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14 SOCIAL STUDIES PROJECT IDEAS FOR SCHOOLS
Bringing textbook concepts to life in your classroom can be difficult, especially when it comes to social studies since it doesn’t have the obvious experiments that a science class might have, for example. We’ve compiled a list of 14 ideas you can use in your classroom to get students involved in social studies and help them engage with the material in exciting ways.
For this project, you’ll help students demonstrate their knowledge of physical geography by creating maps. First, you’ll need to print the outlines of the regions/states/countries that your students will build their dough maps on. Then, you or your students can create the dough using 4 cups of flour, 2 cups of salt, 2 cups of water, and 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar. To create the maps, have them press the dough onto the printed versions while making the appropriate peaks and valleys where they belong on the map. You can even have them paint their maps according to the elevation! Make sure to include a key explaining which color represents which elevation point.
THEN AND NOW
On a computer, pull together 8 smaller cartoon style photos: 4 from current day and 4 from the past. Include dotted lines around each picture so the kids will know where to cut and make sure that the pictures are easy to distinguish between the past and the present. Once you have your pictures, put them on the bottom left quarter of a page. On the top half, split the section into two spaces: one that says THEN and one that say NOW. Have the students cut the pictures out and glue them under either THEN or NOW depending on the picture itself. Then have them write their summary in the bottom right corner.
FLAT STANLEY PROJECT
This project is great because it teaches your students about life in other parts of the community/state/country/world. You start by reading the book Flat Stanley to your students, then have them reach out to family members and friends in the community and in the world. Have them decorate their own versions of Flat Stanley and then send them plus a journal to your friends and have them fill out the journal and send it back for your students to read. This is also a great opportunity to partner with classes at schools in other parts of the country or world, as students can swap Flat Stanleys with each other.
A simple but fun way for students to reflect on the lesson and make a tangible product – have your students create a flip book about the lesson you just went over!
CREATE YOUR OWN COMMUNITY
Have each student draw a section of land on a piece of paper and then have them set up their own communities! Make sure they show where the restaurants, schools, community buildings and everything else needed to make a successful community are located. Feel free to assign a particular time period according to what you’ve been teaching in class.
COMPARE HISTORICAL PERIODS
This project can be an in depth essay or just a short compare and contrast chart.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
After studying a sequence of history events in class, have your students write and decorate a timeline where they write about/summarize the events that happened during this time period.
REAL ESTATE COMMERCIAL/AD
Assign a particular region to your students and have them create a real estate ad or commercial based on how the land/property would look back in a certain time period. They can decide how much the land/building would be or you can assign it for them.
CREATE A BOARD GAME
Based on the event you just covered in class, students choose a theme, develop their rules for their game, format a game board, create their game pieces, cards, and anything else they need for a successful game. They’ll then present the game to the class for everyone to evaluate and play together.
MODERN DAY TAKEAWAY
This project idea is very versatile. Have your students take your most recent lesson from the past and explain how they can apply the lessons learned from that event to modern day life. You can assign this paper as an in-depth research paper, a poster board project, or a 5 sentence summary for extra credit!
PUBLIC OPINION POLL
Students should organize their own public opinion poll, including polling at least 25 people. Once they’ve collected all of their data, have them make a graph/chart and present their findings to the class. This would be a great cross-curriculum project to partner with a math teacher and combine lessons in statistics and chart/graph design with the basics of polling and the political polling process.
CIVILIANS INVOLVED IN GOVERNMENT
Have the students research how they can be active citizens in their own communities. Once they’ve pulled together all of their data, have them put it in either poster form or pamphlet form to share with the rest of the class. In schools with a community service project requirement, students could choose from these ideas and implement their project.
CREATE YOUR OWN STAMPS
After talking about taxes and stamps – a perfect tie-in to colonial history lessons – have them make their own stamps! You can assign each student a different state and have them research things about their state to include on their stamp.
POLITICAL POLICIES AND DISTRICTS: A COMIC STRIP SAGA
Students create a comic strip from their notes about a particular history lesson. Consider making their comic strip about 9 panes long and taking a character from beginning to end, or having students work together to combine their comics into a larger story.
