Last week we wrapped up our little mini theme on Neighborhoods and I have to say that it was such fun! We only focus on this particular theme for 2 weeks, but even though it is fast, a lot of great learning takes place. Here are some of my favorite highlights as well as a FREEBIE down below :0)
Kick-Off at the Fire Station! Our first kindie field trip of the year was to the fire station. My teammate and I thought it would be a great way to kick off the Neighborhood theme as well as a good first field trip considering it’s only about 1 mile from the school. The kiddos were so excited to ride on a bus. Once we got to the firehouse our group was split into two different tour groups. Garrett was the fireman who showed my group around. I was so impressed with how comfortable he was with the kiddos and the amount of great info he shared. My kindies were in awe! And did you know that (at least in Colorado) they don’t charge you anything for the visit?!? All we had to do was pay for the bus. Talk about an awesome deal! We brought some cookies and valentines as a thank you :0)
Neighborhood and Community Helper Books! I love the reading group books that come along with our Treasures – Houghton Mifflin Curriculum. The kiddos really enjoyed reading these over the last 2 weeks. (On a side note, the reading curriculum at our school has been discontinued! any great suggestions for an amazing new choice?)
There are a lot of great books out there to help enhance this type of theme. Franklin’s Neighborhood is a super cute story about all of the different places and people that Franklin loves in his community. When I Grow Up is a fun book by Al Yankovic that did a great job getting my students thinking about what they want to be when they grow up. Me On The Map by Joan Sweeney starts with a map of the little boy’s room and ends up with a map of the world. Lastly, Clothesline Clues To Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling is an adorable book that allows the reader to “guess” what community helper is represented by the clothes or uniform that they would wear.
Anchor Charts! During many of our Reader’s Workshop times we make anchor charts to summarize or organize information we have learned or brainstorm ideas that stem from our reading. This theme was no exception. I think my favorite anchor chart was after we read Franklin’s Neighborhood. Together we made a list of places in our neighborhood where we live, work and play. The kiddos did a great job brainstorming! Another list we made was after reading Clothesline Clues To Jobs People Do. The kiddos were able to think of so many community helpers!
Descriptive Writing! My students and I have been talking a lot about being descriptive writers and I thought that describing community helpers would be a great way to build on this. First, I put the names of many different types of community helpers on little pieces of paper and put then in a jar. Kinda like charades, I had the kiddos pick a job and then describe it without actually saying what the job was. The other kiddos in the group would then try to guess what community helper was being described. This was a huge hit! Then during writer’s workshop my students wrote “clues” to their readers describing a community helper. Sharing time was so fun as my students guessed each other’s ideas.
Shapes in Our Community! Another fun activity was finding shapes in our community. I took a lot of different photos and used some from the internet to load onto my iPad. Then using the notability app the students worked together to find shapes in the pictures. This was a great way to bring some math into our theme! What shapes do you see?
Final Project! As a final project I wanted a way to showcase what the kiddos had learned and also have something that they could take home to share with their families. The idea actually came from one of my students! One day when we were talking about places in our neighborhood he said, “When I grow up I will live in the most awesome neighborhood ever”! It was so cute how excited he was to tell me what that would be :0) So for our final project we made our own maps of our own “awesome” neighborhoods. I had the students each pick one place that they could live, work and play to be on their map. They also listed 3 of their favorite community helpers so I could check for understanding. Then we reviewed how some of the maps we had seen in our books looked. Lastly, they created their maps. When we were all finished I was so impressed with how they turned out! The kiddos shared with the class and then took their maps home. (For my readers who are teachers at a christian school, I wanted to add a christian worldview element to our project. We also brainstormed 3 ways that students could share God’s love with people in their own communities and we made valentines for community helpers that we pray for like policemen or firemen.)
Look at how cute these are!!!
Here is a FREEBIE template I used for the kiddos to write our their live,work, play places and the three community helpers. Enjoy!
Even though it is a quick two week theme, I am so pleased with the level of engagement and amount of learning that took place in my classroom. Now I just have to get through Valentine’s Day tomorrow before we start a really big theme: The Super Human Body! …but I’ll save that for another post ;0)