author's phrases and word choices. 

Before Reading the Book:
  • Have students think of a place they would like to visit. Have each student draw a picture of a place they would like to visit. On a separate sheet of paper, have each student write a paragraph describing the place they would like to visit and why. Take the picture the students drew and create a picture quilt on a bulletin board for a visual.

After Reading the Book:
  • Have each student write a letter to his/her future self. In the letter, have the students describe how his/her dreams for the future. How does he/she see himself/herself twenty years from now? What type of occupation will he/she have? Where will he/she live?

  • In the book, the author refers to “moving mountains.” Ask the students to make a list of possible “mountains” they may have to move to achieve their future goals. 

  • You can also have students write a narrative paragraph or essay about anything that pertains to visiting a new place, an obstacle they may have overcome to get where they are going now, a personal goal for the future, etc. The topics are endless. I have a narrative writing prompt I would love to share with you, and the best part is it is FREE! 

On a personal note, I purchased this book for my daughter when she was born. We read this book to her all of the time.  When she began preschool, I purchased a new book. Each year I have her teachers write a note to her about how she was as a student, a funny story, or any other memories that were shared during the school year. I have kept this a secret from her, and when she is finished with school, I plan to give it to her as a present I know she will enjoy receiving. It serves as a gift full of many wonderful memories all preserved in one book. 

Head on over and grab a copy to keep in the classroom. You will see just how many ways you can incorporate this fantastic book into your classroom!

Happy Teaching!

What Rights Do You Have?

In the United States, citizens are guaranteed certain rights many people in other countries dream of having. What better way to show mastery of these basic rights than with a fun, engaging, hands-on activity! The Bill of Rights Match-Up is just the right center activity to add to your treasure chest of resources. 

The Bill of Rights Match-Up is a great resource to use when teaching a unit on government. This resource contains ten badges with the amendment numbers, ten badges with what each amendment states, a recording sheet, and a handout for the students to illustrate the meaning of one amendment. 

Students will match the amendment number card with the card containing what the amendment states. Once the students have sorted and matched the cards, they record their answers on the recording sheet. In addition to the recording sheet and center cards, there is a printable for the students to choose one amendment and illustrate it so that others will be able to understand its meaning. 

How do I set up centers in the social studies classroom? 

Incorporating center activities in the social studies classroom is really not a hard task. Here are some helpful tips to get you started on setting up centers in your classroom. 
  • Designate a specific place in your classroom that will work for your center activities. I always found my centers worked better on a table in the back of the room. It allowed the students an opportunity to transition to the center, work independently, have enough space to spread the activity out on the table, and it was free of other distractions. 
  • Choose a hands-on activity that goes along with the unit of study you are going to teach. 
  • Print the needed activity pages. If the activity requires pieces that will be used over and over by students, I recommend laminating the pieces for durability. 
  • Place everything for the particular activity in one spot, such as an envelop, an accordion file, or a tupperware container. 
  • If you have more than one center activity per unit, make sure you label the center pieces so students know which pieces go with each center activity.

What are the benefits of using centers in my social studies class? 

  • Students are able to be independent learners. 
  • Students are able to explore and learn at their own pace. 
  • Students are able to take risks without the fear of failure or not having the correct answer. 
  • Students become confident in their learning. 
  • Students can express themselves freely in the center. 

What do I do when the students complete their center activity? 

Because students are able to work independently and at their own pace, students will complete the center activity at different times. Always have enrichment work or assignments handy for those early finishers. When all students have rotated through the center, take an inventory of the center activity and make sure you still have all of the parts of the center activity. If you are missing a piece of the center activity, make a note of it so you can replace the missing piece before filing the center activity away to use the next time you teach the unit. This will help you be organized and prepared for the next time you pull out the center activity. Clean the center area. Next, get ready for your next center activity. 

If you teach social studies and do not use center activities on a regular basis, I hope you will consider giving centers in the social studies classroom a try! You will not be sorry you tried!

If you teach social studies, check out the Bill of Rights Match-Up. You students are sure to love it!

Happy Teaching!