In this activity students identify the different relationships that can be found in a community and create a class Community ABC Book.
One per group:
- Large Alphabet Chart (pdf)
- Vis-à-Vis® pen
- Disposable or digital
- Pages to create a class
ABC Community book
One per student:
- City Seen From A To Z, by Rachel Isadora; ISBN 0440846439
- Alphabet City, by Stephen T. Johnson; ISBN 0670856312
- A Is For Arches: A Utah Alphabet, by Becky Hall; ISBN 1585360961
- Museum ABC, by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art;
Background for Teachers
The enduring understanding for Standard II is for students to be able
to discuss, "What is the relationship?" In this activity students identify
the different relationships that can be found in a community. Therefore,
students need to understand the meaning of the word community.
Community may be defined by the place we live and the people living or
working together in that same area. There can be many different kinds of
communities such as a family community, neighborhood community,
school community, workplace community, church/religious community,
and city community. Students should understand they are a part of these
different communities and they receive strength, or help, from members
of a given community. For example: police officers help us keep our city
safe; custodians help us keep our schools clean; teachers help us learn to
read, etc. In turn, students need to recognize they can make positive
contributions to their community by the choices they make. For
example: a child may choose to follow the school rules; a child may
choose to throw away their trash when they are at the park; a child may
choose to visit an elderly neighbor who is lonely, etc.
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.
2. Develop social skills and ethical responsibility.
5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Ask the class, "What is a community? Give me as many examples as
you can of the different kinds of communities you know." Encourage
students to generate the ideas given in the background information (e.g.,
they are a part of a family community or school community). Create a
simple definition of community as a class to use throughout this thematic
study. For example, "A community is the place where we live." This
definition may be modified as the students progress in their
understanding of the concept of community. Continue the discussion by
asking, "How do the people, places, or things in a community help you?
What are some ways that you can help your community?" For the next
few days our class will be exploring our community. By the end of our
study we will be able to answer these questions in many different ways.
- Walking Field Trip
Three or four different times, the teacher will take the class on a
walking field trip to different parts of the community. The teacher
will need to determine safe and accessible places for students to
make observations about the community. The places will vary
greatly depending on where your school is located. Some suggestions include, take a walk around the inside of the school,
take a walk around the outside of the school, take a walk around a
nearby park, take a walk around the block of the school. If
possible, choose a variety of locations to show the students the
diversity of their community. The "field trip" will last
approximately 20 to 30 minutes each day.
- Record Your Findings
While the class is in these different areas, instruct students to look
for, and identify, important people, places, and things that are a
part of the community you have selected to observe. Each child
should be given a clipboard, Alphabet Chart, and pencil
to use during the walk. Students should record by drawing and/or
writing their observations on the Alphabet Chart. For example,
when a student sees a flag they draw a flag, or write "flag" in the"Ff" box of the chart. Students should be reminded to look for
and record what is important; it is not necessary to write down
every rock or weed they see. Students should be encouraged to
write a word phonetically on their chart and not worry about
correct spelling at this point. However, the teacher may take a
small whiteboard, dry erase pen, and eraser to write very difficult
words. The students may copy the teacher's model onto their
paper. Students may be recording different observations. There
will be a time for sharing when the students return to the class.
Also, students should try to find as many things as they can to
represent the different letters of the alphabet. For example, in the"Pp" box, students may write "park, playground, and police
officer." Furthermore, students should try to find an item for each
letter of the alphabet. This will be challenging for some of the
letters and may require the teacher's help. For example, as a class
you may decide to record "X-walk or eXit" for the letter X.
