This lesson should be done prior to walking tours. Around Town is a book about a child's first visit to New York City. It describes and illustrates the many sites, diverse cultures, found not only in New York City but in any large city across the country.
Students will identify and note evidence of community and its purpose observed in the book Around Town in order to create a check list for our walking tour.
1. Pre-reading: Tell students that you will read aloud the book Around Town which is about a place very similar to New Haven. Ask volunteers to share what we might read and see in the book. Tell students that they are going to be looking for evidence of community in the illustrations and the text.
2. Read Aloud: While reading stop periodically and" think aloud" for the students in order to model evidence of community that you noticed. Explain its purpose and the type of people who might engage within that community. Be sure to focus on the people and purpose of the spaces and places observed. For example, you might want to point out the tall office buildings and suggest that business people such as bankers and office workers might use this place to conduct business. Point out that the people who work in this building would be considered as part of the professional community. While you are thinking aloud refer to the sentence stems that you have written on the board:
I notice evidence of a __________________community.
The purpose of this community is___________________.
People who are part of this community might be_______________________.
Continue giving 2 or more examples.
3. Complete the rest of the book and stop periodically to have the student's think-pair-share using the sentence stems. The sentence stems serve as a scaffold and will help the English Language Learners form their ideas. Allow students to take turns sharing their thoughts and ideas to the whole group. While students share their ideas jot down their comments using their key words on chart paper.
4. Have students break into small groups to complete a matrix based on evidence of community observed in the book, Around Town. It would be helpful to have several copies of Around Town for each group to refer to as the complete their work. Each group should be formed into heterogeneously based on ability and language levels.
5. Discuss the up-coming walking tours and explain that a checklist will need to be made to help us observe evidence of community. Have students brainstorm a list of questions to note evidence of community which will be listed on a chart. Once students have listed questions and share them with the class, break down the list to 10-12 questions to be included in the checklist.
Bring along disposable cameras for students to take photos of evidence of community and write descriptive sentences of the community they discovered. Display photos on a bulletin board for students to compare and contrast.
Invite community members such as mayors, alderpersons or civic leaders, business owners to come and be interviewed by students. Students would use the information gathered from their questions to create a book called Our City.
Create a Venn diagram comparing the two communities toured. Use the diagram for students to discuss and/or write about similarities and differences.