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45+ Interesting Social Studies Fair Project Ideas 
In today’s fast-paced world, it can sometimes be a bit tough to get students all excited about social studies. But you know what’s really cool? Social studies fair projects! These projects aren’t just your regular school assignments; they’re like super fun adventures into the world of social studies. And guess what? We’ve got a treasure trove of good project ideas for the year 2023. These ideas are not just about learning; they’re about having a blast while you’re at it.
Imagine learning about society, culture, and history in a way that’s so much fun you won’t even realize you’re studying. That’s what these projects are all about. So, if you’re on the lookout for exciting social studies fair project ideas, you’ve landed in just the right spot. We’re here to make learning an absolute joy, and we’ve got the ideas to prove it! Let’s dive into the world of social studies and uncover these fantastic project ideas together!
What is a Good Social Studies Fair Project?
Table of Contents
Before we dive into project ideas, let’s first understand what makes a social studies fair project “good.” A good social studies fair project should:
- Be Relevant: Choose a topic that relates to the field of social studies. It could be historical, geographical, cultural, or related to current events.
- Have a Clear Focus: Your project should have a specific research question or problem statement. It should be clear what you are investigating or exploring.
- Involve Research: Gather information from credible sources to support your project. This may include books, articles, interviews, surveys, and more.
- Be Creative: Use your creativity to present your findings in an engaging and visually appealing way. This could involve creating maps, charts, posters, or even multimedia presentations.
- Demonstrate Learning: Your project should demonstrate your understanding of the topic. It’s not just about presenting facts but showing your ability to analyze and interpret them.
- Address a Societal Issue: Consider how your project relates to real-world issues or challenges. How does it contribute to our understanding of society or help address a problem?
Purpose of Social Studies Fair Project Ideas
Social studies fair projects serve several essential purposes:
1. Promote Learning
They encourage students to learn about the world around them, fostering a deeper understanding of history, geography, culture, and society.
2. Develop Research Skills
Students learn how to conduct research, gather information, and evaluate sources—a valuable skill for academic and real-world situations.
3. Enhance Critical Thinking
Projects require students to analyze information, draw conclusions, and think critically about complex social issues.
4. Encourage Creativity
Projects allow students to express their creativity through visual aids, presentations, and innovative solutions to social problems.
5. Boost Presentation Skills
Presenting a project in front of an audience or judges helps improve communication and presentation skills.
6. Promote Civic Engagement
Some projects may focus on social or community issues, encouraging students to be active and engaged citizens.
Social Studies Fair Project Ideas For School Students
Here are some social studies fair project ideas for elementary, middle and high school students:
Social Studies Fair Project Ideas For Elementary School
Discover some social studies fair project ideas suitable for elementary school students
1. Famous Landmarks Around the World: Create a poster showcasing famous landmarks from different countries and provide interesting facts about them.
2. Cultural Diversity in My Community: Explore the various cultures represented in your community through interviews, photos, and artifacts.
3. Time Traveler’s Journal: Pretend to be a time traveler and write a journal about your visit to a historical event or era.
4. State Symbols and Facts: Choose a U.S. state and create a display featuring its flag, bird, flower, and other symbols, along with key facts.
5. Mapping My Family’s Heritage: Create a family tree and map the countries or regions where your ancestors came from.
6. Exploring a Native American Tribe: Pick a Native American tribe and research its history, culture, and contributions.
7. Famous American Biography: Choose a famous American and create a presentation about their life and achievements.
8. Our Solar System: Explore the planets in our solar system, their characteristics, and their place in the universe.
9. Holidays Around the World: Investigate how different countries celebrate holidays and create a visual comparison.
10. Understanding My Community’s History: Research the history of your town or city, focusing on important events or landmarks.
11. Inventors and Their Inventions: Learn about famous inventors and their contributions to society.
12. My Dream Vacation: Plan a dream vacation to a foreign country, including details about the culture, food, and landmarks.
13. Flags of the World: Create a display showcasing flags from various countries and explain their symbolism.
14. Exploring Different Climates: Study different climates around the world and their impact on daily life.
15. Environmental Conservation: Investigate local environmental issues and propose solutions to address them.
16. Global Food and Cuisine: Explore the foods and cuisines of different countries, including traditional recipes.
These elementary school social studies fair project ideas are designed to be engaging and educational, suitable for young learners.
