As a elementary school teacher who is responsible for teaching all content areas I must say that my only saving grace somedays is the creation of cross-curricular lessons/activities! With such a huge emphasis on reading and math nowadays I find that science and social studies tend to get the back burner and the least amount of emphasis.-which is sad because they are usually the favorites among students. To ensure I can at least get 30 minutes of either science/social studies in daily I try and incorporate them into my reading/writing units as much as I can.
One way I try and do this for social studies is by utilizing the Scholastic News that my grade level subscribes to. It covers current events, geography, and historical events; which almost always ties into a reading story we have recently read (or can easily dig up). The subscription offers website access for students and teachers, so we can even promote some technology usage within it. It is also a fantastic non-fiction read (extremely difficult genre for 3rd graders) for my students that is engaging and offers videos, web links, vocabulary building activities, and writing prompts (usually even argumentative!) for the students. There is also always a reading skill that the articles focus on weekly such as main idea, compare/contrast, cause and effect, etc. We receive the magazines weekly and my students are always so excited to see me pull them from my mailbox. It is so interesting to hear my 3rd graders debate hot topics such as the presidential race or how we should encourage people to recycle.