Strolling along one spring morning on the Yale University campus one of my third graders blurted out, "Miss, I don't see anyone here that looks like me." This very profound statement opened my eyes and made me wonder how I could instill the importance and promise that a college education would have on the lives of my predominately Latino inner-city students. Many of the students from my school, which serves neighborhood families, have limited experiences outside of the direct community in which they live. Our yearly visit to the Yale University campus is implemented in order to support the goals of The New Haven Promise Scholarship Program. The New Haven Promise Scholarship Program covers full tuition at public colleges or universities in Connecticut for New Haven Public School students who meet academic and behavior requirements. It was obvious to me that in order for my students to fully understand the purpose of our yearly visit to a college campus that they would have to visualize themselves as future members of a community of higher learners. In order for that to take place my students will need to understand the concept of community and how it feels to be a part of a community in which they feel valued and can make vital contributions.
The goal of my unit is to use children's literature as a springboard to engage my students in the exploration and analysis of the many communities we encounter and participate within our classroom, our city, and our world. In our exploration of the concept of community students will discover how their own unique qualities enrich and meld them as a member of a community. They will also learn how the awareness of belonging to a variety of communities can create a sense of self-worth and open many opportunities for themselves. Students will also learn how our differences can be used to enhance communities as opposed to isolate us. By the end of the unit students should understand that community is not just a fixed place or location but more of set of human interactions, beliefs, values, or needs which bring them together with others with a common goal or understanding in mind. As our society becomes more advanced technologically and expands globally, the ability to successfully navigate within a wide variety of communities both locally and internationally will be detrimental for our 21
I am a dual language English component elementary teacher at Christopher Columbus Family Academy in New Haven Connecticut. The goal of my school is for students to become bilingual in English and Spanish with meeting academic standards. I have designed this unit for my predominately English Language Learner Latino students in order to bring about active engagement in the discovery of the many communities they are currently a part of now and to widen the scope of their future as life-long learners and citizens in a global world. While this unit is designed for second grade students in an urban environment it is also appropriate and easily adaptable for students from suburban or rural environments at any other primary or intermediate level.