Social Studies Fair Project Ideas For Middle School
Now, let’s explore social studies fair project ideas suitable for high school students:
1. The Impact of Immigration: Research the history of immigration in your country and its effects on society.
2. Civil Rights Movement: Explore the Civil Rights Movement and its key figures, events, and achievements.
3. World Religions Comparison: Compare and contrast the beliefs and practices of major world religions.
4. Environmental Sustainability: Investigate the environmental challenges facing our planet and propose sustainable solutions.
5. Historical Figures Debate: Organize a debate or presentation on the contributions and controversies of a historical figure.
6. Globalization and Its Effects: Analyze the impact of globalization on economies, cultures, and societies.
7. Colonization and Its Legacy: Examine the effects of colonization on indigenous cultures and societies.
8. The Great Depression: Research the causes and consequences of the Great Depression in your country.
9. Presidential Elections: Study a past presidential election, analyzing campaign strategies and outcomes.
10. World War II: A Global Perspective: Explore the global impact of World War II on different countries and regions.
11. Human Rights Issues: Investigate a current human rights issue and propose actions to address it.
12 Economic Systems Comparison: Compare different economic systems, such as capitalism, socialism, and mixed economies.
13. Climate Change and Its Consequences: Research the science of climate change and its societal impacts.
14. Urbanization and City Planning: Analyze the growth of cities and the challenges of urban planning.
15. The Silk Road: Explore the historical significance of the Silk Road in connecting cultures and trade.
16. Modern Immigration Policies: Research current immigration policies and their impact on communities.
These middle school social studies fair project ideas are more in-depth and encourage students to explore complex social issues.
Good Social Studies Fair Project Ideas For High School
Let’s dive into the social studies fair project ideas suitable for high school students:
1. Global Health Crisis Analysis: Investigate a recent global health crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on society and healthcare systems.
2. Racial and Social Justice Movements: Research contemporary racial and social justice movements and their impact on policy and society.
3. International Diplomacy: Analyze a recent international diplomatic issue or negotiation, such as peace treaties or trade agreements.
4. Genocide and Human RightsViolations: Study a specific genocide in history and its implications for human rights and international law.
5. Political Ideologies and Parties: Analyze the ideologies and platforms of different political parties in your country.
6. Economic Inequality: Investigate the causes and consequences of economic inequality within your country or globally.
7. Environmental Policy and Sustainability: Examine current environmental policies and their effectiveness in addressing environmental challenges.
8. Media Influence on Society: Explore the role of media in shaping public opinion and its impact on social and political issues.
9. Cybersecurity and Privacy: Investigate cybersecurity threats and privacy concerns in the digital age.
10. Immigration and Refugee Crisis: Analyze the causes and consequences of immigration and refugee crises in different parts of the world.
11. Global Trade and Supply Chains: Study the complexities of global trade and supply chains, including their social and economic implications.
12. Historical Revisionism: Examine instances of historical revisionism and its impact on public perceptions of historical events.
13. Cultural Appropriation: Explore the concept of cultural appropriation and its implications for cultural understanding and respect.
14. The Role of NGOs: Research the roles and impact of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in addressing global issues.
15. Social Media and Activism: Analyze the role of social media in promoting activism and social change.
16. Education Disparities: Investigate disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes, both locally and globally.
These high school social studies fair project ideas are designed to challenge students to engage with complex social and global issues, encouraging critical thinking and research skills.
How Do I Choose a Project Idea in Social Studies Fair?
Choosing the right project idea is a crucial step in the social studies fair process. Here are some steps to help you select a project idea that suits your interests and goals:
1. Identify Your Interests
Start by considering what topics within social studies genuinely interest you. Do you have a passion for history, geography, politics, or a specific cultural aspect?
Conduct preliminary research to get a better understanding of potential project ideas. Look for sources of information and explore different angles.
3. Narrow Your Focus
Once you have a general idea, narrow it down to a specific research question or topic. A well-defined focus is essential for a successful project.
4. Consider Your Audience
Think about who your audience will be. Are you presenting to classmates, teachers, or judges? Tailor your project to your audience’s level of knowledge and interest.
Assess the availability of resources for your chosen topic. Can you access books, articles, interviews, or data related to your project?
