Unit 2: My community
Alphabet books will be the means by which the students will read about particular communities. They will mimic this form of writing to write about their own community to build a class alphabet book about our shared community.
Goals: Students will learn what a community is and about their own community make-up.
Objective: The student will be able to select a topic to write about within out community.
The student will be able to write a paragraph describing something in his/her community.
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills
§110.3. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 1. (b) Knowledge and skills.
(15) Reading/inquiry/research. The student generates questions and conducts research about topics using information from a variety of sources, including selections read aloud.
(19) Writing/writing processes. The student selects and uses writing processes to compose original text. The student is expected to: (A) generate ideas before writing on self-selected topics (K-1); (B) generate ideas before writing on assigned tasks (K-1); (C) develop drafts (1-3); (D) revise selected drafts for varied purposes, including to achieve a sense of audience, precise word choices, and vivid images (1-3); and (E) use available technology to compose text (K-3).
§113.3. Social Studies, Grade 1. (b) Knowledge and skills. (1) History. The student understands how historical figures helped to shape our community, state, and nation.
http://edtech.kennesaw.edu/web/fam-com.html This simple webpages is packed full of information about families and communities, mainly geared towards teachers. Each website linked on this page has ideas of lesson plans, extensions, projects, information, websites and much more all relating to families and communities.
http://www.teach-nology.com/teachers/lesson_plans/history/comm/ This informative website says that it is about community helpers, but in fact, this website is chucked full of information about communities. I used some of the information found here as extension ideas for this assignment, but I didn’t even scratch the surface because there are many, many more listed here. Steiner, S. (2001). Promoting a Global Community Through Multicultural Children’s Literature. New York: Teachers Ideas Press, Inc.
This informative book gives teachers ideas about how to incorporate multi-cultural into the classroom to help students come to an understanding of world cultures. Not only does this book provide a list of over 800 recommended book titles for grades K-8, but there are also book extension ideas.
http://www.eduplace.com/ss/act/brochure.html and http://www.eduplace.com/ss/act/comp.html . Education place on the internet has many wonderful resources available for teachers who are studying the community theme.
Required reading: Mentor text: L Is for Lone Star: A Texas Alphabet (Alphabet Series) by Carol Crane
Student choice in reading
Students will be assigned to read silently for 15 minutes per day (SSR). The students are free to read any book that they choose to bring to the classroom during SSR time, but there are inevitably students who will either not have books they bring with them or they will finish their own book and look for book recommendations. Therefore, with each unit, I will create a list of at least 15 book recommends. Each day I will give a book talk about a different book. Those books will then be available in the classroom library for students to read during SSR or during their own free time.
L is for Lincoln: An Illinois Alphabet by Kathy-jo Wargin (2000) This alphabet book highlights the places, people, inventions and characteristics unique to the State of Illinois.
T is for Tar Heel: A North Carolina Alphabet by Carol Crane (2003) This is an alphabet book that highlights the people, inventions, places and characteristics unique to the state of North Carolina.
M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet by Mike Ulmer (2001) This alphabet book highlights the accomplishments, characteristics, people, places, landmarks and ideas unique to an entire country.
Journey Around Boston from A to Z by Marth Day Zschock (2001) This charming alphabet book tells all about the history, people, and places that makes this city what it is today.
Fenway Park from A to Z: A Children’s book by the Red Sox Wives (2002) This simple alphabet book tells about the Red Sox baseball team and all the ideas and things surrounding being a Red Sox fan.
From Arapesh to Zuni: A Book of Bibleless Peoples by Karen Lewis (1986) This alphabet book highlights indigenous peoples from all over the world, each letter highlighting a different people and culture.
ABC by Dr. Seuss (1963). This simple alphabet book highlights things that begin with each letter of the alphabet while repeating the alphabet many times. This book is included in student choice because there are some students who want to read independently, but do not have the skills to tackle a harder book.
The Wacky Wedding: A Book of Alphabet Antics by Pamela Duncan Edwards (1999). This insect story is written so that each page is dedicated to a different letter of the alphabet while still telling the tale of an ants wedding.
