After studying immigration to America, and specifically Texas, the fourth graders did a culminating project on different cultures. This illustrated what was once called “The Melting Pot” and is now referred to as “The Salad Bowl” of cultures in America.
Each student researched a country and wrote one-paragraph reports on a variety of topics. Most of the grade for this project was based on writing a good paragraph, so we could integrate our social studies into our language arts program.
It took us nearly four months to do all the research and type up acceptable paragraphs. Not only did the students need to use good sentences and proof read well, they were required to paraphrase so that nothing could be construed as plagiarism.
Finding material that fourth graders can understand and rewrite in their own words is a difficult task. Then, being able to put the information in a good paragraph takes a number of language arts skills.
While in lower school, it is acceptable to have parents assist students, our goal in middle school is to teach the students to become independent learners. All of the reports must be written in class.
As a reward for their hard work, the students held a fair to share what they learned with the rest of the school and our school community. We had a wonderful time learning.