Consider the practical aspects of your project. Do you have the time and resources to complete it within the given timeframe?
7. Impact and Significance
Think about the significance of your project. Does it address a relevant social issue or provide valuable insights into a particular area of social studies?
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Creative and innovative projects can stand out and make a lasting impression.
9. Consult with Teachers
Seek guidance from your teachers or mentors. They can provide valuable feedback and help you refine your project idea.
10. Passion and Commitment
Finally, choose a project that you are passionate about and committed to. Your enthusiasm will shine through in your presentation.
Remember that a good social studies fair project is not just about winning awards but also about the process of learning and discovery. Embrace the opportunity to explore, research, and present your findings with enthusiasm.
Social studies fair project ideas offer students a chance to delve into the fascinating world of social studies, exploring historical events, cultural diversity , contemporary issues, and more. These projects serve as valuable learning experiences, enhancing research, critical thinking, and presentation skills.
In this blog, we’ve provided a diverse range of project ideas suitable for elementary, middle, and high school students. Whether you’re interested in historical events, current social issues, cultural studies, or global affairs, there’s a project idea that can spark your curiosity and creativity.
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Social Studies Projects Ideas for Middle School
It always feels like you win the lottery whenever you successfully accomplish a cross-curricular unit. I think every ELA teacher is the MVP of all middle schools because we have the opportunity to make all other departments feel seen and heard.
Enter: Ideas for Social Studies Project.
Social studies is a subject area that lends itself so nicely to all things ELA. In my building, the 5th and 6th-grade teachers also taught Social Studies. It was a small portion of the day, but I loved brainstorming and creating social studies project ideas.
In this blog post, I am going to share three of my favorite ideas for social studies projects.
Project #1: Coat of Arms Project
This project is one of my favorites, but more importantly, one that my middle school students LOVE. Even my sweet friends who don’t exactly love writing seem to really love this project.
This activity allows students to design a coat of arms based on their family. All of the information they need – all kinds of symbols, shield templates, examples, and writing templates are included in my Coat of Arms Project.
They will use symbols of heraldry to design their coat of arms and then can write a short paragraph or longer writing piece describing how it represents their family. I also like to hit on some Speaking and Listening standards by having students share with the class before showcasing their hard work in the hallway or around the room.
Project #2: Current Events
Another of my favorite ideas for Social Studies projects is teaching current events. This ongoing practice helps to teach critical thinking skills that are imperative for students, especially middle school students, to put into practice.
I love cultivating thoughtful and respectful conversations inside the classroom to help students get to know how to kindly agree or disagree with their peers. When adding this project into your lesson plans, social studies teachers can be invited to share the topics they are currently teaching in their classes. That way, you can reinforce current topics inside your ELA classroom.
If you’re looking to pair a fun Today in History with your current events, this one was designed just for middle school!
Project #3: Designing a Website
This is one of the Social Studies projects ideas that I knew my students would absolutely love! Incorporating technology along with the cross-curricular aspect of this social studies project makes me feel like a million bucks!
Here is how I set up this project in my lesson plans. I plan to allow students to work on the project in ELA and Social Studies time, but it totally doesn’t have to work that way if your schedule doesn’t work that way! In my ELA classroom, I like to help the students brainstorm different attractions that would lend to interesting and fun websites.
From there, we do some prewriting to formulate an outline of everything that should be included. We spend time discussing the different types of writing (narrative, informative, and persuasive) and the areas of the website that would be best for each type.
This is a unit of study that could last up to a couple of weeks. To keep my kiddos on track, I like to break down the steps and create mini-due dates, but I’m sure you will find what works best for you!
Remember, I am rooting for you!
-Alisha- Mrs. A. Riley
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End of Year Social Studies Activities for Upper Elementary Students
During the last few weeks of school, you may be wondering what on Earth to do in social studies. Here’s the good news: the end of the year is the PERFECT time for projects and activities that you couldn’t get to earlier in the year. Students love the chance to do small group activities, passion projects, and extension projects that go beyond the curriculum. Let’s look at 10 awesome end-of-year social studies activities you can use with your 3rd, 4th, or 5th graders!
