This lesson explains what the Census is and why it is important for everyone. Every ten years, we count everyone who is living in the U.S., from babies to the oldest people. This gives our government a clear idea of who lives where and regions where we have growth or decrease in population. If we know who lives where, we can make sure to provide services, such as education, health care, public services, and food/housing in the needed places. 

Students learn how and challenge others to reduce waste based on observing habits in the lunchroom or in the classroom trash can.

Adapt this one-period lesson plan for your grade level and follow it with a simple and powerful service project for Earth Day. The reflection brings learning and service impact together. 

Students listen and respond to a read-aloud book about making a shared space better. They walk around their neighborhood parks observing plants, use of space, and ways to make the shared space better. They problem-solve about things they can do and then interview and survey others to get ideas and permission to take action. 

In response to a read-aloud story about improving a community with individual gifts of time and talent, students explore talents and interests of their own and others. They practice listening and responding with respect. They raise awareness through volunteering of the benefit to communities of a variety of contributions. Everyone has something to give, and this lesson helps us respect and celebrate the contributions we all can make. Students internalize "I matter in my communities." 

Students gain empathy and use language to describe the mixed feelings that come with being new to a community. They watch and discuss video clips and compare character traits. Then they read a book and discuss how the book guides them to welcome new students to the classroom as the year progresses. As a service, they create coupon books for new students to use to get to know classroom routines and people.

At the beginning of the year we get to create our classroom community. We get to decide how we will learn and grow and play with each other for the rest of the year. This is a new beginning for all. As we start to decide what kind of classroom community we are going to be, we begin by thinking about the importance of the words we use with each other.

Building a caring and inclusive classroom begins with an understanding of where students are at not just academically, but emotionally. Many students today have been exposed to adverse childhood experiences that affect their ability to regulate their emotions. By teaching children positive behavior and self-regulation, teachers can help improve outcomes for all students. This lesson will introduce students to mindful activities and the use of gratitude journals.

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