- Share and Discuss Your Findings
When the field trip is completed, return to the class and have the
students share some of the most important and interesting people,
places, or things they saw. Using a Vis-à-Vis® pen, keep a class
record of the observations on an enlarged and laminated Alphabet
Chart. This is when the teacher can model correct spelling of the
words written on the chart. Repeat this procedure after each field
trip. Notice the letters of the alphabet that do not have any words
recorded by them. Encourage students to see if they can find
items that begin with that letter the next time they are making
- Take Photographs for a Class ABC Community Book
After all the field trip observations have been recorded, assign
each child one letter of the alphabet. Tell them that they will be
creating a page in a class alphabet book for that letter. Allow the
student to determine which word from the class Alphabet Chart s/he would like to use in the book. Next, using a disposable or
digital camera, allow each child to return to the place where they
saw the item on the field trip and take a photograph of it for the
class book. If you are using a digital camera, it is suggested you
print the photograph in black and white on 8 1/2 in. x 11 in.
paper. If you are using a disposable camera have the film
developed in color on 4 in. x 6 in. prints.
- Write the Text and Bind the Class ABC Community Book
Next, the photographs can be mounted on paper and the child may
write a one word label or a sentence to describe the photograph.
For example, "Pp Police Officer," "Pp is for Police Officer," or "Police Officers help keep our city safe." This is a
published book, meaning a book that is intended for
others to read. Students need to make sure their spelling
is correct and their writing is neat and legible. The
teacher may allow each child to practice his/her writing on
a rough draft page before writing on the final copy page.
It is suggested that the pages be 8 1/2 in. x 11 in. printed
on heavy index or cardstock paper. The pages may then be
placed in plastic sheet covers and placed in a three-ring binder.
As an entire class, brainstorm and design the cover of the book.
You may want to include a table of contents with the child's name
by the corresponding letter of the alphabet, showing the
contribution s/he made to the book.
- Read and Discuss the Class ABC Community Book
Finally, take the time to read the ABC Community book together
as a class. Discuss why each item chosen for the book is
important to the community. This is also a good time to teach the
class that alphabet books are pattern books. There is a pattern to
the letters of the alphabet just like there are patterns in numbers.
Additional connections to math that may be seen in the
photographs are the shapes and patterns in our environment. For
example, bricks, windows, and doors can be rectangle shapes.
Tiles, windows, and bricks may also have a pattern.
Field Trip Photography
When you go on a field trip, take a disposable camera.
Allow each student to take one photograph of something that is
of special interest to him/her. As each child takes his/her
photograph, list the child's name and a description of the
picture s/he took on a piece of paper. This will make it easier
to give the correct photograph to the person who took the
picture. After the film is developed, mount the picture at the
top of the paper. At the bottom of the paper, provide space for
the student to write about his/her photograph. Give students
time to show their photographs and read their captions to each
other. This makes a great bulletin board display and is a good
record of a field trip for a student's portfolio.
- Give each child a copy of the Alphabet Chart to take home. Ask
each child to go on a walk around his/her neighborhood with a
family member. Try to find as many people, places, or things as
s/he can to match each letter of the alphabet. For example, "A is
for apple tree. B is for boys. C is for car. D is for dog." Draw
or write the word to represent the important items in your
neighborhood on the Alphabet Chart.
- While you are driving, encourage your child to find as many
different letters of the alphabet as they can from the billboards
and road signs you pass. To add a little bit more of a challenge,
give your child a notebook and pencil. Have him/her write the
letters s/he sees and count to find out how many of each letter
s/he found. Students may also like to read billboards and road
signs to you.
- Go to the local library together. Find books about different kinds
of communities (e.g., school and city communities). Read them
together. Discuss the different resources that help us in our
After the class ABC Community book is completed ask the child to
look through the book and choose two or three pages that show aspects
of the community that are important to him/her. Have the student
verbally explain how or why these people, places, or things help the
community. Ask the child to explain if s/he has had any personal
connections to the items s/he selected. The student should be able to
express in complete sentences a clear description of how or why the
items s/he has chosen are important to the community.
The student may say something like, “My mom takes me to the park
in our city. I like to play on the playground.” or “I have seen the police
officer drive by my house. He keeps our city safe.” The teacher may
record the child’s response and place it in the child’s progress file.