Friday, June 3, 2016

Large Group Literacy: Community Helpers

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up
This is a sentence chart activity.  Something that I use that I haven't talked about are turn sticks.  Turn sticks are craft sticks with a decorative top to them.  You can buy sets of these from teacher stores or you can make your own.  Some teachers choose to have a set with each student's name on a stick to pull, I prefer just to hand them out.  They give a great visual to you immediately of who has had a turn to speak, and who hasn't.  The decorative piece gives the students who have had a turn something to fidget with as they learn to wait politely for others to take their turn.
With this sentence chart, I do it the first day.  Bold, I know, some students aren't fully aware of different job types.  Our first book introducing the topic that morning is Community Helpers A to Z.  I place this book along with alphabet community helper flash cards placed on the floor for students to browse and identify jobs if they haven't already thought about what job that they'd like to have when they grow up.
During nap, I type up this list and post it on our classroom website for parents to review and feel involved in the learning process.

How Do I Look?
Using markers, stickers, fabric swatches, and more, students decorate a black and white print-out of their picture.  Students enjoy doing things that are all about them, and to decorate themselves pulls in those students who have been shying away from the art area, watch as they actively work on this project.

The House That Jack Built Big Book Reading
I use the copy illustrated by Pam Adams because it has each character hiding in the pictures for each page.  I have each student take a turn finding the characters as they're introduced on each page after we've read through the story as our transition to the next activity.

Write a Letter to Me!
I give students a full piece of paper to color, decorate, and more with color pencils.  Once they've finished with their paper, I place them into their corresponding pre-addressed envelope.  Take these envelopes to your front office and have them stamped to send off to the students.  Students love asking their parents if mail has come for them and it really makes an impact on them when they do get their letter from themselves at home.  This activity also helps the office staff to keep track of student addresses for zoning purposes so we know who we need to get in contact with when their letters are returned to the school.

Machines That Help Us
This is an activity that I use after we read Discovery Kids: Machines That Help.  I plan this last near the end of our time spent on Community Helpers.  We've talked about people and jobs, but we have technological tools that also support our daily lives from microwaves to car to dryers and more.  I enjoy this class chart because it is an easy way to grab assessment notes on the indicator of understanding technology and the affect it has on our daily lives.

This looks pretty sparing for the two weeks that I teach community helpers for but when I plan for guest speakers, I try to plan for them to come for Large Group Literacy.  It is usually later in the day making it easier for guests to plan to come to the school.  Also, guest speakers are times where students are required to exercise their listening skills and communication skills through discussions or dialogue.  You can send home a questionnaire towards the beginning of the school year to learn what jobs class parents have and if they'll be willing to come and discuss what they do with the class.  When scheduling guest speakers, contact potential guests two to four week prior to when you would like them to visit your classroom.  When booking, try to allow them to schedule which day and time will work.  Granted, you can let them know when nap time is because nobody wants to engage with cranky children.  When you plan these visits out around their schedule weeks prior to, it still gives you flexibility to write your lesson plans around their visits.
Can't get parents to come out to the classroom?  They're busy too and that's okay!  I send home this parent involvement sheet to give all parents the opportunity to share what it is that they do with the class.  Students enjoy reading the jobs of their parents and their peers in this parent-made book. 


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