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert (1989) This simple book, both in look and in words, highlights many fruits and vegetables that begin with each of the letters of the alphabet.
Into the A, B, Sea by Deborah Lee Rose (2000) This simple rhyming book colorfully highlights animals of the sea starting with each letter of the alphabet all the while creating a delightful story underwater. Good for young readers as well.
On the Town: A Community Adventure by Judith Caseley (2002) This book mimics a student’s journal of their community with accompanying watercolor illustrations.From Here to There by Margery Cuyler (1999) This book is about a young girl explaining where she lives. She starts with her house, then expands out to her street, town, county, state, country, planet, then universe. This is a short and simple book, but gives a great overview of a child’s world as it expands outward.
Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day by Richard Scarry (1968). This book tells in funny stories about people’s jobs and lives within a community. Appealing especially to boys, this book is great for low readers, as the pictures are interesting and detailed.Community Helpers from A to Z by Bobbie D. Kalman (1997) This alphabet book explores different community helpers and neighborhood jobs from A to Z.
Mapping Penny’s World by Loreen Leedy (2003) This simple book is about mapping the immediate world around students.
Jamaica Louise James by Amy Hest (1997) This interesting book is about a young girl who decides to beautify her local subway, which in turns brings her community closer together.
Student choice in writing
The students will write for 10 minutes every day, but this is considered student choice because during these 10 minutes students can write about anything they want or if they cannot think of anything to write they can write something from the list of writing ideas in the front of their writing journals.
The students will write an alphabet book about our community. Each student will be assigned a letter. Then, as a class we will come up with ideas of things in our community that begin with each of the letters of the alphabet. After many ideas for each letter are created, each student will decide which “thing” for their letter they would like to write about and then illustrate. When the students write about the thing that begins with their letter they are to write an entire paragraph about that thing. They can then add an illustration to go with their paragraph.
I have created a sample paragraph about something in our community that the students can learn from and use as an example.
eXtension. Killeen, TX was created when the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railways extended their lines through central Texas in 1872. The town was named after Frank P. Killeen, who was the Railroad’s assistant manager. Killeen remained a small town until 1942 when Camp Hood was located there during WWII by the US Army. Camp Hood was later named Fort Hood and it caused the small town to grow into the city it is today.
Writing as a process and Reading as a process
Explain purpose and present topic (for writing and reading) .
The purpose of the reading is to study Alphabet books and learn about what makes up a community. The purpose of the writing assignment is to create a classroom alphabet book where each student is assigned to write a paragraph about something in our community that begins with the letter they are assigned. The purpose is to better their writing skills. The reason I picked a class book is because it will be a nice addition to the classroom library.Explain to the students what a community is. Lead a discussion amongst the members of the class about our community. Take notes of all the different parts of our community that the students mention for use tomorrow in brainstorming.
Have the students begin brainstorming what their community is made of, then as a class we will come up with ideas of things in our community that begin with each of the letters of the alphabet. This brainstorming supports both the processes of writing and the process of reading, building background information and accessing prior knowledge.
I have created a sample list for the teacher to “fill in” the letters that the students do not think of or to give the teacher ideas of things that they can add in. After many ideas for each letter are created, each student will decide which “thing” for their letter they would like to write about and then illustrate. When the students write about the thing that begins with their letter they are to write an entire paragraph about that thing. They can then add an illustration to go with their paragraph.
List of Questions to help spark the students in their list making:
Are there book characters from our area?
Does our community have sports teams?
Has any historical events occurred in our area?
Is our area known for a particular type of music or musician?
Are there any cultural unique nesses to our area or community?
Is our area known for particular types of weather?
Are any famous people from our community?
Does our community have any distinguishing symbols or signs?
Have any inventions been made in our community?
Are any animals native to our area?
