Help students discover, evaluate, build, and change their communities by using these lessons and resources.
Who's Who Diagram Book
Students can learn more about the people that keep a neighborhood running smoothly by creating a class book together on community jobs, such as firefighter, mail carrier, grocery store owner, and doctor. If possible, invite these professionals in to visit your classroom and interview with students. Encourage children to research each selected job, finding out the required training, what happens in a typical day, and so on. Then they can create a page for each job. Have them draw illustrations and write or dictate the facts they learned. For example, they might include a labeled diagram of what the person does. Bind the pages together and invite children to flip through the book. Which job would they like to do most, and why?
Reinforce graphing skills as you explore frequently visited places and some favorite neighborhood spots. Help students brainstorm a list of places they regularly visit, such as the local park, playground, and supermarket. Ask them to draw illustrations of the places on their list and cut them out. Then create a graph using the place illustrations as headings for each location. Provide children with sticky notes labeled with their names and have them attach their name above their favorite place to visit. When the graph is complete, discuss the results: Which neighborhood spot was the most popular? Which was the least popular? Why is the place you chose special to you? What kinds of things do you do there?
Help children compare the characteristics of different kind of communities with a Venn diagram. Separate students into groups; one will be the "City" group and the other, "Country." Then invite the groups to discuss and suggest items to place in each circle. Once children have brainstormed ideas, have them compare the circles and see what they have in common. Those items go in the "Both" section, so that children may understand that these places have things in common despite their differences. As you discuss the diagram, talk about which type of community your own resembles most, and which category would it be placed?
Kids Can Help, Too
The building blocks of every great neighborhood are its citizens. Help children brainstorm ideas for creating community change. Then encourage them to practice good citizenship by doing a special project.
Work with the local police precinct to create a kids' safety program that includes fingerprinting and safety advice.
Adopt a local park or monument. Keep it clean and free of weeds; plant flowers or trees.
Coordinate a story hour at the local library and read to younger children.
Brighten up a neighborhood or a school wall by painting a mural on it.
Set up a food or toy drive for a local shelter.
Visit the National 4-H Council for more helpful ideas.
What will make a community of the future a great place to live? Have children design their own futuristic community that exists 50 or 100 years from now. Describe the many types of communities (e.g., cities, towns, rural areas); then discuss how students view their community now and how it may change. Encourage them to think about how other people live, work, and play. When students have shared their ideas, separate them into groups that will each plan an aspect of their future community. Provide craft paper and ask them to create a blueprint of their community. Have them label buildings, structures, and common areas and explain the purpose of each. For a fun extension, place the blueprint on the floor of the block center and invite children to build their community in 3-D. Then invite visitors from other classrooms in for a tour.