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Sunday, July 26, 2015

First Grade: Unit 3 - Where I Am

Here it is!  Finally!  It seems like I started working on it such a long time ago, but it’s finally done and I’m very happy with the way it turned out.  After I completed my second grade social studies units last year, I decided to take on the task of tackling first grade social studies.  It has taken some time (oh hello, grad school), but I’m getting there!  Now that Unit 3 is complete, you know that means Unit 4 is just around the corner – always looking for the steps ahead.  Enough with the chit chat…
Like previous units, this unit includes all of the vocabulary cards that are used within the unit.  The vocabulary for this unit includes aerial view, map, globe, land mass, bodies of water, location, address, direction, direction words, relative location, region place, natural characteristics, human characteristics, human & environmental interaction, adapt, and seasons.  There are 12 different activities in this unit and even a few poster printables that I know all of us teacher’s love.  There are also page size directional arrows that can be printed out (left, right, up, and down).  I may teach 2nd grade, but I printed them out to go with my NSEW arrows.
First and foremost, I wanted to give you guys a little preview of some of the activities in the unit. If you'd like to see any of the rest, feel free to check out the preview in my store.  The first activity is really fun (I think)!  It shows students the difference between an aerial view and an eye level view.  What a great way to introduce the concept of maps by including some serious vocabulary words!  I decided to do a glass of water in my example - it was on my desk at the time!
I am such a huge fan of flap books.  I love them.  My students love them.  Plus, anything to assist in those fine motor skills is a major help in my classroom!  One of the best parts of this unit happens to be the discussion about positive and negative consequences to our environment when human interaction takes place.  I am always so surprised how thoughtful kids are when it comes to the environment when we just take the time to ask them and talk about it.

It's funny how kids know the right thing to do with our environment sometimes, but adults can't seem to figure it out beyond the dollars and cents.  The bonus with flap books - you aren't limited to only the answers I provide!  You don't even have to use them at all!  If your students come up with great ideas, use them, add them to what I have, make an anchor chart and get the discussion moving!  Those discussions become really inspiring lessons.  I think a great book to tag along with this lesson and a great intro to human and environmental interaction would be City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan.  I read this book to my students every year and they LOVE it! The fact that I teach in a big city helps, too.
I am a fan of comparing and contrasting, but I don't always use the venn to do so (although there is one in this unit).  This could be used to review after the flap book or even before - that's up to you!  You can always do three for each together as a class and have students come up with more ideas on the back.  I plan to use this with my students this year, because we do cover this a little further in 2nd grade, and I think it would be a great warm up to get their ideas moving.
As you can see by my drawing, this is why I am not the artist behind any clipart.  Drawing is not my super skill, but I do my best and my students think I'm the best artist they've ever seen!
Okay, so this little book discussing the importance of preparing your body for different seasons.  Here in Michigan, it's a little different, because that winter coat is always in the closet just in case and you never let a pair of shorts go too far.  You just never know!  I went over this with my niece the other day, who is starting 1st grade this year (ahhhhh!), and she read through it and was really into talking about why it's important to wear different types of clothes in different seasons.
I mean, if that's not an awesome drawing, I don't know what is (hahaha!).  If you want kids to just draw clothes, or them in clothes, or write descriptions, the page is left blank for you to decide.  I will probably have my kids draw themselves in seasonal appropriate clothes after we've discussed and made a four square chart for each of the seasons.  This is a great chance for students to draw and label or draw and write captions!

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