Social Studies Materials to Make Your Life Easier!

Teaching social studies can be difficult, as it is often the first subject cut when you inevitably run out of time to get everything done in a day, and it is also the subject for which your school district is least likely to buy curriculum materials.  Are you trying to teach your students to be historians and good citizens without the luxury of district provided materials?  I have you covered with materials for 4th grade social studies and 5th grade social studies that will last for the entire school year!

Social Studies Materials for the Whole Year

My district started using the free units created by a local school district several years ago.  They are packed with activities that get the students much more involved and interested than the boring old social studies book.  I did struggle with a couple things though.  One problem was the same one we struggle with in every subject area...the lack of time.  I discovered that with my allotted time for teaching Social Studies, I would have to really pick and choose which activities I would use so that I could still get through all the units in the year.  The second thing that drove me crazy was the abundance of handouts for students. Some students have a hard time keeping track of where their textbook is let alone several different handouts for each lesson.  

So one summer, I spent a great deal of time going through the units and deciding which activities I would do with my students.  I retyped all the lesson plans only using those activities I felt I had time to use and built in time for vocabulary quizzes, study guides, and tests.  Then over the course of two school years, I created all-encompassing packets for each unit that contain all the handouts the students would need.  I even created typed answer keys of these packets for my special education inclusion students. Here's a preview of what one of my packets looks like.

I work in a 4th and 5th grade building, so once I finished the 5th grade materials, I began working on materials for my friends in 4th grade.  It took another whole summer, but I finally finished those too.

These materials make planning for social studies a breeze, and I'm willing to share!  

If you would like the lesson plans and student packets that will last you for the entire year, you can email me at  Be sure to put 5th grade ss or 4th grade ss as the subject, and I'll be happy to share them with you!  

I have created teacher resource sets to go along with each of these units as well.  They include a variety of materials such as vocabulary flashcards, games, and quizzes, unit review games, worksheets, and writing assignments, just to name a few. Here's a peek at one of my sets for the Road to Revolution unit.

After sharing these free materials for a while, I discovered that many teachers did not have a 5th grade social studies textbook for their students.  (Thankfully, the 4th grade units don't require a textbook for students!)  Then Covid hit, and my own students did not have a social studies textbook at home.  So, I decided to write my own texts that I could share with my students through Google Classroom.  Here's a peek at what my 5th Grade Social Studies Nonfiction Texts for Students look like.

During Covid, I ended up teaching online for an entire school year.  I discovered that the lengthy student packets just wouldn't work for instruction over Zoom.  I created new units using Google apps.  The lessons were much more streamlined and included the nonfiction student text, links to videos that the students could watch, and then a Google slide assignment that students could complete independently or with a partner.  Now that we are back to "normal" at school, these shorter units may actually be useful for those of you who are really limited in the amount of time you can spend on social studies each week.  Here's a preview of my Road to Revolution Unit Using Google Apps.

I also created new versions of the 4th grade units, and I love how they turned out!  They include everything you need:  lesson plans, interactive Google slide presentations, Google slide assignments, and Google form assessments!  Here's a preview of my 4th Grade Social Studies Government Unit Using Google Apps.  

Over the years, I have created many other resources to supplement my social studies instruction, such as crossword puzzles to go with the Liberty's Kids episodes and materials for reinforcing the academic vocabulary.  For the first time, everything is available in a mega bundle!  

Best of luck with your social studies instruction this year!

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