One of the things about the third grade team at my school as opposed to the fifth grade team at my school is that they never teach Social Studies. I know why this is, because at a closed door meeting with the fifth grade team last year, the former principal told us to back off on the Social Studies and focus on Reading, Writing, and Math. Why?
Testing which affects funding only tests Reading, Writing and Math. You can probably fill in the blanks about why we were told to back off on teaching the required amount of Social Studies.
In spite of all this and in spite of the fact that my new teammates don't teach Social Studies, I still feel the conviction to teach enough Social Studies. Call me crazy, but I think it is just as important that students understand basic Civics and History and Geography as it is that they know Reading, Writing, and Math.
Here's my confession, though. We're a month into the school year and today was the first time I taught Social Studies this year. I told the kids we would be doing a Social Studies lesson. One little girl said in an awed voice, "We get to do Social Studies?!" How sad is that? We really shouldn't take away that subject from our students. What if I'm teaching a future politician? What if I'm teaching a geologist or a conservationist or a writer for National Geographic?
Personally, I just love Social Studies. I am such a nerd I spend hours on the National Geographic webpage every week. I need to be better about teaching it--no matter what I've been told in the past.