Help students discover, evaluate, build, and change their communities by using these lessons and resources.
- Polaroid camera and film
- Butcher paper
- Paint and paintbrushes
- Index cards
Children will learn about the people and places in their neighborhood as they collaborate on a mural of their block.
1. With students take a walk on your block or a block nearby. Talk together about the buildings, stores, trees, houses, and people children see. Write down children's comments. If possible, take Polaroid photos of the buildings and stores.
2. Back in the classroom, talk together about what you saw on your walk. Invite children to work together to make a mural of the block. Discuss what the mural should show and how children can make it. Can they paint the entire block or just part of it? To ensure that everyone paints at the same scale, have children decide whether they'll show all of each building or just the first floor. Should each child paint a building, or should children work in small groups or pairs? Help children work together to decide how they want to make the mural.
3. Place a long sheet of butcher paper in a large space. Help children mark where each building or place will be painted. Then they can work individually or in groups to paint the places they decided to include. If you took photos, display them for children to refer to.
4. When the mural is dry, hang it on the wall. Ask children to name and describe each place they painted. Write their comments on index cards and tape each card below the mural, under the place it refers to. Talk together about the mural and all the people and places on the block.
Children can use the mural as a backdrop for dramatic play about the people and places in the neighborhood. Encourage them to make their own props to use in their role-play.
Children can learn about different neighborhoods with these inviting books.
- My Little Island by Franc Lessac
- On a Hot, Hot Day by Nicki Weiss
- The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse adapted by Janet Stephens
This activity originally appeared in the March, 1998 issue of Early Childhood Today.