Neighborhood Vision

K, 1, 2

Students learn a process for identifying the beautification needs of their neighborhood. Through vizualization and a neighborhood walk, students assess the specific needs of their neighborhood.

PrintOne 45-Minute Class Period, Plus (optional) time for a neighborhood walk

The learner will:

  • survey the neighborhood.
  • identify areas in need of beatification.
  • visualize ways to improve the neighborhood.
  • define the word philanthropy as giving time, talent, or treasure or taking action for the common good.
  • light blue paper (one sheet per student)
  • crayons, markers or watercolors for coloring
  • chart paper
  • depending on how you introduce their neighborhood, you need either a computer with Google maps or photographs/video of the neighborhood
  • student copies of Handout One: Homework: Interview a Family Member
  • teacher copy of Blue Sky Activity
Teacher Preparation 

Read the Learning to Give resource paper on Community. 

Reflect on the three focus questions for the unit:

  • What are the needs in your neighborhood?
  • What community organizations address these needs?
  • How can we address the needs of the area?


  • beautify (v): to give qualities of great  pleasure
  • improve (v): to bring into a more desirable condition
  • survey (v): to take a general view or to appraise
  • neighborhood (n): the area or region around or near some place or thing
  • needs (n): something necessary or indispensable, such as food, shelter, and other necessities of life
  • community (n, pl. –ies): a group of people living in the same area and under the same government; a group having common interests and goals and who work together
  • philanthropy (n): giving time, talent, or treasure or taking action for the common good.
Home Connection 

Have your students interview one family member and one member of their community, like a store clerk or postal carrier. Use Handout One.


Google Maps

The following books can be used as read alouds for the unit lessons:

  • Caseley, Judith. On the Town: A Community Adventure
  • Cooper, Katz, Sharon Muehlenhardt, and Amy Bailey. Whose Hat Is This? A Look At Hats Workers Wear--Hard, Tall, and Shiny
  • Leaney, Cindy and Peter Wilks. Everyone Makes A Difference: A Story About Community
  • Sabin, Ellen. The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask,"What is a neighborhood?" Ask for several student volunteers to describe their neighborhood. Ask clarifying questions until the students have a common understanding of a neighborhood. This understanding will vary by community. Tell them that in this unit, they will be exploring the good things about their neighborhood and things that could make it an even better place in which to live, play,and grow up.

  2. Do one of the following to develop a common image of the shared neighborhood:

    • Make a display board full of pictures of the neighborhood.
    • Have students use Google Maps to view images of their neighborhood. They may go to "street view" on a map of their block/neighborhood. Or, as a demonstration, look up some of their addresses and the addresses of neighborhood resources (library, store, park, post office) on a Smartboard, projector or Promethean Board.
    • Take a walking trip outside of the school, either around the block, to a local park, or the downtown area.
  3. Follow student spirit to celebrate the great things about their neighborhood. Talk about how families live and work and play together in neighborhoods, and it is important for neighborhoods to be safe and healthy.

  4. Define philanthropy as giving time, talent, or treasure or taking action for the common good. When neighbors do things that make the neighborhood better, that helps everyone. That means they are acting for the common good. Give some examples, such as taking care of a neighbor's garden while they are on vacation, playing games with neighborhood kids, saying hello to neighbors, meeting new neighbors. Brainstorm other things that make a neighborhood a community.

  5. Ask, "Do neighborhoods keep getting better on their own, or do people have to work to make neighborhoods safe and healthy?" Ask the students if they are important to their neighborhoods, and have them name some of their behaviors and actions that do or could make the neighborhood positive and strong.

  6. Explain to the students that the class will be looking at their neighborhood to identify/survey what areas may need to be improved. Describe the homework assignment and give each student a copy of Handout One: Homework: Interview a family member. NOTE: Some of the things they come up with mayincludetrash clean-up, crime, planting greenery, traffic safety issues, public art, vandalism, school yard conditions, and maintenance.

  7. When finished explaining the homework,teach the Blue Sky activity that helps students envision what they would like to see improved in their neighborhood. See Blue Sky Activity for teacher directions.


Teacher observation of student participation. Student reflection in the form of illustration and/or writing.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe the "characteristics of place" related to the school and neighborhood.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.