Saturday, July 13, 2013

Community Helpers & FREE Ideas To Enhance Your Social Studies Curriculum

Here are some great ideas to enhance your Community Helpers unit:

Click on the image to get the template.

After reading books and looking at pictures of community helpers, I ask my students what they want to be when they grow up.
I will be a zoo keeper.  I will keep the
animals safe by watching them.

I send home a letter asking their parents to help send in an outfit that their child can put on so I can take their picture looking like they are doing the job they want to do when they grow up.
This student brought in a fishbowl with a real
fish in it!  He wants to be a pet store owner.
Costumes can be simple, like a man's white shirt can be a lab coat for a doctor or a scientist.

I also have a collection of dress up costumes such as a police shirt, a fire fighter jacket, a chef's hat, etc.

On a specific day, the kids bring their costumes to school (or use mine) and we pose them with props so they look like they are at work.

This makes the greatest bulletin board for Open House too!

The template for the writing portion can be found HERE.  Students are asked WHY they want to do that particular job and the answers are often cute:

When I grow up, I want to be a dancer.  I will dance on a stage in New York and people will give me money.  

When I grow up, I want to be a race car driver.  I will drive around in circles on a track.

When I grow up, I want to be an archeologist.  I will dig up dinosaur bones.

In addition, you can enhance your community helpers unity for free by asking your local fire department to visit your school with their fire truck.  The kids love getting to see all of the equipment.
Getting to go into the fire truck.

Each child got a turn.

Your local police or sheriff department might also come out for free.  Our kids got to sit in the back of the police car, try on the bullet-proof vest, and they even handcuffed each child!

Trying out the police car.
If your school is close enough to a shopping center, you might consider taking a walking field trip there. 
Here we are enjoying the snack
that the grocery store gave us.

I visit the shopping center a few weeks before our trip and I drop off a flyer at each store telling them that we will be coming by and suggesting that they give the children a little freebie to promote their business.  I also buy a postcard stamp for each child because we write postcards to our families and mail them while visiting the post office. 
Mailing our postcards to our houses.
When we visit the center, each child carries a medium size shopping bag with a handle.  One year I  got them from Oriental Trader, another year Bath & Body Works donated bags.  As the children visit each store, they can place their freebie in their bag.

Walking through the car wash!
The stores we visit in our shopping center are:
The laundromat, where we found Corduroy sitting in a raised laundry basket!
I send a parent up ahead to place our Corduroy Bear in a
raised laundry basket just like in the story!  :)
The bank, where they see the vault and get a free pencil.
The video store, where they got a coupon for a free rental.
The shoe repair shop, where they got to see the old machines used to repair shoes.

The Post Office, where they each mailed a postcard to their house.  
The grocery store, where they get to walk into the freezer & got a juice box & a baggie of cookies.
The barber shop, where they get to see people getting their hair cut in those cool chairs.

The Nail Salon, where they get to see ladies soaking their feet in water!  (The kids love this shop!)
The dentist, where they get a toothbrush & toothpaste.
The florist, where they get a flower.
The bowling alley, where they got a coupon for a free game.
The car wash, where they got to walk through as if they were a car & got a coupon for a free car wash.
The taco restaurant, where they get a free taco!  (Each child carries his/her own water bottle.)

We end with the taco party and then walk back to school.  

The following week, we make thank you cards for the stores and the teachers deliver them.  

And, last, I make a bulletin board of our school helpers.  It includes a current photograph of our principal, assistant principal, office workers, custodians, cafeteria workers, the librarian, the computer lab specialist, the science lab specialist, the music teacher, and my aide.  
The red looks like a school house.  I place the photos
inside of a window graphic I found on D.J. Inkers.
I hope you like my Community Helper ideas.  Feel free to share any related ideas here in the comments section. 
Keeping the FUN in the FUNdamentals!
Palma :)


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