We were talking yesterday, and one of the things my learners explained to me was that no matter how many pictures I drew, or how often we used our maps and globe, or how many stories I told, or how often they recited facts and dates and causes...
... it still wasn't enough to alert them to the fact that the words empire and imperial and emperor and imperious were all talking about the same thing.
To attain vocabulary, they had to see and use written words - not just charts and tables and maps and diagrams.
I didn't protest that I'd been beseeching them all year to write about social studies. Instead, I thought about what I could do.
One thing, of course, is what I was supposed to do this winter and forgot or misplaced. I need to write about social studies myself - I want to create a straight-forward, well illustrated reading-level-6ish history running from about 1500 to the present. But an easy-read history may still leave my learners short on hard-reading vocabulary.
Maybe I need to spend the summer with Barron's (6th edition, Canadian) "Glossary of Social Studies Terms", a 650 word vocabulary list.
Actually, the most useful resource my learners found this year was a 1966 edition of Golden Press's multi-volume The Universal History of the World. Though I haven't used them, Karen North actually created some work-along questions, available at Karen's Korner.