Sample (any community)
A – Artwork
B – Bowling Alley,
C – Churches, Carwash, College
D – Doctor’s office
E – Elementary school,
F – Fire station, Flag
G – Grassy field, Grain
H – Hospital, High School,
I – Ice-Cream shop, , ice skating rink,
J – janitor
K – kennel, key maker, kiosk, knitting store,
L – Library, Lake
M – Motels, Mall
N – Navy recruiter, nature, nail salon, Newspaper
P – Park, playgrounds, police station, pool
Q – Quilt Shop
R – Restaurants, Rodeo, River, Races
S – Stores, Streets, Signs, Schools, Statues, Sporting events or venues, synagogue
T – Theatre
U -U-Haul, United Bank, University, US Army recruiter, USPS, UPS, US gov office, and Utility Company
V – Vacuum store/seller, vault, variety store, various places, vegetable market,
W – warehouse, water park, wildflowers, wine seller,
Y -yard, yacht, YMCA, YWCA, yoga class, youth sports,
Z – Zoo
Sample: Killeen, TX
A – airport, animal control, animal shelter
B -Bell county, Bowling Alley, Bluebonnets
C – Churches, Carwash, Copperas Cove
D – Dentist
E – Ellison High School, Elvis was stationed at Fort Hood
F – Fort Hood, Fire station
G – Grassy field, Grain
H – Hospital, Harker Heights
I – Ice Cream Parlor
J – Janitor Service, jogging track, judge,
K – Killeen spelled out in shrubs on W.S. Young, Killeen High School, KISD
L – Library, Lone Star State,
M – Motels, Mall, municipal courts
N – newspaper, navy recruiter, nature, nail salon
O – optometrist
P – Park, playgrounds, police station
Q – Quilt Shop
R – Restaurants, Rodeo
S – Stores, Streets, Signs, schools,
T – Theatre
U – University (CTC and Tarleton State Univ), utility
V – vehicle sales
W – Water treatment
X – eXtension of railroad
Y – youth sports, yoga class, YMCA, yards
Z – zoo in Waco
Sample: Brampton, England, UK
A – A-14, Anglican Church
B -Butcher, Black Bull Pub
C – Church Co-op, Community Center, Church Hall, Cemetery, Cricket Club
D – Dragoon Pub
E – Elizabethan Architecture, Edwardian Architecture
F – Fields surrounding Brampton, Footpaths, Frosts
G – Green, Gardens
H – Horseshoes Way, Harrier Pub, Huntingdon
I – Institute
J – Jacobean Architecture
K – Kyle Crescent
L – Lawn Bowling Club
M – Memorial playing fields, Methodist church, Medieval architecture
N – Neighbors
O – Obelisk
P – Park, playgrounds, playgroup, post office
Q – quake, quarter hour to walk from our house to the church
R – Roundhouse, Rectory, RAF Brampton, Renaissance Architecture
S – Salon, school, Signs, streets, Samuel Pepys, shops
T – Thatched Cottages
U – umbrellas
V – Village of the Year 2003, Village sign
W – walking paths, water (stream),
Y – yellow daffodils
Z – zoom down our street,
Assign each student their letter of the alphabet. Give them the list of things in our community that begin with that letter. Allow each student to pick which thing in the community that begins with their letter that they would like to write about. For example, if the student receives the letter U. Their list of possible choices might be: U-Haul storage, United Bank, University, umbrella stand, US Army recruiter, US Postal Service, UPS, US government office, and Utility Company. The student then might pick the University.
Do a mini-lesson with the students, showing the X example to the students and then creating another example using a different difficult letter of the alphabet. By doing two difficult letters it allows some students to repeat easy letters.
Arrange ahead of time with the school librarian to have any books from the library about the local area to have in the classroom. Also, have ready for the students pamphlets, brochures, booklets, internet access, phone books, and anything else the students can use in order to find out information about their particular spot in the community.
While preparing for their writing assignment, the students are building background knowledge for their mentor text.
Teach mini-lesson on research
Toward the end of the lesson time, talk about and share information collected, reflect on what’s learned.
Discuss topic of “Our Community” again. Write about topic in notebooks. Continue research if needed.
Preview Mentor Text, which is dependant upon where the lesson is taught, but any book in the Discover America State By State Alphabet Series will do. For this example we will use L Is for Lone Star: A Texas Alphabet by Carol Crane.
