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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Strip Teaching

Strip teaching is a method of story telling that gives students words that they can use later to tie the material that needs to be mastered together.  First the teacher creates a visual that outlines the most important material the students need to know.  I have created my visual on 3rd Grade Social Studies (Civics Unit) and you can review the chart below and obtain a copy here.



Difference between Rules and Laws

Why do we have Laws?

Encourage good behavior
Keep People Safe/Maintain Order
Protect Rights and Property

Laws are made by the Government

How do they get in Office?


Type of Government

Representative Democracy

Republic – Republican form of Government

Purposes of Government

Make the Laws
Carry out the Laws
Decide if Laws have been Broken

Is Government Necessary?

Yes – Protects our Rights and Property

We all live in a community?

Different backgrounds
Different skin colors & religions

Melting Pot


Different but the Same

Believe in Basic Principals

Life, Liberty & Pursuit of Happiness – Equality Under the Law

Benefits to Diversity


Rights are so important we that have armed forces that protect those rights—Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard
Holidays that honor those people who serve or have served in the armed forces

Memorial Day
Veterans Day


Honors solders who died
Honors those who have served

After the visual is created you create what I call strips that you can use on your white board, on a table, or reformat them for a SMART Board.  If you use a SMART Board you can replace some words with pictures if you want to. You will find the file with specific strips that go with the chart here.  They are almost identical; I may have left out a few words so the visual for the students is easier to read from their seats.  I sometimes have the students sit on the floor up next to the board to make the lesson more personal and easier to read.  If you plan to use the strips on a white board, laminate them and put magnets on the back.  This will make them last a long time.  I have strip sets that are several years old.

Next I develop my script for the content I want the students to know.  It follows both the chart and the strips.  I will put up or uncover (SMART Board) the appropriate strip that relates to the story I am telling. The students need no prior knowledge to participate in the strip teaching activity, and I promise after completing the strip teaching two or three times the students will be able to tell you the story and which strip comes next as you are telling it.  These words serve as hooks for the students and when they see them on tests, the story comes back to them and they can answer the question on the material being asked.


We all live in a Community.  A Community is where people live, play, and work.  All communities have rules and laws that help make it a good place to live.  Any time you violate a rule or a law there should be a consequence, but the consequences for violating a law are much more severe than violating a rule.  If you violate a rule set by your parent, you might be sent to your room; if you violate a rule set by a teacher, you might be sent to time-out; but if you violate a law, you might be asked to pay a fine or even made to go to jail if found guilty.  Why do we have laws?  We have laws to keep people safe and maintain order, to encourage good behavior, and to protect our property and rights.

Who makes the laws?  Laws are made by the government.  Our government is made up of elected officials that voters select to make decisions for them.  This is called a representative government.  Another way of saying representative government is republican form of government.  The United States is a republic.

The purpose of a government is to make laws, carry out laws, and decide if laws have been brokenIt is important to have a government as it makes the laws that protect our rights and our property. 

We all live in different communities and the communities throughout are country are very diverse.  Our country is a melting pot and has people from all over the world living and working here.  We call ourselves Americans. We believe in our countries basic principalsThose basic principals are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and “equality under the laws.”  The words “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” come from the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson.  “Equality under the laws” ensures all of us that we will be treated fairly.  There are benefits to our diversity and having lots of different types of people living here.  Some of those benefits are different foods, different clothing, and different music

We believe that our rights are so important that we have a military to protect them (Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard).  We have holidays to honor those who are serving and have served in our military and to honor those who have died in wars.  Memorial Day is celebrated in May and honors all veterans who have died in wars, and Veterans Day is celebrated in November and honors anyone who is currently serving or has served in the military.

There are a few add on strips if you want to use them that expand Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  You can just say the document it came from, who wrote it, what war it lead to, and who led our troops to victory and won our freedom.  Some people like the extra strips; others think it makes it to long.

In conclusion, Strip Teaching is a quick way to teach and review some of the most important information likely to appear on the Third Grade Social Studies End of Course Test.


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