Texas History Tuesday: Republic of Texas

Welcome back for another week of Texas History Tuesday! This week's topic is the Republic of Texas. This unit always makes me laugh, because I get a lot of questions from my students like, "Is Texas still their own country?" or "What do you mean George Washington wasn't the first president?" As far as I think we come with Texas History, this unit is always a throwback to my kiddos being pretty clueless.

To try and clear up some of these misconceptions we start out with a PowerPoint. This helps us to get all the knitty gritty. It has everything from how the new country was formed, successes, challenges, and information on its leaders.

We take notes from the PowerPoint on our Republic of Texas Fold-Up which houses information on the new country's flag, government, capitol, and relations with Native Americans. In addition to this information, we also make a t-chart in our journals detailing the successes and challenges that the Republic of Texas faced.  

After we finish up our notes, which usually take us a couple of days we reflect on our learning with some extension questions. 

I finish up the week assessing my students' new knowledge with these Republic of Texas Task Cards. I like to hang them around the room and have students work through them at their own pace, but you could also play SCOOT!

Next week's Texas History Tuesday will be another edition of The Republic of Texas with some activities and extension projects. Be sure to check back!


  1. Alyssa,
    I have a sincere question for you--- I also teach 4th grade in Texas and while I LOVE social studies and the units we specifically cover in 4th, my colleagues do not see the value in it since they are soooo test driven and would prefer not to teach it all (sigh*). I want to know, how do you justify all that you do with social studies with all the high stakes testing we have to prepare for in reading, writing, and science?

  2. Science? What am I thinking!? I meant math!

  3. Great question! I know that in fourth grade, with three STAAR tests, it is tempting to throw social studies and science out the window. I will be honest. Do I teach SS every day? No, I don't. I plan four 20-30 minute lessons per week and usually make it through them, but not always. I do always make sure that I get the "meat" of a concept in, which sometimes takes some creativity and integration. For example, in reading right now we are working on research TEKS so we are researching the Civil War which is coming up in social studies. This means that I am able to get double the bang for my buck. Students are practicing the expectations for research and building their background knowledge at the same time. This way, when we do get to the Civil War in SS I am able to jump right into the more specific key ideas they need which eliminates a lot of introduction time. I have also been known to use content books in guided reading or for read alouds.

    The long and the short of it is, even though our students aren't tested on SS in fourth grade it is still in our standards to teach it, so we need to get it in anyway we can. I love all the projects and "fun stuff" that I often blog about, and feel that it is a very important part of students understanding, not just listing our history. I do realize though that we are always working against the clock, and that means that everything doesn't always get done.

    I apologize for the novel, but I truly do believe that we are doing a disservice to our students by not giving them a well rounded knowledge base. I hope that this helps, please let me know if you have any questions about specific parts of Texas History that I can help to figure out a plan for. I am more than happy to help!

    Please feel free to email me at teachinginthefastlane@gmail.com

  4. Thanks so much for getting back to me! That absolutely makes so much sense and validates what I believe. There's a lot of peer pressure just to prepare for a test, but I mirror your belief in that there is so much more to teaching than just teaching for the STAAR. I will definitely keep your email handy. I'm planning social studies as we speak :).


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