Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Messy Potatoes = Mesopotamia

And you thought this was going to be a post about the Thanksgiving side dish, right?

Alas, no. This entry is for all of the (okay, maybe the FOUR) people who will ever read this who happen to teach sixth grade social studies.

Poor social studies. The forgotten, unloved cousin of curriculum. The only-if-you-have time subject...

Many administrators believe social studies can be summarized in a few texts to be taught quickly during the literacy block.  Some of my colleagues don't teach social studies at all.  I happen to believe that social studies is important. As evidenced by the number of children who count Texas, Mexico, and even Orlando as CONTINENTS, I am concerned that this generation will grow up culturally illiterate if someone doesn't stop and say: Wait! social studies DOES matter!

Learning about the past helps us better understand our lives today (Sorry, Santayana, your quote has been mangled beyond recognition). If nothing else, social studies helps you locate yourself on a map!

ANYWAY... we are studying Mesopotamia in sixth grade (often neglected because it lacks the glitz and bling that ancient Egypt offers).  Mesopotamia provided many things to the civilizations that followed... including (many believe) the wheel, a code of written laws, an early type of plow, even one of the first Super Heroes (gotta love Gilgamesh!).

So if you are one of those four people that have the JOY of teaching Mesopotamia, I have provided a little song for you... sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

An ancient civilization was born
In Mesopotamia!

And if you want to learn all of the verses, click on the google.docs link here:  The Mesopotamia Song

And, since many sixth graders begin our study thinking that I AM saying Messy Potatoes, it's okay to have a little respect for the spud.  Much like my beloved Mesopotamia, potatoes have been playing second fiddle to the turkey for a very long time.  I personally adore potatoes above all of the other feast day dishes... but then again, I'm the one who is blogging about Mesopotamia!


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE teaching Social Studies and we will be learning about the SEVEN continents in December. :) I wish I could tell you more but one of our 6th grade teachers loves teaching all about Mesopotamia. But that's all I know.
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  2. Good morning, Kim.

    Your blog brings me happiness so I have given you the SUNSHINE award! Fly on over to the Corner to grab the jpg and all of the details.

    Thankful for you,

    The Corner On Character

  3. I awarded you the Sunshine Award!!! Come grab it :) http://www.ateacherstreasure.com/2011/11/treasured-award-sunshine-award.html

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen ❤
    A Teacher's Treasure

  4. Oh my goodness, Kim, I am so with you on feeling like Social Studies is neglected! You sparked something that I am very passionate about teaching. I teach American History, and I love it. It perfectly integrates into reading as it lends itself to teaching all of the comprehension and thinking skills. It is so fascinating and thought provoking, and I just hate when it is left out. So keep posting the awesome history ideas! :) I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  5. Thanks, Casey!
    I'm SO glad someone sees the value in teaching social studies. I love my social studies time. With very little prompting, students can become really interested in the content and the thinking--which sets the foundation for even richer learning as they go through school.
    Thanks for commiserating! I feel better on the social studies train with a buddy!


  6. I agree! It does make for richer learning later! And, yes I am DEFINITELY on the social studies train with you! :)

  7. Here's to social studies teachers everywhere! We need to set aside a day to blog about just that...after all, there is "Slice of Life Tuesday" and "Poetry Friday" and "Nonfiction Monday"...why not Social Studies Thursday"?? With someone new hosting and rounding up??

  8. I absolutely loved teaching Mesopotamia! 6th grade Social Studies has so much substance. I must admit that teaching 1st/2nd Social Studies is BORING! And I must admit that I have had some of those days in which I say, "Oh, this can wait, let's do Science instead."

  9. I LOVE teaching social studies! Unfortunately, my grade 6 curriculum isn't the most interesting ... but we do it with gusto anyway. I always have a split class, and have been lucky to be able to teach one grade curriculum the one year, and the other the next (I can do this with science, too). I used to really like the grade 7 history and geography with I had a 6/7 class, and now with my 5/6 class, I'm patiently waiting for next year when I can finally teach ancient civilizations.

    Runde's Room

  10. Love it!! I teach 5th grade and we begin our year with the study of Mesopotamia. I will flag this and use it next year!


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