But at the end of the day...it feels like it "guides" everything we do, so it has become our "GUIDING TEXT." Feel free to suggest a new name in the comments. I'm open to suggestions. :) Here's what it is, and what we do with it!
Our guiding texts is a condensed version of everything we cover during an integrated ELA/SS unit. It gives us a nice starting point in the room. It gives the parent's a nice resource for studying, and it gives me something to build our unit around.
It includes most of our vocabulary. (Some of our vocabulary is covered at a Word Work Station where my students work with affixes and roots.) It includes all of our Social Studies facts, and a few of our reading skills. It also provides a tremendous resource for my students when they are working on their CULMINATING PROJECT at the end of each unit.
You see...it guides our integration. :) From here I choose articles, primary and secondary sources, stories, and picture books to use as I teach my ELA standards and I get to "kill two birds with one stone," so to speak! By the time we've read and analyzed approximately 4 weeks of additional texts based on these topics, we have more than covered our social studies lessons! And, in the eyes of my parents, these are great notes for the kids to study when it is time for a social studies test. My parents and kids always know they can find these near the TAB in the Workshop Notebooks. :)
It's actually a very easy way to teach social studies and a great way to buy more reading time for you and your students! ;)