Neighborhood Appreciation

Overview
Kids use observational skills when they explore the neighborhood around their school. They document landmark buildings and community organizations with instant cameras, and learn about neighborhood changes from parents, teachers, and community figures. Neighborhood appreciation occurs as students write about their excursions, use software to design a local map, and donate the finished product to the school.

For more about this special from Discovering the
Richness of Roxbury...
, e-mail Alma Wright, author and AT&T Teacher Disseminator
Learning Standards
  • Understand the concepts of physical geography.
  • Use technology to present information.
  • Conduct historical and social studies research.
  • Understand and use the writing process effectively.
  • Classroom Activities
    Preparation for walking tours becomes the studentsí responsibility as they read about community features. Locating local streets on a web site helps them plan routes. Students practice word processing skills to write and format permission slips, and invite parents and knowledgeable community members to

    walk with them. They learn about Polaroid cameras and strategize sharing procedures for each student group. During the tour, children take notes on their conversations with experts. Back in the classroom they develop chart stories and a neighborhood map.

    Community Activities
    Developing neighborhood know-how prepares students to act as Guides for a planned Neighborhood Tour. Displaying the map near the school entrance gives several classes a chance to visualize their environment.
    Careers
    As students prepare to organize a Neighborhood Tour, they observe the demeanor of their invited guests and discuss skills needed to become a tour guide and a photographer.
    Materials
    Exploring Our World and Communities by Kathleen M. Hollenbeck, 1997: Scholastic Inc.; My Community by Jill Norris, 1996: Evan-Moor Educational Publisher; How to Draw Maps and Charts by P. Beasant & A. Smith, 1993: Scholastic, Inc.; materials for invitations and stories, Polaroid cameras and film.
    Technology
    Students word process invitations and permission slips with ClarisWorks; work with "Neighborhood Map Machine" and an overhead projector to create a local map; discover their own street maps on the Internet.
    Assessment
    Organizing and labeling photographs allow children and teacher to check for landmark recognition. The finished map product serves to evaluate developing map reading skills.

    Web Sites
    MapQuest is a powerful way for students to find their streets. Kids feel their own sense of place with this tool.

    More about Walking Tours can be found at the Boston Women's Heritage Trail