Changing Seasons & Community Outreach

With the changing seasons, a 2nd grade teacher that I work with, decided combine the grade level PBL (Project Based Learning) theme, Kindness: How can we help others, with the needs of winter. Together we created a series of lessons that built off the kindness work the students had already done, that started with the classroom, then to the school, and now to the community, while still crafting it in a way that provided a lot of opportunities for student voice and direction. For this particular portion of the lesson we started with an open-ended question: “What do you notice?” while completing a picture walk with the following two stories:

Book Cover of "The Snowy Day"   Book Cover of "Snowflakes Fall"

This lead to an engaging discussion about the similarities between the two books, and with the share of another observation–how they were dressed, a deeper discussion on the needs of winter. From here the students directed me on how best to record these needs through art (forgive my lack of drawing skills :-)).

Drawing of a person in winter clothes.

This was followed by a writing prompt where the students needed to decide, out of all the items listed, which two were the most important for winter and why. To support our language learners, we used the following sentence frame:

In my opinion, ________________ and __________________ are the most important for winter, because _______________________________. 

The next day the students shared their opinions and created a class graph:

Class Graph

What followed was a open discussion about these items and whether or not they thought everyone in the community had these items. What was shared was both heart felt and heart warming. After coming to consensus about needs, problems, and the idea that problems have solutions, my co-teaching partner asked the class if they thought that 2nd graders could think of ways to help. YES!!! Was the response! 🙂

Oh, but how? The students divided into small groups to discuss it, using a Circle Map, and shared their ideas–which I recorded by using the tally mark strategy.

What’s next? You’ll have to keep checking back. 🙂

Side Note: a discussion of weather and climate is also a piece of these lessons, but I don’t have that fully captured, since I primarily support writing instruction. I am only there for 45 minutes each day, unfortunately.

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