As the students learn about communities, their neighborhood becomes a broader picture for them to think about as a place where they are a member and can make a difference. Learning that the community is diverse is important The lesson will introduce some community helpers in whom the learners can put their trust.
Two Thirty-five Minute Class Periods
The learner will:
- identify places where people in their community gather together.
- describe ways that each member in the neighborhood can work together to make it a nice place to live.
The students will determine what they can do to contribute to their classroom or school community. They will volunteer to do one job.
- The People in your Neighborhood (song) from Sesame Street
- A piece of colored paper for each student large enough to trace their hand
Play the song "The People in your Neighborhood" from Sesame Street.
- Make a list of items in the neighborhood that are shared by others (parks, libraries, etc.). Write them on large newsprint. Ask students who they would trust in their community to help them with certain problems or situations, for example:
- Who would you call if you were home alone and heard a strange noise and saw a person walking around your house?
- Who would you trust to help you if your cat was stuck in a tree?
- Who could you trust to call if you saw smoke in your house?
- Create a list of people around the community that can be trusted to help in those situations. (Neighbors could be included in some of the answers.)
- Have community speakers come and show the equipment that they need when they help people in the community. Ask the speakers to share what time, talents, and treasures they use to help the community and to discuss why the learners can trust them to do their job. Have your classroom set up into as many stations as you have visiting community volunteers. Rotate the students from station to station approximately every seven to ten minutes.
- Using a digital or Polaroid camera, take a picture of each helper. (Many public libraries loan these free of charge.) After the visitors leave, ask the children to dictate a few facts that they remember about each helper. Mount the pictures and sentences on large paper and staple into a book for the class library.
- Ask: Who needs to help in our community? Allow the students to brainstorm and remind them that: "Everyone is a community helper in our community!"
- Through class discussion, make a list of jobs that need to be done in the classroom/school common area to make it the best place to learn. Using the colored paper, have each child trace and cut out a hand pattern and label it with their name. Ask each student to decide what one thing on the list they are willing to do for the common good, and attach their hand to the list near that job. Set a time for the "jobs" to be done.
- Make a list of ways to improve our neighborhoods, for example, build a park with toys, have more sidewalks to ride bikes on, clean up the trash, etc. Ask the learners to decide why these things should be done. Who should do these projects?
- Discuss who it is in the neighborhood that does take care of the commons areas (those that belong to everyone) in the neighborhood. Do the police officers pick up trash or do volunteer groups?
- Make a T chart with the headings Volunteer/Work. Ask students to fill in the chart with their knowledge from the community volunteers.
- Contact your local Michigan Jaycee Chapter (1-800-949-6452) to find out service projects that they contribute to neighborhoods. More resources for civic groups include: Lions Club, Rotary Club, Optimists Club, Civitan Club, etc.
Teacher observation of the student responses in creating the class book.
- Take a neighborhood walk to look for "common" areas. Talk about who is responsible for their care and what needs to be done to keep them as usable resources.
- Create "I'm a Volunteer" badges for the students to wear as they do the jobs they have selected. They can then wear them home and use it to explain their job.
- Brown, Marcia. Stone Soup. Aladdin Paperbacks, 1987. ISBN: 0689711034.
- Moss, J. The People in Your Neighborhood. Children's Television Workshop: Sony Wonder, 1970. Title of CD: Sesame Street Platinum All-time Favorites. (Although no longer produced for purchase, this CD is readily available for checkout at most public libraries.)