Make a Yearbook
What better way to wrap up all of the important historical figures students have learned about than creating a yearbook? Coming up with superlatives, “team” rosters, and even “autographs” is an engaging way to review the people your students have studied this year.
This digital yearbook activity has everything you need to get started if you teach Virginia Studies!
Design a Road Marker
Another creative social studies project is to design a historical road marker or plaque to commemorate an important place/event. This user-made Google map shows tons of road markers in Virginia if you want students to explore real examples.
Make a Giant Timeline
Students can decorate pennants to make a timeline of important historical events from the curriculum. This works really well for a May or June bulletin board and is also great for spring test review!
Complete a Biography Report
I love having students choose their own important people from history to research. Students can use these biography report templates right in Google Slides to research and present to the class!
Make a Time Capsule
This one is so fun! Kids can make an actual time capsule or a digital one to encompass what life is like for them right now. If that’s more project than you can handle at this time of year, another option is for them to write a letter to their future selves!
If you haven’t had much time to use read-alouds in your social studies lessons, now is a great time! There are so many ways you can use literary nonfiction and informational picture books and chapter books to teach history!
Try an Art Project
Get artistic! Think murals, maps, landscapes, portraits, sculptures, and even pottery and weaving! My students have really enjoyed making a 3D map of Virginia. They had such a blast using all kinds of art materials to represent the different geographic features and regional products. I even cut out little photos of them to put all around the map!
If you want, you can set up a “museum” or gallery walk with the finished products. Even better, throw on some music from that time period (if that’s an option).
Play a Trivia Game
Another fun end-of-year social studies activity is to play trivia! You can do this with totally new content (like a preview of what they’ll learn in the next grade), review old stuff, or a mix!
Publish a Book
Here in Virginia, some of the history standards repeat. For example, students learn about Maggie L. Walker in first grade and then again in Virginia Studies. How fun would it be for firsties to read books about these topics that were made by the bigger kids at their school?! Writing historical fiction short stories is another fun option and it’s great for partner work!
Explore Current/Local Events
Finally, the end of the year is a good time for students to learn about current events. Exploring local history through newspapers, yearbooks, and other reference materials is a helpful way for them to make connections to their community. I recommend partnering with your library for this!
I could keep going, but I hope this list gives you an idea of some fun and engaging end-of-year social studies activities for your lesson plans! Let me know what other social studies projects you love for the end of the school year!
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20 Interactive Social Studies Activities for the Classroom
March 21, 2022 // by Sharayah Lynn Grattan
We can begin teaching kids about human society, how we establish rules for common understanding and order, how we share ideas and culture, and significant figures in our history, at an early age. There are so many components included in the domain of social studies that each year you can cover new material with your students.
From anthropology and economics to political science and geography, there are so many worlds to discover. We have 20 of the best activities for you to open your kid's eyes to all of it!
1. Civil War Snacks
These biscuit cookies are called "hardtacks" and are said to have been the go-to snack for people who lived in the 19th century. As a part of teaching the Civil War in your historical social studies unit, incorporate some food culture to help your kids taste what it was like to live back then.
Learn more: Education.com
2. Learning Taxes With M&M's
This fun activity is a great hands-on introduction to taxes for elementary grade students just beginning to handle their own money. Distribute snack packs of M&M's to each student and give roles: the tax collector, the King, the Parliament representative, to 3 students. Take candies away for various things (blue socks, erasers, crossing your legs), explain the process of wages and taxes, and who it goes to.
Learn more: Upper Elementary Snapshots
3. Native American Dreamcatchers
Indigenous people are a huge part of America's history, they have many traditions and customs that can teach your students to have respect for people of all heritages. These dreamcatcher crafts will make your fun history lessons utilize motor skills and are a great decoration for your classroom walls.
Learn more: Art Bar Blog
4. Reading the Stars
Time to bring history to life with this DIY constellation hands-on activity that teaches students how many African Americans were able to navigate and travel the underground railroad while en-route to freedom during the 18th and 19th centuries in America. You'll need a hole punch, black card stock, and a flashlight.
Learn more: Everyday Reading
5. DIY George Washington Wig
We cover historical figures in our social studies lessons teaching about the life of colonists in the initial 13 colonies. Wigs were a sign of class and power during this time with white wigs reserved for only the most prominent figures. George Washington had the signature white wig we all imagine, so let's recreate it using a paper bag, cotton balls, and ribbon.