Introduce mentor text, which is the alphabet book. Study text. As a class talk about what you notice about the text. The entire mentor text is lengthy and detailed. It would be best to read a few different pages each day this week, so that the students do not get overloaded, but also to give them fresh ideas for their writing each day.
Do a field trip or experience relating to topic. Take a trip to the community center or city offices to have a representative talk about what makes our community special and what makes up our community.
Read a few pages of the mentor text, then lead a discussion about what each student learned about their subject. Then teach a mini-lesson on which information to include in a draft. Next, have the students begin writing about subject, their first draft.
Read a few more pages of the mentor text
Have students finish draft.
Read a few more pages of the mentor text. Revisit purpose and writing prompt. Make sure that students fully understand what the original assignment is so that as they work this week they will be on task. Begin to have the students revise drafts. To do this, teach a mini-lesson according to what students need, focusing on qualities of good writing.
Read a few more pages of the mentor text.
Reread draft and compare to mentor text. Edit parts of their draft that might not align with purpose/goal of assignment.
Finish the mentor text.
Teach mini-lesson on proofreading and have the students work in pairs to proofread their papers.
Have the students hand in their final draft with accompanying drawing to be laminated and put into the class book. Assemble the class book today. Towards the end of class, have the students summarize and discuss what they have learned by reading the mentor text and writing about their own community.
Have a celebration of final work. The students can go to another classroom and read their book to younger students. Parents can be invited in and the students can read their book to the parents and other guests. Afterwards, have the students reflect on what you’ve learned about our community and about the reading and writing process.
Many different digital tools can be incorporated into this unit. Students can type their paragraph on the computer. Students can use digital cameras and take photographs of the places in the community that they wrote about in their paragraph. The class can print off their pages and create a class book to go in the library. The teacher could also send an electronic copy of the book to each parent/student for their own personal use. The students can also present a digital copy of their book to the local Chamber of Commerce or Community Center.
http://homepages.ius.edu/JLOI/Community%20Helpers%20Web%20quest.htm This website is made for first graders who are studying communities and community helpers. It is designed that students can use this website on their own and with ease, learning about communities and community helpers. It is entertaining and informative.
Assessment of the objective
Assessment will be done using a rubric. The students will receive a copy of the rubric at the beginning of the three week unit and will refer back to the rubric often during the three weeks so that the student can ensure that they are meeting the requirements of the assignment.
My Community 6-Trait Writing Rubric
____/10 Student wrote 10 sentences.
____/10 The 10 sentences are about a selected location in the community. (Ideas)
____/10 The sentences flow together and do not sound choppy. The sentences are well built and varied. (Organization and Sentence Fluency)
____/2 The student writes to the reader in an engaging and compelling fashion. (Voice)
____/10 The student uses a descriptive words in a natural way (Word Choice).
____/10 The student spells correctly, uses correct punctuation, grammar and capitalization. (Conventions).
____/10 The student included pleasing drawings and photos to accompany their sentences (Presentation).
1. The class can go on field trips to the places that are in their community, or places can come to the (such as fire fighters, police officers, city officials, park rangers, the mayor or other community representatives).
2. If students would like to learn about other communities where people live, there is a great website that lets the student(s) become a virtual traveler: http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/globaltrek/index.htm . On this website they can visit places and learn about background information, culture, people, maps, facts about the place, take guided tours and create a travel journal on-line. 3. Students can use the “My Community” unit as a springboard for studying about community helpers, which is a theme that has many resources on the internet, such as: www.edhelper.com/community_helpers.htm, and www.lfelem.lfc.edu/resources/sstudies/kinder/communhelpers.html.
4. Students can make maps of their communities, thereby studying geography in social studies.
5. Students can study what makes the difference between a town, city, suburb and so on. They can use this community theme to go beyond it and study more general terms.
6. Studying about communities is a great springboard for studying about diverse communities of people or diversity in general. There are a great many resources available for this type of study, as well as many children’s literature books that deal with this topic. One fine example is: http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/lit_resources/diversity/multicultural/communities.html