As part of social studies, our second graders have been learning about communities and what it means to belong. Students started by drawing representations of where they live–which are now on display in the classroom. Hanging these pictures grouped together allowed them to visually form their own ‘neighborhood.’ When looking at drawings of their homes, one child remarked, “I went next door to my neighbor’s home and looked back at my home to see what it looks like for my drawing.”
Reinforcing the San Domenico core value of community, teachers then encouraged students to expand beyond their homes and talk about what it means to be part of a community. “As second graders, we are ready to conquer the world — and we can start with our own community. We have the power to make meaningful contributions to our neighborhood,” remarked teacher Mia Christiansson. “We start by asking important questions: What does it mean to belong to our school community? How do you help at home, school, and in our larger community? What makes a responsible citizen?” Students were encouraged to discuss and share what we all can do to contribute to our neighborhood.
During this same study block, the students are exploring and investigating maps and learning how to interpret and read map keys. “Understanding where the students are in relation to other cities, states and countries expands their world view and concept of community. We used Google maps to fly over to Ireland where our students have pen pals,” explained Ms. Christiansson. “They hand write letters which are then sent digitally to our pen pals across the globe. This helps make everything real when we talk in class about what it means to be a global citizen.”