Social Studies: 1st and 2nd Grade Students Explore the Concept of Community

Social Studies: 1st and 2nd Grade Students Explore the Concept of Community
Posted on 02/13/2015
In Social Studies, grades 1 and 2 students have started their yearlong exploration of the concept of community. Students started by thinking about the groups of which we are members. This helps the children focus on what it means to be a member of a group. We talked about how a community is a group of people who have something in common. The children realized that they are members of many different communities. The family is the first community that came to each child’s mind and then they thought about the other groups important to them, such as the soccer team, the after-school class or the Portuguese neighborhood to which they belong. We focused on what it takes to make a community work well. We read the books Amos and Boris and Amigo, which helped children think about how to develop and sustain friendships. We read Jamaica’s Blue Marker as a springboard to a discussion of the school as a community of which we are all members. We discussed how the actions of each individual contribute to the well being of the whole community. We also discussed the idea that although the people in a community share a common interest they also take pride in their differences. These differences enrich the community.

After the students developed an understanding of community, we moved to studying the King Open School community. During this study the children learned about all the people who work hard every day to keep the community running smoothly so children can learn. The students interviewed important King Open School community workers. We focused on the non-teaching staff in an effort to reveal the “behind the scenes” work of the school. The children learned the best part and the hardest part of each job. They learned how many people are here to help them. They get so excited when they see the people who visited the class because they now understand each person’s role and know how their work contributes to their life as members of the King Open School community.

CommunityThe children did some exciting projects to support their learning. They painted portraits and wrote about the people they interviewed. They painted hand prints using multicultural paint to demonstrate the wonderful diversity in the King Open School community. They painted and wrote about one of the many communities of which they are members. Finally they developed a mural that depicts the various neighborhoods in Cambridge. This mural helped us transition to our study of neighborhood communities.

The 1st /2nd Community Gathering and Breakfast was held on Thursday, December 4th. During this event we celebrated our students accomplishments thus far. The children presented some of their projects in the gym. Families returned to the classroom to enjoy a potluck breakfast. The students created some exceptional portraits. This was a joyous event!
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