Sparking Motivation: Teaching Trunks - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

Sparking Motivation: Teaching Trunks

Hello friends! Boy, oh boy... it has been quite a week! It would have made for a very interesting Five For Friday, but my honey took me out for sushi (hooray!)
and then we spent some time with our BFFs, and Friday came and went.......... so instead, I'm going to share part of my week with you in this post because it is DEFINITELY going to be a motivator in my room!
My BBB Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching has this wonderful linky every weekend, and I get so many GREAT ideas from her and others. That's what I LOVE about blogging! I'm always able to try new things with my students that keep them excited for school!

That's also what I love about conferences. No, not parent conferences. ;-)

I went to the Georgia Social Studies Conference this week hoping to get some great ideas for some ways to keep Social Studies exciting in my classroom. I was sad to see that this year, there weren't a lot of sessions for elementary like in the past, but I was still able to come away with some great things. (...including a free t-shirt and an insulated cup... score!) One of the ideas I am going to get right on is Teaching Trunks.
The lady who presented this was actually an 8th grade teacher but she used to teach 4th. She has gone on eBay and state museum sites, and then of course collected things when she travels, and has so many awesome artifacts to share for her Social Studies topics!! The trunk came from my favorite store in the world: Hobby Lobby- she used the 50% off coupon and got it for $10! Heck yes! So I will be checking eBay and museums, etc for my Colonies unit, Revolution unit, and Westward Expansion unit. I think my kids will LOVE getting their hands on things that they would never get to see otherwise, and it's a way to make history come to life! It'll take some work, but if I keep at it, my trunks will rock in a few years!! :) If you have any suggestions of places to contact for any of the topics I listed above, I'd GLADLY take them!

Or even better, those of you that live near landmarks that go with these topics, I would totally LOVE artifacts and brochures, etc, that you could get your hands on- I would gladly pay you through PayPal!! And I'd be happy to do the same for any of you- for example, I've got access to all things civil rights with the MLK Center in Atlanta! :o) That's what bloggy friends are for, right?


  1. Now that's an awesome idea! I would love to do this with the third grade American Heroes, as well as maybe Ancient Greece and Branches of Government. Thanks for sharing that idea!

  2. One year I used a trunk about the Anasazi Native Americans. It was awesome. The historical society even paid for shipping. The kids loved it. It was full of artifacts and samples of minerals and rocks from the area. Love teaching trunks!

    Eclectic Educating

  3. I love this idea! Bringing social studies to life is the best way to help students understand it.
    Thank you!

    Fit to be Fourth
    Follow me on Bloglovin

  4. That is really neat! Plus, students love things that they can touch and look through and open up! I love it! Last year we went to the Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum and one of my students' favorite things about the day was just being able to touch "real" cotton because it's not something they come across in every day life! I'll keep my eyes open for anything that would fit your units :) In Cincinnati we have the Underground Railroad museum as well as a History Museum as well... next time I go, I'll see what they have!

    Thanks for sharing this "treasure,"
    My Shoe String Life

  5. Totally love! Teaching trunks! What a great way to bring history to life! Your kids won't be able to wait for social studies! Thanks for sharing a super idea and linking up BBB!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  6. I love the idea of teaching trunks! Fabulous idea!!

  7. I love this idea. They did something similar on one of our field trips and the students were hooked. I could look into info on the Underground Railway as well if you teach that some people escaped to Canada, also maybe on the Loyalists during the war who came to Canada - let me know. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I teach US History through the Reconstruction to my fifth graders and I'm desparately trying to find a way to get the kids engaged. We have a good textbook but they can't read it and extract the important information, so I'm finding that I'm spending SO much time on that that I'm bored and so are they! I'm trying a keep it, junk it, cloud it activity that they are liking, but it's still taking so darn long to get through a section. Do you use a textbook in your class? I'd love to hear how you structure your class. I could use some help. I've got my English and reading classes totally engaged, but social studies...not so much. Help!
    Are We There Yet?

  9. What a fantastic idea! I remember hearing about this in college, but then life happened and I totally forgot. I'm glad you reminded me of the idea!

    On a separate note, when you're working on the Revolution, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is an awesome resource. The people there are super friendly too (which helps!) They might be able to send you some resources if you call or email them.


  10. This is such a great idea! We actually have a trunk that rotates between our schools in our district. This would be a great idea to create my own, because I can't control when it shows up and how long we keep it. I will certainly be on the look out for some artifacts for you, especially living in Charleston, SC...lots of history here!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  11. From one aunt to another ... if you need anything Alamo-ish related I'm sure I'll be downtown sometime in the next couple of months. Does anyone else even talk about that as part of Western expansion? Been a Texan so long I don't even remember. ;)

  12. This is a great idea! Along the same lines, did you know that some National Parks have "traveling trunks" full of materials that they'll loan to teachers for free? You just have to pay for shipping. I have the one from Lincoln's Birthplace National Park coming for when we study the Gettysburg Address next month---I can't wait!


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