First graders explored the essential question, “Why do we need each other?” We began the year by learning about the classroom community, and the children discussed how to be a valuable member of a group.
Then, students explored our school community by interviewing various school employees to learn more about how they contribute to the school. They created “job description” drawings for each employee that they interviewed. The students also identified problems around the school and created a plan of action from their research.
These problems included things such as shade over the swing set and improvements to the playground. First graders were thrilled when eighth graders provided a Frisbee tic-tac-toe board and an interactive rain stick for the first grade garden as a part of their improvement plans.
After building an understanding of how a classroom and school community work best, students had several visits from guest speakers to learn more about local businesses and services in our neighborhood community.
Students used this new knowledge to create and operate a bakery, bookstore, yoga studio, and veterinary/psychology/medical/ dental clinic for a day. Broadening their definition of community, students were asked the question, “What makes our state a great place to live?”
The students conducted interviews based on this question and made posters representing the answers. As this question was discussed, the students were asked if there was anything they could do to help the people, animals, or environment. Through this question, the first graders decided to host the Second Annual Westminster Sock Drive in partnership with the Homeless Alliance.
Students set a goal to raise 600 pairs of socks, but blew away their goal by collecting 1,795 pairs of socks! First graders moved on to explore communities beyond our own such as the polar, rainforest, desert, and ocean regions.
Students wrote a non-fiction book and constructed a 3-D project based on the global community they chose to research. For example, the books included information about people and animals such as the Inuits and Arctic fox.
This final project allowed our students to demonstrate how parts of a community come together to provide mutually beneficial services and opportunities for people to live and work with each other.