The concept of community appears in almost every aspect of the world. It refers to neighborhoods and cities created by people. In this unit, we look at many human communities to identify differences and similarities. We compare communities from thousands of years ago to those we know today. Our BIG IDEA is that a community is a group of living and non-living things sharing a common purpose or space. Our Enduring Understandings are: Community Systems change over time. All people have the same basic needs. Sometimes people move locations to meet basic needs. The United States of America is a country made up of many cultures.
Our Essential Questions are: 1 What makes a community sustainable? 2 How do you meet your needs? 3 What are some basic human rights? 4 Is freedom for all? 5 Who helps protect freedom? 6 Does where you live affect how you live?
One of our ongoing projects has been creating individual timeline pieces in the form of a “Community Systems” book. Inside, we compare NOW and THEN and explore how communities change over time. As a group, we create a visual timeline with watercolor paintings and written captions. We also look at our “place in space” and create a group concentric visual that ranges from our Riverview Charter School community all of the way to Our Solar System.
Our field trip this unit was a visit to Honey Horn Plantation on Hilton Head Island to the Coastal Discovery Museum. There, we learned how Native American “Indians” lived here before Europeans arrived hundreds of years ago. We made pinch pots and used shells, acorns and feathers to decorate the clay. We learned how colonial South Carolinians lived soon after arriving to America and made headache bags using local herbs and spices and played typical games of colonial children.
Students have had several opportunities to connect history to our own lives.For our Community Systems Book, students shared stories of how our families came to North America.We were fascinated to learn that families came from places including Europe, Africa, Asia from the 1600’s all the way to the 21st century. Each student chose a person, place or thing from North American history.After researching using books and text, students created a 3 sentence caption.They sketched and watercolored an illustration to match.To publish, every piece is placed chronologically on a timeline displaying famous figures and events from pre-history to current events .
In writing, we have focused on Informational Text.Writing to teach about a subject is informational writing.Students chose topics to show their expertise.They crafted an introduction, a table of contents, 3 subtopics and a closing.After drafting, students edited and published the final product. In guided reading, we are reading many non-fiction books. This exposure as readers helps us as writers. Indexes, glossaries and tables of contents are all features that we are becoming familiar with using. We now should understand how diagrams and bold text help us as readers to understand topics more clearly.
In mathematics, geometry has been on the scene. In second grade, students should understand the attributes of 2D and 3D shapes and be able to draw them. Students learn to partition shapes into smaller parts called fractions. This concept is helpful during our telling time and monies studied later in the school year.
We believe each student in our classroom deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged each and every day he/she comes to school. Differentiation is key in second grade as we strive to teach the whole child, but we also encourage everyone to feel that he/she is part of our total community system. Our integrated units of study all relate to SYSTEMS to include: Magnets, Human Body Systems, Community Systems, Weather Systems and Eco-systems. Our Daily 5 approach for literacy gives students choices while they work independently to include read to self, read to someone, work on writing, word work and listen to reading. Students are then able to work in small groups or individually with the teacher for guided reading, assessment and conferencing. Our writer's workshop is inspired by Lucy Calkins. We focus on personal narratives, informational writing, opinion writing and poetry. We follow a rigorous mathematics curriculum based on "EngageNY" that nurtures a solid understanding of key mathematical concepts. We appreciate the support of our families as we have fun learning and growing together as 21st century citizens!