Learn more: Deceptively Educational
6. Flower Press Like an Explorer
When explorers first came to the New World they had a lot to record and send back so people in Europe knew what kind of plants and animals were across the ocean. A fun class book to make with your students is a flower press album. Go outside with your kids and have them pick some flowers, then press and save them for future observations.
Learn more: Magical Movement Company
7. Dictator for a Day
This engaging lesson can be used in the social studies curriculum covering different forms of government. Pick one student to be a dictator and have he/she establish their own rules for the country. Explain how freedoms such as religion and speech are hindered and the lack of fairness this type of government provides for its citizens.
Learn more: Study.com
8. Mystery Skype
Geography is another domain of social studies and learning how to differentiate between attributes of states, countries, time zones, is a useful skill for student understanding. There are platforms set up that can connect your skype to another classroom somewhere else in the U.S. and even around the world! Brainstorm questions with your students ahead of time so they know what to ask to find out where they are. Explore more geography activities here .
9. Voting Knowledge via Online Game
iCivics is an online gaming platform designed to teach students useful knowledge about how the United States government functions and their roles in it. This online game is great for high school or middle school students to learn how to become informed voters and how they can participate in our democracy. Get more ideas for teaching the presidential election process here .
Learn more: iCivics.org
10. Analysing and Drawing Political Cartoons
There are so many great examples of political cartoons over U.S. history that teach students how certain events and beliefs are presented to persuade readers. Pick some influential political cartoons from the past and have an open discussion regarding what opinions they are expressing and the intentions of the people who created them.
Learn more: Social Studies Blog
11. Historical Role Play
Let's get into character with this simple improvisation activity of historical figures. Write down names of influential people of the past and put them in a hat for your students to pick from. Give them a few days to research their person and make a presentation in front of the class.
Learn more: Edutopia
12. Immigration Stories
There is a lot to cover in your immigration unit for the U.S. since it is a country of immigrants. Explain the histories and reasons why different groups of people immigrate, why they want to leave their home country, and the processes they go through to assimilate to their new country. There are many educational books out there written by immigrants to read for engaging class discussions.
Learn more: Population Education
13. Current Events for Kids
It can be challenging to explain a current event to a young learner in a way they can understand. Kidworldcitizen.org is a website with resources and articles written for kids with simple words and without biases found in other sources. Pick a few articles and read them in your next social studies class.
Learn more: Kid World Citizen
14. Economics Cheat Sheet
Economics begins to emerge in our elementary classrooms, and it's best to start with the basics. Help your students understand how the economy works and affects their daily life with this visual explanation. Have your students create their own to put on the classroom walls.
Learn more: Pinterest
15. Religions Around the World
There are so many different religions and belief systems in our world, and it's important we teach our young learners to respect their customs and traditions. Challenge students to pick a religion they don't know about and do research as a group to learn more and share.
Learn more: Education World
16. Culture Boxes
Assign each student a culture and ask them to fill a cardboard box with items, images, foods, clothing, etc. that encapsulate the society to share with the class.
Learn more: Living Montessori Now
17. Traveler IQ Challenge
This online geography game tests your students' social studies skills regarding map reading, locating states in the U.S., country capitals, and more! Play it with the whole class or assign kids to play at home.
Learn more: Crazy Games
18. Archaeology Puzzle
This reconstruction project can be a fun family activity to introduce archaeology to your kids in a hands-on and engaging way. Get a clay pot, break it into pieces, and hide the pieces in the sand or dirt for your kids to dig up. Then help them clean the parts and piece the pot together. You can add symbols or words on the pot to reveal a message once it's reconstructed for an added bonus!
Learn more: Tikkido
19. Our Class Constitution
Have your students participate in a democracy by having them help you write your class's constitution.
20. Then and Now Sorting Game
Print or make your own flashcards with images of old objects we used in the past and their updated/modern versions. Show students the progressions we've made as humans and what that means for our future.
Learn more: What I Have Learned Teaching
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- Upper Elementary Grades
Just What You Need
6 Must Try Classroom Tech Tools
8 Ways to Differentiate a Worksheet
DIY Superhero Classroom Style